Friday, March 17, 2017

Kiss Me, I'm (at least a little bit) Irish

I wanted to make something new, and green of course, to wear for St. Patrick's Day today, but with little free time to sew during the week, I was limited in how much I could accomplish. Then I remembered this linen blend tunic from last autumn's clothes swap. It wasn't terrible, just a bit too big, and I wasn't a huge fan of the poofy sleeves. But the color, the lace accents, and the linen fabric will all be perfect for the Texas heat on the horizon.

St Patrick's Day Tunic - Before

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Don't Sweat It

As an inherently lazy person, I have been loving the recent "athleisure" style. Any fashion trend that makes it socially acceptable to wear sweatshirts in public is alright by me! This thrifted grey 4XL sweatshirt, however, was simply beyond my tolerance for frump. So comfy though!

Sweatshirt Refit - Before

Monday, March 06, 2017

Garter Stitch Revival

I was recently given a copy of Garter Stitch Revival and fell hard for several of its patterns. I loved the concept of the entire collection - taking the most basic of stitch patterns and using it to add texture, to highlight unusual construction methods, to play a supporting role alongside more fanciful stitches.

Garter Stitch Revival

It was that last category that really caught my eye in the form of Jesse Ksanznak's Boardwalk Brioche Cowl. I had never attempted the brioche stitch before and had been itching to give it a try. Alternating small sections of two-color brioche with small sections of striped garter stitch sounded like the perfect way to dip my toes into a new technique. And who doesn't love a reversible fabric?

Zombrioche CowlZombrioche Cowl

I searched my stash for suitable worsted but came up empty handed. So I resorted to a couple sport-weight yarns leftover from other projects - Madelinetosh Pashmina in Tern and Cascade 220 Superwash Sport in Kelly Green. To account for the thinner yarn, I used a needle two sizes smaller than recommended and cast on enough extra stitches for another pattern repeat.

Zombrioche Cowl

I thoroughly enjoyed working up this pattern, and the notes in the book walked me through the brioche stitch step by step and made it very easy to learn.

Zombrioche Cowl

I also enjoyed playing with different ways to style this cowl. How do you like the turned up, Pharaoh collar look? It probably wouldn't stay like that on a human person anyway, but it's fun to experiment with Rosy during photo shoots.

Zombrioche CowlZombrioche Cowl

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Hello, it's me

Hey guys. So, I've been MIA for a while, I know. I feel like I say this at least once a year, but the blog was beginning to feel like a second job instead of a hobby, and I just needed to get away from it for a while. I received some very sweet messages from several of you in the meantime though, asking where I was, how I was. I really appreciate your concern and thoughtfulness.

As I feared at the time, I think I pushed myself too hard last summer with the Refashion Runway and The Refashioners back-to-back like that. Until this past weekend, I hadn't even touched my sewing machine since September. Even that striped sweater I shared with you in December was actually refashioned back in August as a back-up plan for the RR tunic challenge. But fear not! I busted out the serger and sewing machine on Saturday, so I'll have some stuff (albeit it simple, baby steps stuff) to show you very soon.

While my sewing creativity seems to wax and wane, my knitting juices are always flowing. Maybe it's the necessity for more creative vision and problem solving that is inherent to refashioning. I mean, if you're trying to recycling existing materials, then you're obviously limited by those materials. Whereas, with knitting, that yarn could be virtually anything you want it to be. Plus, I have a backlog of things I want to knit, so I never run out of ideas.

My tiny baby niece was born in December, five weeks premature. She progressed so well though and escaped the NICU after only two weeks, wearing a hand-knit ensemble, naturally. Then there were holidays gifts for her older brothers: a reversible, double-knit Space Invaders cowl for the 12-year-old and for the 6-year-old, a scaled-down, elongated, scarf version of my Apatosaurus Shawl with added leg nubbins for extra dino-likeness. Their father, my brother, got a viking hat to match his majestic facial hair. He's not really as threatening as he looks here, I swear.

