Monday, December 26, 2011

Gift Spotlight

I don't usually talk about gifts I've received, but I thought some of you might appreciate what my boyfriend got me for Christmas - some of the prettiest knitting needles ever! (Got to love significant others that feed your crafting habits.)

Image borrowed from KnitPicks
He got me the Options Interchangeable Harmony Wood Circular Knitting Needle Set from KnitPicks. I have been eyeing these needles for years and finally I can call them my own! They are just as pretty in person and possibly the smoothest wood needles I've ever touched. They're very nice, I can't wait to start knitting with them!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Crafting Complete!

Happy Christmas, everyone! I have gotten so much done in the past few weeks! Christmas is here and I was pretty excited to give away my handmade gifts.

First up is my milk liqueur, which I finally finished straining Wednesday. If you ever plan on making this, plan on letting it strain for about 24 hours. The milk gets very thick and leaves a very thick film on the coffee filters, so I found it was best to do a little at a time and replace the filter after each small pour. It takes a while, but man, the finished product is totally worth it.

Milk Liqueur - Day 11

As you can see, it's become a nice golden color and it tastes amazing. I can't really pick up the mint, but the chocolate and milk really stand out. (I'll have to find out another way to get the mint flavor in, I'll experiment with that in my next batch.) It's a really creamy liqueur and either because of the chocolate or the vodka (I used 80 proof), it warms you right up when you drink it. It's very good on its own, but it'd probably be a nice addition to some hot chocolate or coffee. Mixing it with some milk is actually pretty tasty as well.

Next are my two knitted projects for my boyfriend, M. He'd asked for a hat like Jayne's from Firefly a while back, so I found a pretty simple pattern on Ravelry and knit one up. After knitting up the first one, though, I wasn't sure if it would fit him, so I had him try it on. (He had his eyes closed, but he knew what it was. Smart guy!) Sadly the XL size was a little too small (considering it fit my head perfectly, I knew it would be), so I made a second, larger version. (I forgot to take a picture, so I'll have to share that a little later.) I added 8 more stitches to the hat and that did the trick. Also this means I have a spare hat, which means I guess I've got one for myself now unless I can think of someone else that would appreciate it.

I also made M a scarf! I do not typically make a lot of scarves anymore because they take forever and I have very little patience, but this scarf surprisingly knit up pretty fast! I used my favorite wool again, Patons Classic Wool, so even though it's not a tightly knit scarf, it's still plenty warm. M also gets hot easily, so I didn't want to make something so thick he'd be uncomfortable.

Scarf for Michael 1

I also got this pattern off of Ravelry. (Such a great resource, isn't it?) I wanted something simple and masculine and this fit the bill. Grey and blue are M's favorite colors and I added a stripe of green (same green as my Cadence sweater!) as well. Also now that it's blocked, it's a lot longer than it was before and I think it's the perfect length now.

And last but not least is a purse for my friend, C! This is a sort of gift, seeing as how she bought the fabric herself and specifically requested it, but since there were a lot of scraps, so I plan on making her a few extras, such as a headband or two and some cat toys.

Chelsey's Purse 2

I love these purses. They're super easy to make and if they get dirty (which they will, because they're fabric), you can just pop them in the wash. Also they seem to fit everything I need perfectly.

And now that all of my handmade gifts are done, I can spend some time finishing up Cadence and my triangle shawl before I head back to school!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Let the Christmas Crafting Begin!

Finals are done! No more school until January! Let me just say that I'm SO relieved to have this break. This fall has been pretty rough on me because I maxed out on credit hours and...well...that was probably not the best idea. But it's over now and I finally have time to do things I want to do!

To celebrate the end of exams, I started my batch of milk liqueur. Here is what it currently looks like:

Milk Liqueur - Day 1

The recipe (from here):
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
2 cups vodka (I used Smirnoff - the liquor store had a credit card limit and this met it)
2 cup sugar
1/2 lemon
2oz dark chocolate

I also added some fresh mint leaves. I wanted to make the liqueur a little more "holiday" and mint is an easy way to do that. I hope I put enough in so that you can taste it. If it doesn't, maybe next time I'll try crushing them a little first and add a few more leaves. I also want to try making a chai version, but I don't know how much of each spice to add yet, so I'll have to experiment with that later.

