Friday, June 29, 2012

A Big Week

So this week, I had a pattern release on Monday with Quince & Co., two patterns with Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People 3 on Tuesday, and chopped my hair off on Wednesday.  It's been a busy week! Let's start at the beginning.

(All Gemma photos by Carrie Bostick Hoge!)

The Gemma Shawl was a project that I absolutely loved knitting.  It was my first time knitting with Finch, Quince's fingering weight, and I went into it knowing that it was one of the springiest yarns out there on the market.  I wanted to respect that and not force it to block into serious lace, so I decided to play with simple textural stitch patterns with a single lace detail along the edge.   I was absolutely thrilled and delighted to block this and find out that, in addition to some amazing spring, this yarn has incredible drape as well.  I love it! I'm in the middle of a new project using it, and I'm loving it even more.  Stay tuned for that in the next few months!


Gemma is knit differently than my typical top-down shawls; it starts with only a few stitches and increases slowly only on one side to create a sideways triangle.  I loved the subtle asymmetry that creates!

The shawl takes 5 skeins of Finch, and can be found here on Ravelry. 

So that was Day 1! Day 2 dawned bright and early with the release of Auden and Bayard.  Eagle-eyed readers might recognize Auden as the sweater starring in the knitting catastrophe of a few months ago.  There is really nothing more *awesome* (sarcasm) than having to email Jared Flood with "the cat destroyed my sweater", but he was really awesome about it and gave me a couple extra weeks.  I was really glad, because I actually had the chance to change a few things from the first version of the sweater that were bugging me! (For those interested, Jashu is just fine--he's currently talking to himself in the other room.  Silly cat.)
Auden 3
(All Wool People 3 photos by Jared Flood!)

Auden is knit from the bottom up in the round, and then split to work back and forth for the armhole.  The allover pattern utilizes a series of smaller and smaller cables to create a gentle, delicate fern.


Auden uses Brooklyn Tweed's fingering weight Loft yarn, which I can't say enough good things about.  It blocks so beautifully in lace, cables, stockinette--you name it.  And the colors? Love 'em.   You can find it on Ravelry here

Bayard 1

The colors of Loft were what drew me to design Bayard.  I must have spent an hour in the yarn room when I first decided to swatch for it, ending up with about twenty different possible combinations! It was almost a relief when I was assigned a color combo--it would have been really hard for me to choose.

Bayard 2

Bayard is knit from the ribbing up, and utilizes slip stitches to pull one side of the hat shorter than the rest.  That lets the hat slouch without adding too much bulk.  Bayard takes less than a skein of Loft in two colors, and it's on Ravelry here!


The sample was knit in Old World and Woodsmoke, but I wanted to show a few other color combos that I wanted to explore as well!

bayard alternate
Top row, L to R: Tent and Artifact, Blanket Fort and Plume, Nest and Sweatshirt
Middle row, L to R: Tent and Foothills, Homemade Jam and Wool Socks, Long Johns and Pumpernickel
Bottom row, L to R: Hayloft and Meteorite, Sap and Birdbook, Woodsmoke and Barn Owl

So many to choose from--these didn't even make a dent!

So on top of those, yeah, I cut all my hair.  When I realized I'd be going into a hot and humid Maine summer with buttlength hair, I balked, and off it came.  And yes, it's still long--but it's short for me!

I have committed myself to being a curly girl again! We'll see how long that upkeep lasts.  (Yes, it's in a ponytail right now.)

So that was a pretty awesome week for me.  But it's not over.  Because you know what starts tomorrow?  Oh yeah.  Tour de Fleece.  It's on.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The View from Downtown



Sometimes the other knitters and crocheters of Portland are pretty darn cool.  Also cool? The fact that this has been up in the middle of downtown Portland for at least two weeks, and no one's either defaced it or tried to take it down, not even the authorities.  Another reason to love this town! (Also, can you imagine how long this took?!)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Catching Up . . . and Catching Bugs

Oooh, hey blog! It's, uh, it's been a while, hasn't it? But there's been so much going on!

I planted a tiny salad and herb container garden!

(I also planted a raised bed garden, which was then followed by two steady weeks of torrential rain.  I'm not showing you that one.)

We had Cake Day!

(Lucia's completely yummy pumpkin whoopie pie cake pictured here.  It didn't last long.)

I finished spinning some yarn that I started at last year's SPA!

(Fiber is BFL in the colorway "Seaweed" from the Portland Fiber Gallery.  I snagged it right before I left for New Zealand.  Yardage is around 650 for 7 or so ounces, fingering to sportweight.)

I hung out with Maggie's foster kittens! (And hung out some more.  And then some more.)

(This is Waffles.  She's adorable.)

I visited the Maine Fiber Frolic!

(One of the gorgeous merino fleeces at the fleece tent.  I did not succumb, but it was a hard struggle.)

(Lunch.  I LOVE fair food.)

But besides these things, and work, and designing, and running (did I mention I started running? I'm sidelined right now with a foot injury, but can't wait to get back out there!), the big thing I'm battling is beetles.  Right about when we were having the first of our really rainy periods here in Maine (the first of MANY), I started noticing these little beetles near the front door of my apartment.  There were two kinds, one bullet-shaped and dark brown, and one round and zebra stripey.  I just figured that they were lost or coming indoors because it was rainy, and didn't pay them any attention.  To be honest, I thought that I was just seeing the same two bugs, hopelessly lost and befuddled by my apartment.  One night right before bed, though, I googled them (note: never google suspicious bugs right before bed), and found out what they were.

Drugstore beetles and carpet beetles.



So after not sleeping at all that night due to hyperventilation, I enlisted the help of my saint of a mother the next weekend, and we went through Every.  Single.  Skein. of yarn in my stash.  And all the fiber.  And all the weaving yarns.  And the swatches.  And the sweaters.  And the scarves and shawls and socks.  Let me tell you, I didn't really think I had that large a stash (though what I do have is disproportionately chartreuse) until I pulled it all out into one place.

So we went through every single piece of fiber in my house, and you know what we found? Five beetles, all in stuff that had been out in the open or by the front window.  WHEW.  After thanking the fiber gods profusely, we spent the rest of the afternoon shoving every single thing into a Ziploc and sacheting it for all it was worth.  Here's what my stash looks like now:


Since then, I've seen a few beetles, but I've been pretty vigilant about keeping everything tucked away and clean.  In addition, the sachets I made are helping to keep the critters away, so I thought I'd share the recipe here for those with, god forbid, a similar problem.

Beetle-Be-Gone Sachets:
2 parts cedar shavings or chips
1 part lavender
1 part thyme
1 part rosemary

Combine and stuff into mesh teabags or cheesecloth.  Untitled

I found bouquet garni bags at the local Whole Foods that have been working wonderfully.  These also make your wool smell lovely!

So now that the beetles are on their way out, I'm hoping I can breathe a little sigh of relief and get on with my summer plans.  What are you up to this summer?