Baby Surprise Jacket, Hat, and SocksSpace Invader Cowl
DinoscarfViking Helmet

In January, I raided my stash for pink yarn and sent thirteen hats to Washington for the Women's March. I even made another, in a slightly different style, for myself and wore it to our local demonstration. Then there was some sporty, spirit knitting in the form of a simple green hat for the hubs to wear to Dallas Stars games and a pair of socks for my mom in the school colors of the university where she works.

PussyhatsNeon Hat of Pinkness
Dallas Stars HatSchool Spirit Socks

I did a little selfish knitting too. A friend gave me some Shibui Silk Cloud, which is a marvelous mix of silk and mohair. I used the three colors to work up a Gradient cowl, by working with three strands and changing out one color at a time for a slow color change effect. And I just completed a pair of U-Turn socks this weekend using one skein of Schoppel Wolle's Crazy Zauberball.

Gradient CowlGradient Cowl
U-Turn SocksU-Turn Socks

I also took comfort in a little political cross-stitching (patterns by Subversive Cross Stitch) and an original design, inspired by our sweet doofus, Laika.

This is not normalNevertheless, She Persisted
So BonedSo Boned

So that's what I've been up to lately. I promise to be back again soon.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Asymmetric Stripes

My uniform of late has consisted primarily of over-sized sweaters, fleece leggings, and boots (and typically my faux shearling vest too). I'm all about comfy-cozy as it gets chillier. I found this stripey sweater in the men's section of the thrift shop a few months back and have been eagerly awaiting sweater weather to show it off in its new form.

Asymmetric Striped Sweater - Before

Friday, November 25, 2016

DINO knits: Tyrannosaurus

No collection of dinosaurs would be complete without the awe-inspiring Tyrannosaurus, am I right? This "tyrant lizard" terrorized its Cretaceous comrades and outlasted most of them, being among the last dinosaurs living before that fateful day when an enormous asteroid came catapulting toward Earth and wiped out three-quarters of the planet's plant and animal life. Poor Rexy.

Tyrannosaurus Shawl
Tyrannosaurus Shawl

Arguably the most famous dinosaur of all, Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been a little lacking in the arm department, but he compensated with a big toothy grin that would win your heart (and then devour it).

Tyrannosaurus Shawl
Tyrannosaurus Shawl

A simple center-out, crescent-shaped shawl of seed stitch mimics the rough hide and is finished off with short-rows and a pattern of eyelets that form that brilliant smile.

Tyrannosaurus Shawl
Tyrannosaurus Shawl

SIZE
One size

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Span: 57 inches
Height at center: 14 inches

MATERIALS
The Fiber Seed Sprout [90% merino, 10% nylon; 439m/480yd per 135g skein]; color: Midsummer Night; 1 skein
171 stitch markers
US #6/4mm circular needle
Tapestry needle

GAUGE
16 sts/42 rows = 4 inches in seed stitch

BUY IT NOW on Ravelry!

And that completes our Parade of Dinosaurs! Do you have a favorite? I know, who could choose! It'd probably be best to just go ahead and get all eight patterns, right? Pick up the individual dinoshawl patterns or all of them in one e-book, also available for purchase through Ravelry.

DINO knits

Friday, November 18, 2016

DINO knits: Ankylosaurus

Number 7 in our dino line-up is the amazing Ankylosaurus, another armored dinosaur like Stegosaurus before him (like, almost 100 million years before him).

Ankylosaurus Shawl
Ankylosaurus Shawl

Heavy armor plating, or osteoderms, lined Ankylosaurus' back, protecting him from attack in much the same way that the columns of lacy “spikes” on this shawl will fend off the chill.