So now I just have to wait 10 days! I'll shake it once a day until then and then it'll be ready to strain. I'm planning on getting small canning jars (or mini bottles if I can find them - know any sources?) and then decorating the lids with some Christmas themed fabric and some ribbon. I can't wait to taste it!

Friday, December 2, 2011

New Design

I changed things around a bit design-wise. Hopefully I'll also be changing things around with how often I post. Once I get done with my last few exams, maybe I'll share some of what I've been doing this quarter.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christmas Crafting

Wow, I can't believe it's almost been a month since I've posted. Things have gotten pretty hectic with school, so my free time has dwindled drastically and sadly I've been neglecting my blog. I've still been reading other blogs, just not writing. But since things are almost over and I have a few minutes to myself, I thought I'd share what I've been planning on making for Christmas! I've decided that this year I'm going to hand make gifts for everyone except my mom. (Well, she gets something handmade in addition to a  bought gift as well, because she's special and I like trying to give her a little something extra. Yay moms!) But here are some of my plans:

First: milk liqueur. (Image borrowed from site.) I first heard about it on Lee Meredith's blog (who has some awesome knitting designs, check her out!) earlier this year and thought it sounded really interesting. Well when the time came to think of things to make for my friends, this sounded like a good idea! I started browsing for other recipes, because I wanted to see if there were more variations than the chocolate and lemon one, which is how I found The Kitchn version. If you scroll down, you'll see suggestions and the one I'm most interested is in the chai recipe. My friends and I all like tea in some shape or form and I'm pretty sure we all agree that chai is delicious, so why not? I'm going to make a test batch to see how it turns out and I think I might want to try a chocolate variation but with mint leaves in addition to the chocolate and lemon. Putting some liqueur in small jars with some cute fabric and ribbon sound like a nice little gift!

Another edible (ingestable?) crafty gift idea that sounded delicious was White Chocolate Caramel Pears, which was posted over at Crafty Christmas Club last year. They sound SO delicious. Also family friendly, so I can give them to friends/family that can't/don't drink. I honestly can't wait to try this recipe out. Hopefully I don't eat them all myself!

One of my friends requested a version of the purse I made (shown in my first post, pattern is available here). She bought the fabric, but I'm making it for her so it partially counts. Mostly because the only time I have to make it is around Christmas. But she is getting other things as well, so it's more of a happy addition to the surprise gifts.

If any of you have ever watched the series Firefly, then you should recognize Jayne Cobb's hat. My boyfriend and I love this series and my boyfriend has stated that he wants one of these hats, so this will be one of his handmade gifts. (I am most likely making him a scarf as well, but probably in different colors.) Silly hats are my specialty, so I'm going to have fun making this one!

So these are definitely some of the projects I'll be making in the next month and there might be a few others depending on what I have time for. I'm excited to make all of them, but I'm particularly excited about the liqueur! I hope it turns out. I will keep you all updated!

What kinds of gifts are you planning on making this year?

Monday, October 31, 2011

More Cadence Progress!

So I "completed" the body of my Cadence sweater last night.

Why the ""? Because 1. the bind off is far too tight and 2. I am not crazy about the length. The bottom edge, if you look closely, is puckered, which is not only unflattering, it could also cause problems when I block it - especially if the sweater shrinks a little. Considering how stretchy this sweater is, I don't need a random tight spot! I did a decrease bind off, which is supposed to be a stretchy bind of and usually is for me, but not this time. I think I'll use a size US13 or US15 needle to bind it off next time. As for the length, I've got a long torso and I really should have measured. But considering that I still have to undo the binding, I'm not really upset about having to undo a few rows.

Other than those two issues, so far it fits great! It's a little lumpy for now, but once I block it, I think it'll be perfect. Trying it on really gave me the drive to finish it so I can wear it. Also I'm kind of excited to alter it as needed, because that means it's going to fit just right. Hooray for self made garments! I can't wait to make more. I hope those of you participating in the knit-a-long are having some success with your sweaters and those of you that are on hiatus to learn more about lace charts are doing well.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another Knitting Project

I've got another knitting project lined up for once I finish Cadence. It's a quick knit, so I'll probably do it before I start my Owls sweater.

