Saturday, January 26, 2008

Too busy to be productive

We definitely hit the ground running as of the new year. My husband is in the middle of a three-week, multi-million dollar trial (BTW, we're both lawyers), which means that the boys and I get to see much less of him. Of course, it's not always like this, and it won't last forever. Work has also been unbelievably busy for me and has been for the past three or four months. In the midst of all this, everyone got sick, the baby worst of all, poor boy.

Despite all of the above, I have managed to finish two projects to start the year. Of course, both projects are hats, but I'm still rather pleased with saying I have to FOs. I finished the Skull Isle hat for my husband -- he wears it all the time. It gives him a little bit of an edge.

The other hat is a lilac colored tweed beret. The pattern is from Jo Sharp's Knit, Issue 3. I had made one for my sister for Christmas and liked it so much, I made one for myself. Plus I had almost one full skein of yarn left, and only needed to buy one more. The yarn is lovely to work with, works up quickly and has a very soft feel but definitely tweedy appearance. The odd thing is for some reason, the one I made for my sister looks much better than the one I made for myself. Something went weird with the decreases at the crown of hat, which also threw off the finishing. With my sister's, I was so happy with how the finished seam (the hat is knit on straight needles with one seam at the back) appeared to be almost invisible -- you had to look really hard to find it.

Yarn details are as follows: Jo Sharp's Silkroad Aran Tweed, 85% wool, 10% silk, 5% cashmere; 95 m (104 yds)/50 g (1 3/4 oz); tension 18 sts & 24 rows over 10 cm (4") st st using 5.00 mm (US 6) needles.

I have two projects on needles currently -- this despite my early resolution to only have one project going at a time. The first is a hat, Shedir from Knitty's special PDF breast cancer awareness issue from 2004. I saw so many posts about this hat on other blogs, I just had to make one too. I picked out a chocolate brown color in Rowan's Calmer. I'm about half-way through.

The second project I just started yesterday. It is a fitted cardigan, also from Jo Sharp's Knit, Issue 3. I picked out a dusky blue color, kinda by default. My LYS (Yarn Garden in Portland, OR) didn't really have enough of any one color I liked. There was a steely gray color that I loved, but the store only had three skeins. Bummer. I also purchased two skeins of Silkroad Aran for a hat, color burgandy.

Other yarn purchases since my last entry, for my birthday (12/29), I treated myself to a day off work to go yarn and fabric stores that I otherwise would not have the time to frequent. I went to Close Knit in Portland's Alberta Arts District. The store is small but just crammed full of yarn and books. In addition to the skein of Calmer in brown for the Shedir pattern, I picked up a skein of Colinette's Jitterbug -- I can never resist a new sock yarn.

I also went next door to Bolt, a fabric store that specializes mostly in cotton print fabrics. I picked up some from designer Joel Dewberry for Westminster Fibers -- I had intended to make Amy Butler's swing bag and bought the pattern at the same time. Since then, I used part of the fabric to make a stuffed cat for my pre-schooler. It helped him sleep by himself for about one week, until he got tired of it and started throwing "Kitty Cat Stripe" out of his bedroom at bedtime and requesting I stay instead.

This brings me to my last point. I've rediscovered the joys of sewing. I actually sewed before I knitted. But sewing involves a lot more equipment set-up and is much less portable than knitting. My wonderful husband bought me a Bernina serger for Christmas (UNBELIEVABLE) so now I have my little sewing corner set up in our basement playroom/computer room.

My current sewing project is Amy Butler's Sophia bag. It's an adorable shape. I'm about one-third of the way done. The exterior is completed, but I still have to put together the lining and attach it. I am actually quite proud of how it is turning out. Most of the sewing is using a sewing machine zipper foot because of the piping, which can be difficult. I had read from Joelle Halverson's "Last-Minuted Quilted Gifts" about this attachment called a walking foot. I picked one up at the huge Fabric Depot in SE Portland. It's the greatest sewing invention ever. It's meant to sew through several layers of thick fabric, so it sort of scootches all the fabric through without causing any of the layers to stretch or pucker too much. I love it.

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