Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mission Accopmlished

All of my Christmas knitting is FINISHED!! All the bundles are wrapped under the tree, ready to be shipped off to their future homes. My mom selected this sweater pattern and has tried it on, so I figured I wouldn't ruin any surprises by showing it on the blog.
This project was a royal pain! I appreciated the unusual construction but the directions for the sleeve were archaic at best. I also had finished it, only to have to rip back on the sleeves and bottom of the sweater to add about an extra inch to each at my mother's bequest. Throughout I kept thinking "anything worth doing is worth doing right..." to get myself through my feeling that it was good enough. Luckily I pushed through and will now be proud to give this, rather than apologetic about a half-assed attempt.

The other finished project? I'll keep that under wraps until after Christmas. Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Joyeux Knitting!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Delays in Santa's workshop

Oh knitting, you fickle, fickle art. Some projects positively fly off the needles (and I'm not just talking about those projects on bulky yarn and size 12 needles!) while others make me run and hide. I had been doing so well on my Christmas knitting and then I got completely stymied by the last pair of mittens.
There were mittens I made this year where I tried completely new techniques, and made up the patterns as I went (see above and below, the ones below are flip top mittens with an attached i-cord for the button loop, hello improvisation!) yet this last one is currently entering its fourth attempt. The first attempt was a new pattern I'm designing, I did the color chart on a hat and liked it, then I started adapting it for mittens, that's when I encountered problems.
I have become a thumb snob on my mittens, when I started knitting, the afterthought thumb was sufficient (it has no gusset or gore which means no shaping, it is the easiest to add to a pattern as the name suggests). Now though I have come to prefer something with a better shape. I'm a big fan of the thumb gusset on the Give a Hoot Mittens which I posted on here. I incorporated it in the mittens above easily enough, but here's the thing about that gusset technique; it does not play nice with stranded colorwork! I figured a side seam gore would do the trick (thumb comes out of side of mitten and you do increases and then transfer the extra stitches to some waste yarn) but was having a hard time getting the colorwork pattern to line up with the increases. Add in the fact that this was going to be done on fingering weight yarn, size 0 needles, and I thought there was no way it would be done for Christmas.

So I moved on to the second iteration of Plantress' Christmas mittens: a folk mitten pattern titled "Mittens from Halland." They were all lovely and good, except that it was worsted weight yarn, on size 2 needles, and I was silly enough to use acrylic yarn. The knitting was at such a tight gauge, that with a yarn that doesn't have any natural give to it, I felt like I was fighting e v e r y single stitch. OUCH! My hands and wrists started hurting and I was making such slow progress that I just stopped by the Franklin Mill Store on my way home from work and bought two skeins of lovely Berocco Ultra Alpaca. Worsted weight, natural fiber yarn on size five needles? I did a mitten in a day! Then, disaster. This mitten was a little snug to begin with (7.5" diameter, and I tend to think 8" or 8.5" is nicer) and it had ... [dramatic pause] ... an afterthought thumb! GASP, the horror! I tried the mitten on and it was too snug, pulling in an unsightly manner around the thumb, and I just couldn't do it. Going with the mindset of "anything worth doing is worth doing right" this mitten is getting frogged. I cringed thinking about someone opening up their Christmas present only to try it on, be understandably disappointed, and then feel like they had to tell me how great they are.

So tonight I start anew. Same pattern, same yarn, but I will add four extra stitches on each side and do some extra stitches before the thumb, and before the decreases to achieve a better fit. Hopefully I can bust through these mittens this weekend. Then I just have to sew buttons onto my mom's mittens and block them, lengthen the arms on my mom's sweater and block it, and Christmasknittingpalooza 2010 will be done!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mouse Musings

I think we have mice in our house. I keep finding little singular mouse poops on our kitchen counter. When I told R that I think we have mice he said "oh yeah, I know." To which I had to query "you knew? why didn't you tell me?" I worry that my partner is a little too supportive of mouse rights. I understand he doesn't want to put traps out, but the day I find him hand feeding them Gruyere or asking me to knit them sweaters is the day I pack up and leave.