It's a free pattern from Lion Brand. I have wanted a shawl for a while to help me keep warm around the house without having to use a blanket. Also it's something extra I can take with me to school for a little extra warmth in some of the colder classrooms. (It'll definitely be a help in the winter when I'm student teaching, one of my rooms is absolutely freezing!) The yarn I chose also fits within my color palette, which is nice.

The yarn is Lion Brand's Homespun in Tudor, which is one of the few acrylics that I still love. It's also the yarn I learned how to knit with, so me and this yarn go way back. (I don't recommend learning with it, though. It's a great yarn, don't get me wrong! It's just fuzzy and fuzzy is difficult to learn with.) It's VERY soft and VERY snuggly. Also it's got...4?...colors from my palette, so hey. I bought more yarn than recommended, but I plan on making a pair of wrist warmers and possibly a cowl and hat, depending on how much I have left over. 

Cool weather is here! Have any warm, snuggly projects planned?

Friday, October 14, 2011


Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owl

And here it is! One of my first prints of the fall. It's a two block linocut with chine collé (collage). The yellows and background are different decorative handmade papers. This is the first time I've done something as detailed as this with chine collé and I'm pretty happy with the results. I've got some other versions currently drying, so I'll post a few other versions in the future.

This is the first owl in a (hopeful) series of ten that will focus on endangered and extinct owl species. This little guy is the Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, a little guy who lives in cacti in Arizona and Northern Mexico. (The actual print is 8x10 and the size of the printed owl is about twice the size of the real owl, so I really do mean little.) This pygmy owl has actually been removed from the endangered species list due to "erroneous data", but there are petitions to have it put back on the list. Due to how rare it has become, I think this owl fits in perfectly with the series because it's one of the few that can make note of how not every animal that should be on the endangered species list is on the list.

Hopefully now you understand why my blog is called Birds and Ink...birds and printmaking two of my favorite things!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

School School School...

Oh, school. How busy you make me. Nonstop reading and writing and thinking... Last week, for the first time in a long time, I actually felt my brain turn to complete mush. It made me feel horrible, but I doubt it'll be the last time. Hopefully I build a tolerance to it. Hopefully.

But at least some good new creative side is that I'm back in the print studio and I've started my first series of prints! This first run is mostly an experimental test run, but I like what I've got so far. My first critique is Thursday, so I'll make sure to post pictures of what me and my (poor poor) hands have been up to. So! Check back later in the week, maybe I'll finally have something fun to show you!

And if you're wondering what the prints are of, I'll give you a hint: it has something to do with birds. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crafting Woes

I'm pretty sure I am going to drown in articles and readings this quarter (yay grad school), so forgive me if my posts slow down. A lot. I am so busy it's ridiculous. Hopefully I will survive.

I hope everyone is having good progress on their sweaters for the KAL! Mine is sitting in a sad pile begging me to finish it, but I can't knit and read at the same time. But I guess an upside is that it will give other people time to catch up? But it's starting to get a lot cooler here in Cincinnati and a sweater is something I will need soon. I think I'll bring it to work with me Sunday and work on it. I'm hoping to at least get the body done soon - only a few inches to go!

I need to break out the sewing machine, too. I promised a friend I'd make a purse for her (like the one in my first post) and haven't yet. I have things I want to make, but can't because 1) I don't have time to buy fabric and 2) I still don't have a place for my sewing machine yet. (The office area is a temporary storage area while other rooms in the house get painted. I don't even have my desk set up yet. Ugh!)

At least I do have a designated creative time, though. I'm taking a printmaking class, so I do still have time to use my favorite side of the brain. I am also going to try to incorporate some hand sewing into my prints, so we'll see how that goes. My professor seems to be open to just about everything, so hey. (Some people are really into the whole incorporating "craft" and more domestic arts into fine art and others are not. Personally, I love it when people do that and now it's my turn to give it a shot.)

