Friday, June 29, 2007


Sarah's received the swap package that I sent out this week, so it's safe to post pictures. First up is the Odessa hat. It's a light blue color with frosty white beads, but the color picture looks a bit funky (the yellow paint on the walls was making the hat look green) so I'm posting a B&W picture instead:


I used a cable cast-on for this hat, which I think worked beautifully. It's stretchy, yet more stable and and nicer-looking than other cast-ons I've used. I used a size US6 needle for the cast-on, then downsized to US4 for the ribbing.

Next up is the Bluebell version of the Perdita bracelet:



This pattern was super fun to make, and it was a great warm-weather knitting project - not wool and not big. I'm really happy with how this bracelet turned out and I'll definitely be making some more. I used blue Pearl Cotton that is very close in color to the Odessa hat. The pattern is different from every other lace pattern I've tried because it requires you to do lace-y stitches on both the right and wrong sides of the piece. If you compare the Bluebell chart to the other styles of Perdita bracelet you'll notice that the Bluebell chart has symbols on every line, while the other versions have symbols on every other line. What this means is that for the other versions you do all the fancy stitches (yarnovers and decreases) on the right (or knit) side of the piece and then simply purl every stitch on the wrong side. For the Bluebell bracelet you must do yarnovers and decreases on the both the knit and purl sides. This gives it a different look from other lace projects I've done and makes it a bit more of a challenge. I would recommend that beginning lace knitters (and people who aren't very fond of purling) start with one of the other styles of the Perdita pattern.

I blocked the bracelet before I attached the buttons and crocheted button holes. I soaked it in water for about 10 minutes, then pressed it between two terrycloth towels to remove excess water. Then I laid the bracelet out flat on a folded terrycloth towel. I used pins to secure the bracelet on the towel. I had to rearrange the pins a few time to make sure that the bracelet was evenly stretched. The bracelet took about 24 hours to dry completely.


I noticed after sewing the buttons on and crocheting the buttonholes that the edges of the bracelet had already started to curl. I think the bracelet may need to be re-blocked after a few wears to keep the edge flat, although I kinda like it a little bit curled. I don't think the other styles of the Perdita bracelet would curl quite so much.

One thing I learned on subsequent trips to the craft store is that DMC also makes a linen embroidery floss that looks to be roughly the same weight as the Pearl Cotton. The linen floss is stranded because it's meant to be separated, while the Pearl Cotton is not. I think the linen floss may be prone to splitting but it has potential to make a really great bracelet. It only comes in a limited number of what I would call antique-y colors, which is kind of a bummer. But I would like to give it a try anyway.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Busy busy busy

Quite a lot has happened since my last post. Most notably my husband and I bought plane tickets to Italy! We're leaving in late August and staying for two weeks. I can't wait! I'm very ready for a vacation, and I'm really excited to travel internationally for the first time. I'm attempting to learn (a little bit of) Italian, I found a really great podcast that I've been listening to while I'm on the bus. We've been roughing out our itinerary and soon we'll be making reservations at hostels and museums and buying train passes. I've already made a little countdown gadget for my Google homepage so that I can keep track of exactly how many more days until we leave.

Our house has improved greatly in the past couple of weeks. We now have insulation! We hired some pros to install blown-in cellulose insulation. Our house was previously insulated with a few sheets of newspaper stapled to the exterior walls. Newspaper! In Minnesota! We also started drywalling our basement. We started with the ceiling, which is the worst and hardest part. But the good news is that after only one Saturday afternoon we are half done with the ceiling. The walls will be much, MUCH easier to do since we will not have to hold the giant pieces of sheetrock above our heads as we attempt to secure them in place.

I've harvested some things from my garden. Mostly salad greens, garlic and rhubarb, but also some herbs, 3 currants and 8 strawberries. I'm hoping that soon we'll have tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, broccoli, cucumbers, green beans, grapes and assorted gourds. The chipmunks, birds and rabbits have also harvested a lot of things from the garden... about 47 strawberries, a gazillion currants and a brand new asparagus plant.

As for crafty things, I've been knitting a lot. I worked on a swap package for Sarah the past few weeks, which I'll post pictures of later. I'm working on a third wrap skirt from Fitz Patterns. I've worked quite a bit on the Wheel of Mystery quilt, I'm probably two hours away from finishing the piecing of the top. I've been slacking off on taking pictures of works-in-progress, the only picture I have is for my Anastasia socks.


It's a rather sad picture. You'll notice that they look... different. I'm really not sure what could've caused the difference in striping. My gauge is the same, they're the same number of stitches, they're from the same ball of yarn. The yarn is hand-dyed (by me) so that could have something to do with it. Maybe it's the fact that the eyelets spiral in different directions? I think I'll have to do some math next time I dye yarn and either make it purposefully self striping or do a better job of making an un-pooling variegated yarn.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Completed project: pullover sweater


It's done! This is my favorite sweater yet. I added a few inches to the neckline since the last post, and now it fits perfectly.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

WIP: Mini skull and crossbones tote

The mini skull and crossbones tote has gone through the wash cycle about 5 times. It's about the right size, but it is way, WAY too fuzzy for me. I'm hoping that a few more times through the wash cycle will de-fuzz it. As a back-up plan it's been suggested that I use a sweater shaver.


Friday, June 1, 2007

WIP: Wicked sweater

This is the one positive thing that came out of the two days I had to stay home sick from work. Well, that and the fact that I was sick on a work day instead of a weekend.


In between NyQuil-naps I managed to knit the first bit of a Wicked sweater. So far it looks like my gauge is a little off. I should have 18 stitches per 4 inches, but instead I have around 19 or 20 stitches per 4 inches. The sweater is knit from the top-down so I should be able to adjust the pattern to fit by adding a few more rows of increases to compensate for the slightly smaller gauge.