Over share? I'm taking a page out of Plantress's book and injecting some realism into my blog.
(Plantress is also R's mother and has had a bit of a mouse problem herself lately. You just have to love old houses with all their character).

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Everything is coming up Christmas here! Tree up. Wreaths up. Centerpiece made. Christmas cards started. Stocking made for dog (she obviously had to have one to that matches ours!).

But of course, what would Christmas be for a knitter, if not a time to have a heap load of projects to finish. I think so far I'm making better progress than last year (where I had to wrap someone's present that was still on my knitting needles, when they unwrapped it I said "hope you like it, now give it back to me so I can finish it!"). I have my mom's sweater to finish and ONE pair of mittens left to make (Plantress, they're yours if you're wondering), and then some projects that still need to be blocked and have their ends woven in. I had optimistic plans of crafting some felt bird ornaments for everyone a la Purl Soho but I think I just have to accept that it will not be happening.

I'm not sure if this is part of growing up, but every year it seems harder and harder to get into the Christmas spirit. I try watching my favorite holiday movies, listening to Christmas music, decorating, drinking eggnog, making cookies, eating clementines (these are Christmas for me, not sure why), anything to get that spark of Christmas started. Is it because stores have been decorated for Christmas since Halloween? Or is it just that as an adult your Christmas involves more "have to's" and less of that holiday magic? What do you do to start feeling all Christmasy?

Well I should stop musing and get back to knitting. I'm determined to not have to gift an unfinished project this year!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

meet my new fiber animal...

Wait, that's not a fiber animal in the picture above? Hmm, I'm confused.

Really though, meet Ruby, the new member of my little family. In the last several months I have moved out of Boston and now have a home with land and a view of a pond. I got a car, a job, and a very drooly but loveable rescue dog. I also took an eight week long sewing class and have rekindled my love for sewing. Even with new job and settling into a new house (and cleaning up destruction from our little separation-anxiety prone dog) the knitting has been going strong... or at least going! I will have some finished objects coming up, mostly Christmas gifties for people and I'm planning on casting on for the Delancey Cardigan soon since a girl has to knit for herself sometimes, right?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shrug it off

As promised, here are the details of my latest finished project! (I love how the light in this picture makes it look like the sweater is the Holy Grail or something, haha).
I had two skeins of Seacolors wool from my Mom that I wanted to use for a sweater. Last time my Mom gifted me some of this yarn it became the modified Cloud Bolero by Ysolda. While I'm normally not a huge fan of shrugs I decided it might be useful to have in my wardrobe and it seemed like a good solution to the "how to get a sweater-ish item out of two skeins of yarn" problem.
So here it is- a heavily modified version of the Textured Circle Shrug by Stefanie Japel. While there are a lot of things I like about the original (namely the neck and the ribbing details) my yarn limitations required some big changes.
The most noticeable difference is that I removed all the reverse-stockinette texture. I never liked it that much to begin with so that was an easy change. It was harder to say goodbye to the 1x1 ribbing sections but ribbing eats up yarn like the dickens, so that was a no-go. I also knew I wasn't going to be able to achieve the same length so I shaped the front with short rows to try to get as much bust coverage from the yarn and some length in the back, without using up yarn on the neck.
This project was very free-form, I knit until I decided I wanted short-rows, then I added some in, then I knit some more. I kept my eye on the ball of yarn to try to figure out when I should start the border and cast-off. Then I decided I could add some length to the arms (and improve the shaping with decreases) so I ripped the arms back and knit them out again.

I'm not totally in love with this project, and I'm not sure if it's because I'm not a shrug-lover in the first place, or if it's because the modifications make it a little odd. At least my stash-busting adventures have continued, and I'm hoping that once cool weather rolls in I'll find this to be a useful little sweater.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Knitting progress

Please behold my newest finished project, the Foliage hat by Emily Mooney. This was a fun and fat project and I want it for myself (or to knit another one for myself). It has a really nice slouchy fit to it when it's on. Plus it used up another skein of spare yarn and will be gifted with that scarf I did the other day (forgot about it? here it is) for a combo Christmas and Birthday present . I'll have to post more pictures of it in better light, and I have a secret project that is almost finished and ready for its time in the spotlight!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Awesome Giveaway

One of my favorite crafting (and general awesomeness blogs) is hosting a very cool giveaway. Go to Jones Design Company and check it out. Or just get some very cool inspiration for DIY projects. I love the paper wreath they show (although my inner librarian definitely cringes at seeing pages ripped out of books!).