How do you find a creative outlet when you feel like you don't have time for anything?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cadence Chart Editing

Here it is! The how to edit a chart post!

If you’re new to knitting, new to following charts, or are like me and are sometimes just too eager to read ahead in a pattern (lesson learned!), then redrafting a chart is something that could be very useful to you. For Cadence, like I said earlier, reading ahead in the pattern is very important when you’re doing the yoke. There are increases listed for each size that need to be included when knitting the yoke, but they are not drawn out in the included chart. (From what I’ve seen, charts never do that. It’d be a little crazy for the person who drafted it to do so, so I don’t blame them.) Basically all that you need to do this is the Cadence pattern, some graph paper (to make it easier), and a pencil. Lets get to it! (NOTE: This tutorial applies to all sizes EXCEPT size S. Size S is the only size that gets to follow the chart as printed.)


For all of the following instructions, I will be doing this for size large/42.5”. If you are not that size, you need to follow along in the instructions for your size and make changes as needed. The first thing I usually do when using patterns that I print off is to find all the parts in the brackets that relate to my size. For example, the sizes are listed XS[S, M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X]. Since I’m knitting size L, I go through and circle the 3rd number in each bracket so I don’t lose track. (You don’t have to do this, I just like doing this to make it easier on myself.) So skipping ahead to the section under Chart Patterns, I know I will repeat the body chart 4 times between markers and so on.

Now for the tricky part that made me make this chart in the first place. The two sections labeled AT THE SAME TIME, these are BOTH made AT THE SAME TIME as the yoke chart. They are not listed on the chart, so don’t be like me and get excited and just do the chart as pictured UNLESS you are size S. (Lucky!) Here is the original chart from the pattern:

For the sleeve increases for size L, it says to work 2 rounds in the pattern and then work a sleeve increase round. So every 3 rounds, I will make 1 stitch at each end of the chart. This will be repeated 12 times. Doing the math, people knitting size L will make increases on rounds 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, and 39. The chart only has 21 rounds, so there will be increases after the chart is completed as well. (I use a stitch counter. I highly recommend one for this pattern.) So drawing out the new chart, every 3rd round I added a square on each end to mark the m1 spaces.

For the body increases for size L, it says to work 6 rounds in the pattern and then work a body increase round. So every 7 rounds, I will again make 1 stitch at each end of the chart, same as the sleeve increases. This will be repeated 5 times. Increases will be made on rounds 7, 14, 21, 28, and 35. (Again, some increases will be made after the chart is completed.) Drawing out the new chart, every 7th round has an extra square for the m1 spaces.

So now that you know which rows need increases added, you can draw it out on your graph paper. Counting is pretty important! One way to make it easy is to lightly trace the old chart onto the graph paper and then to edit it as you go. My graph paper wasn’t the same as the chart, so I counted the squares and drew them starting with round one. Working up is going to be much easier than working down, so start at the bottom!

This is a long post, but I hope this helps! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I hope your sweaters turn out nicely!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cadence Charts

I have added scans of my edited charts for the Cadence sweater to the Flickr group page. I will make a post with details/instructions for what I did so that you can make your own, too, if you like!

Also here is a more current photo of what my sweater looks like:


Check back soon!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cadence Progress

Time for a progress report! I've been busy running around getting ready for school, getting annoyed with my university because of some problems with my bill, work, and trying to see as much of my friends as possible before all the work begins. September is halfway over and I haven't even posted anything about my Cadence sweater! Here's what it looked like a few weeks ago:


I'll post a more recent picture soon. As of right now, I only have one negative thing to say about the pattern: PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE INCREASES WHEN KNITTING THE YOKE. I had to frog the whole thing before I realized that I didn't read far ahead enough on the pattern and I completely skipped all the increases that shape the shoulders. It was kind of aggravating. To make it easier on myself, I redrew the entire chart so I would know where to increase, which I can share if anyone is curious. (It'll be for size L, though, so if you're not knitting that size, you wouldn't be able to follow that chart. BUT if you wanted to make you're own, you could see how I did it at least.)

