Monday, April 28, 2008

Great sewing. . . not so good pics!

Well, I had a fabulous day yesterday at sewing class, and I am now the proud owner of a brand new Brother Sewing Machine! The one I was using which was a singer was a pretty cheap model and it wasn't working right because I seemed to have the wrong spool in it, and also the metal piece that you put your bobbin of thread on to wind on to your spool snapped off a long time ago so I had attached it with tape. The tape was making the bobbin fit on there way too tight which was affecting the tension of the thread. All in all it was a (cheap) machine that I never enjoyed using so I bought a nice new one today. It made a world of difference.

I am amazed at the machines today. The one I bought even threads my needle for me AND can cut your thread at just the touch of a button. You don't even need to push a peddle with your foot (if you don't want to). Pull out the foot cord and you can just push a button instead and off it goes sewing for you! For all you seamstresses out there, I'm sure this is nothing new to you, but it really amazed me :-)

So here's a few shots of my new 'lounge pants'. I took these pics outside and it's hard to see the print on the fabric. Suffice to say it's pretty cheap fabric (I classed today as a practice run and didn't want to spend a lot on fabric) but they turned out pretty good.

Very comfortable I must say.

Now I want to try the Amy Butler pattern and compare the feel and fit of them!

Guess where I'm going today?

After asking the question 'what do I do now' once I'd bought the Amy Butler 'In Stitches' book, it dawned on me that it might be a good idea to see if I could find a sewing class to take! There just so happens to be a sewing shop about 15 minutes from me. I used to walk past it every week when I took Kristen to Little Gym and I would head to Barnes and Noble to browse around for an hour while she played. I never thought much about it, cos I never really sew, and I never really enjoy sewing when I do try it. That's because I've never really been taught how to.

I'm excited today because I signed up for a sewing class last week (another spur of the moment thing) and it so happens the class is today AND for 6 lovely long hours! Lunch is even provided. And guess what they will be making today (or I will be making) pajama pants! Isn't that a nice coincidence because that is what I was going to try and make from the Amy Butler book.

I will update you all tomorrow on how the day went. And ya never know, I may be modeling some very cool lounge pants ;-)

Oh, and on a knitting note, I've been speeding along with Jaden and nearly finished the front. Just two short sleeves to go and I'll have something else to model too!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I got me some Amy Butler. . . .

. . . . now what do I do?! This was very much an' impulse buy' last weekend in my local Barnes and Noble! I can't even sew that well!!!

I have to admit I hadn't really heard of Amy Butler (and her wonderful fabrics) until recently on other people's knitting blogs. I checked out her website and love the fabrics she has. I also loved THESE that Leslie made, and THESE that she linked to (that's why I wanted to buy the book)! I do own a sewing machine, but last time I used it the thread kept bunching up underneath? I bought some material today (I don't have any 'vintage sheets' lying around ;-)

So, wish me luck, I'm gonna try to make myself a pair of lounge pants!!

On the knitting front. . . . I've picked up Jaden again! I am half way up the back on the Woodland cardigan, but I got to thinking today, that even if I finish Woodland pretty quickly, chances are I won't be wearing it that much. Why you ask? Well, I'm in Austin, TX and already most days are in the mid to high 80's and my a/c is already on (sorry to all you folk that are still waiting for spring and have snow on the ground)!! If I knit and finish Jaden quickly, at least I will be able to wear it a few times before the really HOT weather gets here.

AND, if I can get them both finished by July, well then they should both get some nice wear in England when we visit the family, after all, the height of summer there might just be 70 degrees - on a good day!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

2 balls knit. . . . . 13 more to go!

It took two balls exactly to knit the left side of Woodland. The little string of yarn you see still attached is all that was left of the second ball!

I LOVE knitting with this yarn, so much so that I just can't bear to pick up Soleil :-( I really should, I mean she's just about finished. Only have a little part of the neck to do then the two front parts.

But as I've mentioned before, if I'm not enjoying knitting something then I won't knit it! I'll get to it eventually, I know I will. But in the meantime I'll knit what makes me happy. . . . and that would be Debbie Bliss Cathay.

I'm off to start the back, and although it's just rib, rib and more rib, I know I'll still enjoy it :-)

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Urge to Splurge!

I called in to my local yarn store on Wednesday, I had the urge to buy yarn - do you know that feeling? Usually I like to have a project in mind when I buy yarn, but because I have so many wip's on the needles right now I just couldn't think of anything I needed. Instead I came home with a Rowan Pattern Book #18.

I browsed through the book while I was in the store and knew that I loved a lot of the patterns in it, so it would certainly be worth buying. When I got home I sat and really studied each pattern and thought about what I would like to knit first! I fell in love with this. . . . .

It's called 'Woodland' and is a simple ribbed cardigan with cable down each side. It's knit in RYC Luxury Cotton DK. I couldn't resist going back to the LYS the next day to see if I could pick up the yarn for it. I know I have Soeil on the needles (nearly finished) and Jaden waiting patiently for me, and not to mention all the other wip's sitting there not saying a word. . . . but I just HAD to go.

There wasn't enough RYC Cotton so I chose Debbie Bliss Cathay. It's very similar and actually has a little more silk in it and it feels GORGEOUS! I've wanted to knit something with this yarn for the longest time!