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sweater Love

We need to have a talk. About how in love with this sweater I am!!

Meet the Delancey Cardigan by Alexis Winslow.
This is one of those sweaters that I see and I don't even want to knit, I just want to steal the sample so I can be wearing it Right NOW! Oh wait, it's still 90 degrees outside... But you get the idea, I think this sweater is amazing.
Not feeling it yet? How about the amazing back? And don't even get me started on the delicious shawl collar (my favorite in sweaters). I'm picturing doing one for myself with a soft heather/oatmeal color for the main color, and then a light heathered lavender or purple for the stripes, although the bold orange on white combo is perfect for the retro feel.
Aack! Too much awesomeness for just one garment! I think I'm going to try a little taste of reason however. I'm F O R C I N G myself to knit up more of my stash, and get through some of my Christmas knitting before I buy a whole bunch of yarn and dig into this amazing project.

But Delancey, I'll be dreaming of you!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Twist Collective

Hi my name is Lulu and I have an addiction to Twist Collective.

Really though, it's amazing, and if you don't know what I'm talking about go here!

Do it now, do not stop, you can thank me later.If you needed a little incentive to click that link here is the amazing Acorns cardigan by Carol Sunday.

Or perhaps you prefer the more feisty Hazelwood by Robin Melanson?
Don't tell me you could possibly resist this absolutely adorable cardigan. The whimsical Cityscape by Laura Chau.
And if you're not already salivating on your computer, how about the lovely Anthera by Janel Laidman which includes a beret, cowl, and cuffs (and I think we all know how I feel about a good cowl).

I absolutely adore Twist Collective, and I'd been itching over the last couple weeks to see when the Fall one would come up. With other pattern sources I might like a couple of items in them, especially with Knitty where I might be lucky to find one thing I like. But Twist Collective is totally my aesthetic; beautiful and classic. Remember my Vine Yoke Cardigan? That was Twist Collective at its finest. Plus they have some of the best articles, like knitting in Peru, or life on a fiber farm. When a new one comes out I always make sure I have plenty of time to read everything and savor all the amazing-ness!

Why are you still reading me ramble on about them? Go. Check. Them. Out!

Winter White Cowl

The herringbone cowl is complete! I now want to knit everything in herringbone. I'm so in love with the texture, the easy peasy stitch pattern, everything about it!
I think the cowl will be gifted, although I will need to make one for myself. I had always had a cowl aversion but then it's like a flip switched, maybe when I accidentally dunked one of my long scarfs in my coffee one too many times, or when I got it caught in my coat's zipper, again. But now I'm loving these super functional items, and they make amazing stash busting projects. I'm sure everyone is relieved that I have moved on from my love of hats. Just have to say that I never understand people who say "I don't really wear hats," ummmm, doesn't your head get cold?!? We live in New England people! Not Abu Dhabi!!, phew I feel better getting that off my chest.
Anywho, here is one last photo, and it is full of the ridiculousness that comes from finishing knit items in summer, oh the insanity, modeling cowls and summer dresses together in one photo.

Time to pick my next project. Hmm, I would like a hat with a side of stash-busting.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Projects Projects Everywhere...

But not a cold front in sight!I know in the knitting world there is often the discussion about summer knitting. As in, do you like to, can you, if so what do you make and with what fibers? While I wilt like a fern when summer rolls around, I have obviously not taken a complete hiatus from knitting. Some of my projects stick within the realm of traditional summer knits (aka little projects) such as the cowl above that I finally finished with a picot edge, and the herringbone cowl below.