Everything else has been great, though. The yarn itself is holding up very well.Once I separated the sleeves from the body and knit a few inches, I felt so proud of myself because the sweater actually started looking like a sweater and not a blob of yarn. I love seeing progress on knits! I can't wait to finish it and show it off.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fall Challenge

Ok, here is my official "I want to get these done by December" board. There are two knitting projects and two sewing projects/patterns. The palette I want to stick with is at the bottom and the yarn options I'm considering/am using are shown as well. (Can't decide between the three yarns for Owls. Thoughts?) The Sorbetto top and Simplicity 2224 patterns I might make more than once if they fit well. Hence all the extra colors!

I'm leaving myself some space to expand upon if I have time. Also this doesn't include my Renaissance Festival dress, but depending what fabric I find, it may also be in this palette. (I'm currently torn between making it in a midnight blue, plum, or emerald. I know I won't decide until I'm physically in the store...)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fall Projects...

Ok, so there seem to be several things going on right now that I want to get involved in!

First off, the Newbie and the Knitter KAL. This I already have the yarn and pattern for and am ready to go. This is definitely inspiring me to participate in other things. It's also made me realize that I want to make more of my own clothing for fall and winter! Hence...

The Fall Essentials Sew Along. Since I do have a few things planned (as mentioned in previous posts), why not do the sew along as well? I am not setting very high goals for this, but if I complete one item that I will wear on a regular basis, I will be ecstatic.

Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge

And to tie both the KAL and SAL together, why not pick a color palette and stick with it? Here is the palette I was planning on working with, both knit and sewn: brown, jade, grey, plum, cream, dark blue, and celadon.

So here's hoping I can get some things done!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Good Finds!

Ok, so my friend C and I went to a JoAnn's today to find some fabric for her yukata, which sadly she did not. The JoAnn's we decided to go to was closing, so their fabric selection was very slim. (Don't worry, it's not closing closing, they are moving this location to another location that is bigger and also gets more traffic.) But good for me, this means they had a close out on their patterns! So I was able to get the Simplicity 2224 patterned I mentioned last time as well as 3 costume patterns. I consulted my friends and the official Renaissance Dress I will be making is...Butterick 4827! The original dress I was planning on making. C used to be part of a group called SCA that did a lot of reenactments and whatnot and has worn many a renaissance dress. She told me that drop sleeves are notorious for getting in the way of everything, so it might be best to not have those. And then we agreed that the "Maid Marian" type style dress would be better since not as many people would be wearing that dress. (Which is true, most wear the peasant style dress, with the corset and skirt, and the rest wear very Elizabethan dresses, which are beyond me at this point.) I was also able to pick up two more patterns:

Butterick 4571


Simplicity 4940

The Butterick is for when I do decide I want the bell sleeves and the Simplicity is for a LotR/elf costume if I ever decide to make one. Both patterns were about $1 (hooray clearance!) and why not? I know my friends are planning on having a Song of Ice and Fire themed dinner and we'd mentioned dressing up for it. (Have I mentioned we're nerds?) If you've never read those books, it's ok, this will just give me an excuse to go to a themed dinner and figure out how to make mulled wine and honey cakes.

Ok, I'll spare you more nerdiness. Some other good news about today was that I got some free fabric today from my mentor teacher! One piece in particular could make a CRAZY, but awesome, top or skirt. Whatever I make with it, it's going to scream, "ART TEACHER," which is not a bad thing! I'm excited. After I wash the dust out of the fabric, I'll post pictures!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

To do list...part 2

Ok, now to post a few of the things I want to sew for my teacher wardrobe. A lot of these seem to be more summery patterns, but I am a big fan of layering and if I use mid weight fabrics in non-summery colors, I think I will be ok.

First up, because it's free and so many projects have looked so great, the Sorbetto top. I've seen several of these with sleeves, which look really nice, but sleeveless would also be good for wearing under jackets and cardigans. It also looks like it's very easy to customize along the pleat. Buttons, lace, etc. give it a little something extra and I could easily figure that out.

