Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Things That Make Me Smile

And with the news headlines these days, we all need a little lift. Trader Joe's Chocolate Croissants..I have heard about them. Now it's my turn to try them out. They start out small, you place them on a pan overnight to proof. In the morning they are HUGE. You bake them and eat them. Yum! They are flakey and good, and did I mention HUGE (?) and probably fattening, but I didn't look at the fat grams on purpose. They are something to make you smile in between knitting projects. Not while you knit, because your hands would of course be greasy.

I met an artist who does these great beaded necklaces and you can see her stuff at NOt June's Jewelry on Facebook. You can build your own like I did here. Many color combinations will work. This is just a sampling. This line is called "Urban Tribal." Love it! 
A happy green vase filled with Gerbera daisies from a co-worker friend...that later adorned my Easter
A little stuffed monkey named Stephanie makes me happy because she still accessorizes with a scarf I made for her a few years ago. She is the treasured friend of a disabled resident where my husband volunteers. Stephanie gets washed on "spa day" and I presume her scarf then gets washed along with her. She has also acquired a necklace,hat and a diaper apparently! It warms my heart to see she is still wearing this little scarf.

 A happy beginning to another baby jacket in bright spring colors of merino wool. And the discovery of the "exact called- for yarn" for my Baby Sophisticate sweater. You hardly ever can find the "exact called-for yarn" it seems. It makes for another smile.


And three lovely wound balls of goodness ready for me to design something out of them. I think I'll have another T.J.'s croissant while I ponder what they will become...Something without sleeves, no doubt. Hope your day brings you lots to smile over!

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's Baby Shower Time

Finished the modified Baby Surprise Jacket in time for the baby shower this weekend of my dear neighbor's daughter. This is my third time making this one and it sure is a cute pattern.

Also made the modified Springtime Cardigan shown up close with the cute bear buttons. I made this into a vest version rather than long sleeved as in the pattern.

And finally had to try these Saartje's Bootees that I have seen and had in the queue for awhile from Ravelry. Everyone has done them it seems, but me! I just need some cute buttons for these now.

They were very fast to make and quite easy, however on the pattern instructions it fails to tell you to slip markers and make all your increases between the two markers. Otherwise, they are a breeze to make. Finished in no time flat!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Freeport Shawl Collar Vest

Freeport Shawl Collar Vest...I have worn this each day since I completed it and have received many compliments. Some are saying it is their favorite of my knits so far. You've gotta try this pattern! There could be endless possibilities with the color combos really.....I had fun with my garnet red stripes against the backdrop of the brown. I am honored to have my photo up on The Brown Stitch's blog, as she is showing samples of what projects people have knit using her patterns. You can check it out and see her other cool patterns over there.

...and look at the texture...
Definitely love it even more after blocking. Blocking just makes every stitch fall into place and lay smoothly and I got a bit of length out of it too. Photo shoot outside today by my wonderful husband.

 Shown before blocking.
Shown blocking.

Here's my version of Freeport Shawl Collar Vest by Elizabeth Smith. View her blog, The Brown Stitch and you can get her pattern there too! Or off Ravelry. She's on my sidebar link to the right! Mine was done with less than 3 skeins of Cascade Soft Spun, and less than one skein Malabrigo, both non-plied. I used a size 10 needle throughout. Of course I can never wait to model and wear my finished items before blocking, so I am wearing it here prior to blocking.
 Shown before finishing armholes and blocking...I tried it on and it fits! I am always so happy when this happens. You do a project and make modifications and hope that you got the gauge right and that it all works out fine. Usually it does! In this case, I think I got the correct needle size, gauge and so far it looks like this one will be a winner. Cute pattern!

After a few more rows I will bind off the collar and start on the armhole stitches.
Working on the short rows to shape the shawl collar here....

The Freeport Shawl Collar Vest... a lovely pattern. I liked the stripes in garter stitch and in contrast to the main stockinette body.  Since my yarn is a Cascade Soft Spun with brown and flecks of a red in it, I chose a Malabrigo in burgundy as my accent color for the stripes. Both yarns are soft and not plied. I am doing the medium size on size 10  circular needles. This pattern is seamless from the bottom up. Then you work the front pieces upward separately, putting one side on hold while knitting the other. The back is also knit upward. The stripes are made by alternating to the contrast color every two rows, and done in garter stitch. The shoulders will be sewn using a 3 needle bind off and the shawl collar will be picked up and short rows used to shape it.
Here is the piece layed out flat. You can see where you bind off stitches at the underarm. Modifications: I am omitting the waist shaping called for in the pattern, as well as omitting the "fake seam" called for down the armhole to the hem.I could have probably done the waist shaping, but thought it might be snug on me. It probably would've been just fine if I'd done it.
I think it's coming along well and soon I'll be ready to put the back stitches on hold while I finish knitting up the other "front" side. 
I am working on the picking up of the collar stitches now and getting ready to do the short row wraps for the shawl collar.  It's a cute pattern and vests are my new favorite thing so I look forward to finishing this one.

I am very happy with this pattern and recommend it.  Note: I would not recommend the Cascade Soft Spun necessarily as it seems to "crease" a little bit. Odd, never had a yarn do that. But it then shakes out. Maybe since it is so soft.