However my other project I'm currently working on is a sweater for my mom. And no, it's not cotton, bambo, silk, or any other summer-heat friendly fibers. Luckily though it really hasn't been that bad. I definitely took a break from anything fiber related while we had a heat wave in Boston that caused my apartment to be a steady, broiling, ninety-five degrees. That has now passed though and my knitting needles are back in my hands where they belong!
I'm happy to get a start on my Christmas knitting, plus I take Elizabeth Zimmerman's advice in Knitter's Almanac to heart. When suggesting to start knitting mittens and hats in August and September she points out that if you wait till it's cold to start these cozy projects you are going to have some unhappy (and chilly) waiters!
However that should not be my fate as some of my Christmas knitting is already done! Plus I made a lot of progress over the last week on this sweater for my mom. It now has a front and a back, which is good for modesty sake, and they have been joined together. Now it just needs some sleeves and for A L L of those loose ends to be woven in. Eek! I guess that's why God created the audio book though! To distract me through all of those pesky little finishing parts of knitting!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stash Scarf

Last night I was up until 2am finishing this scarf, but it is done! My late night knitting was fueled by an America's Next Top Model marathon (I never professed to have good taste in television so don't judge me too harshly) and I was able to get it blocking before I went to bed. I forgot just how amazing blocking is, before I soaked this scarf the purl ridges were super close and this scarf was super short. It was not my favorite project and I was fretting about the proportions: too wide and too short. But, one magic bath and a whole lot of pins later and my scarf r e l a x e d and stretched out.
I'm now very happy with this little guy, and come Christmas I will be able to gift it without shame! Not only is it longer but the fabric is now much more open and relaxed, giving it a nice drape. It should look cute either slung simply around the neck, or doubled up and pulled through the loop (my personal favorite for wearing scarves or pashminas). I'm happy it worked out since I completely improvised on the pattern and instead of doing the feather and fan all the way through the scarf I decided to have it be more solid in the parts around the neck (for warmth and stability of the fabric, and honestly, I just got sick of doing feather and fan). I did two separate parts since the feather and fan stitch has a "direction" and I wanted them to match, once the two sides were knit up I just used the Kitchener stitch to graft the two sides together. Presto!
The best part is that this was stash yarn. A good friend of mine sent me a box full of spare yarn (stash) and some knitting books a couple months ago in preparation for her first baby arriving. I have had a lot of fun finding projects for this gifted yarn. Plus I love any project where I use up some of my stash and this scarf used EVERY LAST BIT of the two skeins that I had.

Goodbye clutter, hello finished project!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm back?

I apologize for my absenteeism, and for what I'm sure will be more of the same in the future. Let me explain by saying that being done with school forever is not as easy as I thought it would be. I completed my Masters degree in May and am now trying to find a job in a competitive and seemingly declining profession. I'm not a big fan of unknowns, I'm a planner, and lately I feel like my life can be summed up as this "no job, no place to live in September, and no idea where our wedding will be." My fiance has taken over the apartment searching which thankfully leaves me with just job searching and intermittent wedding planning.After I graduated I thought I would do a lot of knitting on our road trip but I ended up just relaxing and looking at the scenery. Then once we got back I slept a lot, read a ton of great books, and kept applying to jobs. It took me awhile to rest up and get back into all the projects I thought I would accomplish during my unemployed summer. It has only been in these last couple weeks that I've felt the urge to knit at all (I blame part of this on the obscene heat wave on the east coast) but first I felt I had to tackle some loose ends around my apartment. I cleaned, and cleaned, and organized, and felt so much better about the world. Above you can see my knitting and sewing supplies, all now tidily organized, bizarre stash purged, other stash sorted into future projects and ziplocked up, and finished objects set aside for Christmas (I even sewed a little bag to hold all my buttons and thread). Once our entire apartment was cleaned and organized, I finally felt like knitting again!
This little cowl was the one project I worked on during our road trip and it needs to be finished up. I'd like to add a little picot edge, and sew on a button so it can be worn snug or loose (and I'll conveniently place where I have a wonky stitch happening for a little cover-up).But first I've been working on this scarf. I dug into my stash and have decided to make it a stash busting Christmas (three hats for future sister-in-laws are done). This scarf will take up a spare skein and a half, and then I have some cowls, hats, and fingerless mitts planned to take a chunk out of my hefty yarn supply. I know my stash is microscopic compared to most knitters, but I've never loved having a lot of stuff around so my two little baskets full feels like a LOT to me!