Simplicity 2226 is a very beginner pattern and since I am a very beginner, I think this would be something good to learn with. The reviews I've read make the instructions sound like they are very easy to follow, which is great, and people have had good luck with the pattern. Also it has pockets. I LOVE skirts with pockets. (I am one of those people who feel a little lost when I don't have pockets.) Actually, I think all the skirts on this list have pockets. Which is probably why I want to make them!

Simplicity 2224 is another easy to sew pattern that I think would be good to start out with. Again there are pockets and knee length is the length I go for in all of the skirts I wear. This pattern also has pants and shorts, though, which could be something good for me to use in the future. (I'd probably just make pajama pants or something, though. I am extremely picky about how pants fit me and don't want to mess around with trying to make professional pants yet.)

Ginger does not have pockets, BUT it's a very cute A line skirt and I love the two waistband options. A lot of bloggers have been using Colette patterns and I've loved everything that has been done with them, so I think it'd be a good choice. It's also one of their beginner level patterns, which is good for me.

Another beginner Colette pattern, Crepe is possibly one of the cutest dresses I've ever seen. I love wrap styles that wrap in the back and the polkadot version on the site is adorable. I don't know if this would necessarily be for my teacher wardrobe, I just want one in general. I need more dresses and this one looks like it'd be easy to make for both casual and dressy wear.

Sencha and Beignet are two patterns (again from Colette) that I would like to try in the future when my sewing skills are a little better. Sencha has three versions that all look great that could again be paired with cardigans and Beignet is yet another skirt with pockets that looks flattering on just about everyone who has made it in sewist blogspace.

I hope to accomplish all of these patterns at some point, but other than possibly some of the first few patterns, I am not going to give myself a deadline on these. I would like to at least have one or more Sorbetto tops and at least one skirt by January, but the others can wait. I know the fall is going to be crazy for me and unlike knitting projects, sewing projects are not portable. I'll have to fit them in as I can, but that doesn't mean I can't hope! And they will be good additions to my teacher wardrobe after I'm done with school, too.

Friday, August 26, 2011

To do list...

Since I haven't been around in a bit, I'm going to share some projects that I would like to complete before January. I need to add some things to my teacher wardrobe, so why not make a few of them myself? Currently this is just a few knitted patterns, but I think I'll add some sewing patterns later. (All the patterns are linked to their Ravelry page, which is also where I'm borrowing the photos from.)

First, obviously, is the Cadence sweater for the KAL. I have some Patons Classic Wool in Jade Heather waiting to be cast on. (I'm so excited for this.)

Owls are my favorite birds and this sweater is something I've wanted to do for ages, but just haven't had the courage to try. But I think it will definitely be my next project after Cadence is done. I think I'm going to try the Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky, probably in Porcini, Wallaby, or Silver. Something owl colored for it.

The Coffee Tunic would be nice to wear as well. Tunics are some of my favorite things, especially since I have a long torso and don't want to worry about there not being enough coverage when I sit down, and would look nice with both skirts and pants. Also I can layer it with long sleeved tees in the winter for extra warmth. I think it'd be nice in a chocolate brown or cream. Now that I think about it, it might make a good dress if I lengthen it a bit. Hmm. Something to think about...

I really want a sweater vest, so Hilja it is. It seems simple and I could wear it both with button up shirts and long sleeved tees. I'd probably use the Knit Picks yarn I talked about in my last post, Wool of the Andes Worsted, in the Claret Heather or Winter Night.

So that's what I've got planned! Hopefully I'll get at least Cadence and one other done before January.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Yarn Options

I am working in an extremely sparsely populated computer lab right now (as in the only people who are in here are employees), so I'm going to talk about yarn! I love yarn! Hopefully you do too!