Ankylosaurus Shawl
Ankylosaurus Shawl

Worked end-to-end with increases and decreases incorporated into the lace charts, this shawl makes an ideal project for a beginning lace knitter. And if you want a longer scarf, you can simply work more repeats of the center section. After all, Ankylosaurus measured up to 20.5 feet. I don't see why your new neck-cessory couldn't be equally lavish.

Ankylosaurus Shawl
Ankylosaurus Shawl

SIZE
One size

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Span: 42 inches
Height at center: 13 inches

MATERIALS
Sun Valley Fibers MCN Fingering [80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon; 366m/400yd per 100g skein]; color: Cheeky; 1 skein
US #6/4mm circular needle
Tapestry needle

GAUGE
19 sts/31 rows = 4 inches in lace pattern (chart included in pattern)

BUY IT NOW on Ravelry!

We're in the home stretch now! Just one more dinoshawl left! But remember, you can get all eight patterns right now in one e-book, also available for purchase through Ravelry, for half the total cost of all of the individual dinoshawl patterns.

DINO knits

Friday, November 11, 2016

DINO knits: Dimetrodon

It's time for another dinosaur! Well, another creature who is often mistaken for a dinosaur. Dimetrodon was actually a "mammal-like reptile" that became extinct about 40 million years before the first dinosaurs walked the earth.

Dimetrodon Shawl
Dimetrodon Shawl

As with Stegosaurus' spikes, the purpose of the huge sail protruding from Dimetrodon’s spine is still a point of contention amongst paleontologists. But one thing is for certain - it practically begged to become a knitted shawl. I mean look at it! It's the perfect shape!

Dimetrodon Shawl
Dimetrodon Shawl

Ribbed “bones” extend vertically from the long cast on edge, while a lacy “skin” fills in the gaps. Stepped decreases give the shawl its bell shape, and like its namesake’s sail, this shawl is completely reversible!

Dimetrodon Shawl
Dimetrodon Shawl

SIZE
One size

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Span: 56 inches
Height at center: 17 inches

MATERIALS
Cascade Heritage Silk [85% merino, 15% silk; 400m/437yd per 100g skein]; color: #5658; 1 skein
US #6/4mm circular needle
Tapestry needle

GAUGE
17 sts/26 rows = 4 inches in Rib & Lace Stitch (instructions included in pattern)

BUY IT NOW on Ravelry!

That's one more dinoshawl down and only two more to go! But remember, you can get all eight patterns right now in one e-book, also available for purchase through Ravelry, for half the total cost of all of the individual dinoshawl patterns.

DINO knits

Friday, November 04, 2016

DINO knits: Apatosaurus

Next up in our Parade of Dinosaurs is Apatosaurus, or perhaps Brachiosaurus or the controversial Brontosaurus, if that's your preference. They're similarly shaped enough you could say they all inspired this dinoshawl.

Apatosaurus Shawl
Apatosaurus Shawl

Known for its long neck and tail, the Apatosaurus’ silhouette lends itself nicely to a sort of scarf-shawl hybrid design. This is probably the most dinosaur-y of the DINO knits patterns. Subtle, it is not, but hey, that's what makes it so awesome, am I right?

Apatosaurus Shawl

The stitch pattern is simple garter stitch, but there are plenty of short-rows, increases, and decreases to hold your interest. And I can totally see this stitcheded up in bright, fun colors for some fantastic scarves for the kiddies.

Apatosaurus Shawl
Apatosaurus Shawl

SIZE
One size

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Span: 57 inches
Height at center: 10 inches

MATERIALS
Twisted Owl Fiber Studios Super Sock [75% merino, 25% nylon; 423m/463yd per 100g skein]; color: Teal; 1 skein
US #6/4mm circular needle
Tapestry needle

GAUGE
23 sts/43 rows = 4 inches in garter stitch

BUY IT NOW on Ravelry!

There are still three more dinosaurs to go, but remember, you can get all eight patterns right now in one e-book, also available for purchase through Ravelry, for half the total cost of all of the individual dinoshawl patterns.

DINO knits