So I guess I am somewhat back in the knitting world, or at least organized and ready to start digging into projects a little bit more.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Baby Clothes!

My friend's baby shower was yesterday so I can now happily post the finished objects!! It was a wonderful shower, and another friend of mine made a beautiful blanket and bibs (sewn), and there were also a few other knitted sweaters and blankets (this boy will be the most well dressed baby ever!)

The sweater is Sheep Yoke Cardigan by Jennifer Little (a free pattern!) and the hat is Baby Sheep Hat by Melissa Burt and the buttons are little sheep I found at A Good Yarn in Brookline MA.

This was my first time knitting baby clothes and it was so much fun. You have to love working on something that is instantly cute, plus a very quick project! Although for anyone else working on this project I would caution two things. First, beware the floats; I chose to do the sheep stranded rather than with intarsia and I was working with cotton so there wasn't wool's fantastic tendency to stick which always makes my colorwork much more secure. My other recommendation would be to be careful with your color selection. While I love the colors I chose, the black of the sheep heads and legs, do not show up well against the dark green of the field.
At the shower I got some really positive feedback about my projects, women kept coming up to me telling me I should be selling my work (although obviously not this set since I didn't write the patterns for them) which was really nice to hear. While their comments were very flattering I feel like I'd have to become a much better knitter (there are still a number of things in my technique I'd like to improve) before I could actually sell my finished work. Also, right now I love knitting, and I love making gifts for people and seeing how happy they are. I'm not sure I would feel the same if I was selling my work and I would hate to lose my love of knitting. Finally there's always the price issue. How do I charge something that is an adequate reflection of my effort? I'm not sure many people would pay 60$ for a baby sweater, but I feel that's what I would have to charge for something like this.

Any thoughts or comments from anyone who has sold their craft or artwork?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Giveaway and procrastination

My deadlines for grad school are looming nearer, and as graduation approaches the toxic question of "so, do you have a job yet" occurs with dastardly frequency. This of course means that I'm spending my time knitting, reading about knitting, and planning my next knitting projects (a girl has to have an outlet right?)

I was on Never Not Knitting and saw she had an awesome giveaway going. If you too like pretty colors and procrastinating in a world where things are fuzzier and kinder (or at least fuzzier) then scamper on over and give her blog a read.

Hmm, I think I should go sleep now, but to all my fellow Bostonites, Happy Marathon Monday!

Monday, April 5, 2010


I'm sitting here with 40 days between myself and graduation (33 days before classes are done) and I have no motivation to start tackling my pile of work, although I did clean our apartment this morning so that should count for something.

Even with the stress of job searching and finishing school mounting up, I have had some time to knit. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that knitting has become a very necessary stress reliever. Either way, above is my finished beret, it's not as slouchy as I'd like but another blocking session or two might bend it to my will. It was gross and rainy while I was knitting this, making me very much crave a cute cap to see me through to spring, and of course now that it's completed it is beautiful weather here in Boston. I guess that means the hat did it's job huh?

More to come on knitting projects: my friend and her husband are currently expecting their first child. This of course gave me free license to look at baby knitting patterns which I have done. I'll post the pictures of the full set after the baby shower in late April.

Happy Knitting and Happy Spring!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Back to the grind..

As some of you may know I had a class in Nicaragua over spring break. The class went well (volcanoes and earthquakes non-withstanding) and then we got stranded in Miami for several days due to weather issues in the Northeast. While we ended up making the most of it I was positively itching for my knitting! Airports are the worst in that there's all that idle time that's calling, nay SHOUTING, for a little productive knitting, at the same time airport security is far too much of a bother for me to risk it.

Luckily I am now back in Boston and among other things this means I can keep working on my Selbu Modern beret (shown above). I made a modified version for my future-MIL for Christmas. That one was worsted weight and more of a snug cap than a slouchy beret. I loved the pattern though, very easy to learn but still interesting and a pretty quick knit, and wanted to take a second go at it. The cream yarn is Knit Picks Palette and the purple is a handspun my mom purchased for me. The purple is a super light lace weight and the two skeins I was given were apparently the same colorway but drastically different, my solution has been to knit the two together and it's creating a lovely heathered effect if I say so myself (and I do!).