Ok, so KristenMakes has a really useful post up about choosing yarns for the Cadence knitalong. I've been browsing different yarns in my free time the past week and I've decided to use wool/wool blend so I can wear it in cooler weather. While it would be really nice to use the yarn listed on the pattern, Elsebeth Lavold Silky Flamme (which sounds like it'd feel amazing), it is way out of my budget. According to the pattern, I'd need 820 yds of whatever I'm using (IF the yarn I use is the same gauge, which it might not be) and I can't do the $100+ thing right now. But I have narrowed it down to four different possible yarns that ARE in my budget range:

Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool

Fisherman's Wool is 100% wool. I have used many different yarns that Lion Brand offers and I really like their products. The yarn only comes in a limited natural range of colors, though. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing! I like wearing neutrals and earth tones because they go with almost everything. And since I would want to add this sweater to my professional wardrobe, being able to go with just about everything else I wear is definitely a plus. For colors, right now I'm leaning towards Oatmeal, Brown Heather, Oak Tweed, and Birch Tweed. Most of those I'd be able to wear with black or brown.

Bamboo Ewe

Bamboo Ewe is a bamboo/wool blend. If you've never touched bamboo yarn before, you are missing out. It feels very soft and silky and tends to give a bit of a nice sheen to the yarns. I am not sure how warm this would be in the winter, but I think I would have less of a problem with itch, though. I am a little wary about wearing 100% wool sometimes, because of dry skin, but that's something I could take care of when making the sweater so that there's enough ease in it to wear something under it. When it comes to colors, it still only has a limited range of colors, but instead of just being neutrals it's mostly brights. I like bright colors, but I don't wear them a whole lot. The only one I'm really a fan of is Eucalyptus, but Mercury looks like a nice silver grey.

Patons Classic Wool

I have used Patons Classic Wool for other projects (a scarf and felted purse) and am pretty happy with it. It's got a nice feel to it and knits easily. Unlike the other two yarns, Paton's Classic Wool comes in a large variety of colors, both brights and neutrals. It also has a few multi-color options as well. Looking at the projects others have posted on Ravelry, there are a few people who used multi-colored yarns that look really nice. The more subtle the variation the better, I think. As for colors, the only multi-color I'm leaning towards is Bonsai (love blues, greens, and browns together), but Eucalyptus, Natural Marl, Peacock, Moss Heather, and Jade Heather are definite contenders.

Knit Picks Wool of the Andes

I have only heard good things about Knit Picks from my knitter friends, so this is the main online only option for me. (The other three I can buy from shops around town.) The site says that the wool is, "a cross between Corriedale (for the sturdiness) and Merino (for the softness), producing a strong fiber with an excellent softness quotient for a wide variety of uses," which sounds really nice. Strong and soft is good. I love soft sweaters. I'm all about soft, snuggly sweaters, especially in winter. (Winter is that time where all I want to do is live in pajamas, fuzzy slippers, and snuggly blankets and drink lots of cocoa and tea. Fires are also nice. But when I have to go outside, it's nice to take the snuggly with me!) And like the Patons, there is a really nice color palette to chose from. I think my two favorites are Forest Heather and Claret Heather, but Tidepool Heather, Winter Night, Saphire Heather, Bittersweet Heather, Amethyst Heather, and Lullaby are very nice, too. (Can you tell I like heathers?) Lots to think about.

But as I said in my last post, I have a trip to JoAnn's planned for today for other supplies, so if I find one of the first three yarns in a color I absolutely love, I'll go ahead and get them. Otherwise I've got an order from Knit Picks to make soon! September can't get here soon enough. Sitting on this yarn is going to make me anxious to start.

Edit: JoAnn's had all of the first three yarns. The fisherman's wool, while I think would be great for felting, was WAY to itchy for a sweater like this. Just touching the ball was irritating my skin. The Bamboo Ewe felt as lovely as I thought it would, but they didn't have enough in stock for the whole sweater and I am one of those people who hates buying yarn in multiple batches. (Unless it's a synthetic, since those dyes don't seem to change often at all. And I don't want to buy any more synthetics if it's something that's for me.) The Patons had plenty in stock, though, and I actually do like the feel of the Classic Wool, so I went ahead and bought 5 balls of the Jade Heather, which is a little more than I need in case I want to elongate parts. I'm definitely going to buy the Knit Picks for my next project, though. I already know what I want to make with it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Possible Costumes

Ok. So I've found a few dresses that I'm a fan of. This was the original one I was thinking of:

Here are two more medieval style dresses that I also like that I found on Etsy, mostly because of there being more options (especially in the sleeves):

And a more renaissance ensamble that I'm currently leaning towards:

I have to go to JoAnn's this weekend anyways to find stuff for my mocassin project, so I think I might look at fabric and look at their patterns, too. Their website only shows Simplicity patterns, which is not all that they have. Just some things I've been thinking about!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


It's been a week, but I have not forgotten about you, blog. I know you're here. Don't worry.