Of course I just had to cast on when I got home and decided to do the left front first, instead of the back cos I wanted to do the cables!

I just can't stop looking at this yarn, and feeling it's silky soft 'squishiness' between my fingers is just well. . . pure 'bliss' :-)

The color is #12005? I often wonder why they don't put a color 'name' on the ball band, but they do give it a color name in the pattern books. I checked the Debbie Bliss website but I don't see color names on there either. It's kind of like a wicker/bamboo/olivey-green color! A very earthy tone I would say, which is something I really like.

I also bought some Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed while I was at the LYS. I saw a pattern in the Junior Knits book that I bought recently that I might like to do for Kristen for the fall/winter. The yarn was on sale 50% off, so I just HAD to get that too ;-)

OK, so that is IT with the yarn buying and the casting-on for now. I am promising myself that I will not cast on anything until I have something OFF the needles and finished completely. AND if I do cast on something, it will be with yarn I already have. Honest- I really mean it!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Did You Know. . . . .

. . . . is no longer on line!!!! AND, all of their free patterns have disappeared from their site :-(

I decided I'd pop on over to this morning because I hadn't been there in a while.... let's face it I have enough projects on the needles already, I really haven't had a need to browse any patterns. I was so shocked and saddened to see a white screen with a long message on it saying they were no longer going to publish free patterns on Magknits!

I've never thought to print out the patterns that I liked from that site. Except for one that is, and it was my favorite too, so I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized I had it in my knitting folder. It is the pattern for the Rainy Day Socks. I've knit about 3 pair of these already, and all were gifts so I have none for myself yet. But what about Evangeline? And all the other lovely patterns they had on there? The 'announcement' on Magknits goes on to mention that the copyright for the patterns still belong to the designers and they are at liberty to publish the patterns elsewhere if they so choose - but how will we know where they might publish them? On Ravelry perhaps? I just checked Rainy Day Socks on Ravelry and it still links to the free pattern at Magknits but of course the page no longer loads!

Well, sad news aside. . . Soleil is looking pretty much the same, just a little longer, so I thought I would leave you with a few photos of a little project I have hibernating!

It's the Chicabean Scarf from Kelly Green-Rogue! I started this way back in December, but I'm thinking it will be coming back out of my 'wip' box soon to get finished off.

I'm using Fantasy Dark Horse Yarns, (50% acrylic, 50% nylon) and it's super super soft and squishy, I just love the feel of it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Do you think I'll need to block this?

Ha ha :-) obviously the answer to that question is a big YES! I'm making a lot of progress with Soleil so I think I'm gonna try and stick with it until it's finished, and poor 'Jaden' will have to take a back seat for a week or so.

This cotton twist is curling BIG TIME at the bottom of this, so I'm really hoping a good blocking will get rid of that. Has anyone knit with this yarn before? Will it be ok once I block it?

Wonder if I might get this finished to wear at the weekend?!!

Oh, and can you tell I managed to get a white poster board finally? It's much easier taking pictures of my projects using it.

Friday, April 4, 2008

I just couldn't stop myself. . . .

I know I SAID 'full steam ahead' with Jaden, but I just couldn't help it! I felt the urge to cast on for something new this week (I'm sure you know the feeling).

I was out shopping yesterday and bought a pair of 'dressy' black capris. It got me thinking of all the lovely little tanks I could knit to wear with them when we go out to dinner (which we did this past Friday and I felt like I had nothing to wear when I went to get ready - and I know you know that feeling too!)

So, using some yarn in my stash, I cast on for Soleil (from I've liked this simple yet elegant top for so long, I've been itching to start it. And as usual, I had a great time looking at everyone else's project on Ravelry.

A little confession about the yarn. I bought this stuff on Ebay (of course at a bargain price!) It said the color was yellow, I thought it would make a nice summery top ..... errr, I'd say the color is more 'lime green'. Lesson learned! I shall keep my yarn buying to my lovely LYS in future. But that's not to say I don't like the color (I wouldn't be using it if I didn't). I think it will look nice with some classy capris ;-) I just hope I get the fit right. I did a gauge check and I got the right amount of stitches per 4 inches, but with the rows I seemed way off? It said 32 rows to 4" and I only got about 26?!!! Taking the bull by the horns, I cast on anyway. I may end up frogging it - we'll just have to see.

It's the weekend - have a great one!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Back to Jaden. . . . . full steam ahead!

Now that I've finished Kristen's shrug I will get back to knitting Jaden and hopefully make good progress this week.

I picked up and knit around the neck on the shrug last night but didn't have size 3 circular needles (I thought they were included in my Knitpicks Options, but alas not!), so I used size 4 and hoped it would work out ok. It seems a little loose, but Kristen says it's very comfortable so all in all I'm happy with it. She's still wearing it now and we just got done with a little 'photo shoot' so here's the results. . . .

I used Plymouth Yarn 'Dreambaby DK' 3 skeins in soft blue, 1 skein in dusky pink. $3.70 per skein at my LYS, so total cost = $14.80. A very sweet 'uncostly' little shrug that I can just throw in the washer and dryer throughout the summer. I love this pattern and think I would consider making another one with the pretty Lang Jaquard yarn that Wendy used.