My calendar shows that I have 57 days between me and my master's degree. This means that sadly the next several weeks will most likely need to be light on the knitting and heavy on the homework. As it is I must now go an analyze HTML code and CSS.

Oh and for anyone interested in pictures from my Nicaragua/Miami trip they are available on my other blog Lulu Abroad, enjoy!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ravelympics are over

Le sighhhh. Both the Ravelympics AND the Olympics are done, finished, over. I don't think I have ever enjoyed the Olympics so much before in my life and I had a lot of fun watching and knitting. I would say it was a success, I did a knit monster in a week. Then managed to pop out two hats and am halfway through a third. This might not seem like a lot, but between being a full time student, having a number of part time jobs, planning a trip to Nicaragua for next week, and starting to plan a wedding I'm feeling a little tapped out. Oh, I was also pretty ill with a cold last week and had a beautiful 24 hour bug or something yesterday. Ick!

Well that seems like a sufficient pity party. Time to get back to the knitting homework!

P.S. you may notice my blog now has a spiffy background that I think makes it oh so purty. I got the idea from Plantress who is a fantastic jewelry maker and my future mother-in-law! Go check out her etsy site.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Got the monkey off my back

A dog and her monster, it's a beautiful thing

Phew! The monster is done and has been given to its intended recipient (who in case you were wondering, is not actually the dog pictured above, although Fiona was fond of him).
No Seamus, don't jump! You're a sea monster, you can't fly, you swim!

As is only fitting, Seamus the sea monster was finished this weekend on an island in Maine where my family has a home.
Showing off his groovy fins and tail (this pattern was heavily modified per my sister's request and rather than wings he had to have "loch ness monster type fins")

I gave him to my older sister who was elated with her little monster Seamus von Swimmy. Ali had been positively demanding throughout this whole process so it was quite a relief to be able to give her the monster.
Notice his wave patterned belly

And as part of her insatiable desire for little knit monsters, I spent Saturday teaching her how to knit so that she can start her own monster factory!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


This is not at all knitting related...
But I am now engaged!! My boyfriend of over three years totally surprised me last night and proposed. We are both very excited and have had a lot of fun calling all the family and just looking at each other and giggling. I really love his family and feel so lucky to be welcomed into it and am really looking forward to starting a family of our own in the future.

Guess this means the Ravelympics brought me good luck!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Here comes a curveball

See the stash parade. See the crazy yarn take over my office. See me decide to do something about it...
The magnificent Opus Spicatum by Kate Gagnon. A truly amazing FREE pattern available at

Sitting here looking out at the snow, I realized that once my monster was done I would still have a week left of the Ravelympics. Now, the whole point of Ravelympics is that it's supposed to be a challenge and it just didn't sit right with me that I would have all that extra time. Didn't seem like it was much of a challenge.
This sweet pattern is Zooey, designed by Cassandra Dominick

That got me thinking and as I watched the snow fall down I realized my Ravelympics didn't have to end with Seamus. I love making hats and have a great deal of stash (excess/unused yarn) that needs to be used up: my yarn basket overfloweth. So I decided I could challenge myself to see how many hats I could make once Seamus is done.
Garter Stripe Beanie by Terhi Montonen, don't these look deliciously edible?

As an added bonus all the hats I make will be donated to charity to help keep people a littler warmer in Boston and other parts of the country.

Monster Teasers

I feel like one of those makeover shows where they don't let you see the full person until the "reveal" and until then you just get little snippets or "teasers." Welcome to a monster makeover then... In the photo above you see the stylist has not quite finished the haircut yet, or the head for that matter.
"This pattern is very slimming on you Seamus, really brings out your sea-monster-ness"
Of courses every sea monster must accessorize with a tail.
And finally some monster eyes...

Seamus is obviously coming along nicely, although he's not quite as chubby as I would like. I'm going home this weekend for my mother's birthday so even though the ravelympics don't end for awhile, my deadline for this little critter is the 20'th!