Ok, I'll stop talking to a webpage now. I just started my student teaching observations this week, so I've been kind of busy. (Also tired. Getting up at 5:30am to be at the high school by 7:00 is hard. Very, very hard.) It's only been 3 days, but I absolutely love the high school I'm at. It's amazing. It is a high school I wish I could have gone to. The kids are fantastic and are pretty easy to work with. The staff is very nice and helpful (at least the ones I've met are). This has been an all around good experience and I can't wait to come back in the winter to teach. In another week I'll be at the elementary school I'm also student teaching at and it's also another one of those fantastic schools. I lucked out. I can only hope that I can get a job at a school as great as the ones I'm student teaching at.

Yesterday before I left, the head of the art department came into my mentor teacher's classroom and right away gave me a task. She handed me a 36"x36" inch square of brown felt and asked me to come up with something to make for the fiber art class. (I lucked out that I get to teach a class about sewing! Luckily it's all by hand and I know how to do that pretty well.) She said all she could come up with was teddy bears and really, what high school student really wants to make a felt teddy bear? Especially the boys. (Yes, there are boys in the fiber art class. Most did not know that it was about sewing. They're doing fine, though.) So the three of us brainstormed and came up with making a lesson on moccasins! They'll be felt slipper moccasins, but still. So I messed around with the felt and came up with a sorry excuse for a slipper, but I'm getting somewhere. Hopefully soon I'll have something to show that doesn't look too bad to photograph and post. I already started the research and I can tell I'll have fun with this.

Also the knitalong is coming up! I'm going to have to start shopping around for yarn soon, in case I need to order it online. I also am seriously thinking about making a dress for the renaissance festival, so I'm looking at patterns online. I am finding enough to make me think about doing something other than the one I posted, we shall see!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


A knitalong from Rhinestones and Telephones? Yes please! I've knitted dozens of hats and scarves and a few pairs of socks and other small projects, but have yet to attempt a sweater. I think doing this with the online community would be a great help and would also be good motivation for me, too. It's so much better to knit with others, don't you think?

The project is the Cadence Pullover, which is a free pattern found on Knitty. I love Knitty. The sweater is adorable and looks like it'd be great for the fall. Coincidentally, I had this pattern bookmarked as well! Obviously this knitalong and I were meant to be. It's geared towards beginners, but that's ok. I'm more of an intermediate knitter, but it doesn't hurt to refresh skills and I may learn something new anyways since this will be my first sweater.

Yay projects!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Renaissance Festival Dress

For the past few years, I've been looking for a dress to wear to the Ohio Renaissance Festival. I've looked at the festival and online, but either am not impressed by the design of the dresses or the ones I want are too expensive. Also I tend to favor dresses that look a bit more medieval instead of Elizabethan (which is the time period for the ORF). I was looking at costume patterns and I think I found one that I like: Butterick B4827.

I really like the simple elegance of it and from what I've seen on forums and blogs, it's not a bad pattern to start out with. Yes, it would be totally awesome to go to the festival completely decked out in an Elizabethan dress, but my skills are nowhere near what they'd have to be for that. (Maybe one day.) I think pairing this dress and finding a simple pattern for a head cover (I have a short angled bob - not exactly period) would make a good costume. Also since it's been pretty hot the past few times I've gone, I think I would probably make one in cotton. It'd be easier to wear in the heat and also easier for me to work with, since I've never even hand sewn silk, etc. And I did find an interesting version of the dress here that I really like. I could find a pattern for a chemise that could fit under the dress or just make one dress with sleeves and one without. Something to think about. I doubt I'd be able to get one done in time, but it's definitely on my list of things to do in the future.