Belated socks

Lacy and lovely.

The birthday socks are done!  They were only a month late.  Gulp!

The birthday girl has her socks and she says she likes them and they fit.  My friend is always enthusiastic about hand made gifts but I think giving wool socks to a girl in Los Angeles is a tad misguided on my part.  Oh well, they’re lacy and have natural air conditioning to suit the LA climate, right?

Ok, the specs on this sock are:

Pattern:  Sarang by Natalia Vasilieva (free!)

Yarn:  Madeline Tosh Sock in sugar plum (not free)

Mods:  I just used my plain vanilla sock recipe and used the Sarang charts with short row heels and toes.  I did add one plain repeat with no pattern at the back heel needles before starting the heel to give the heel more visual symmetry and to make it more comfortable to wear.  I only have one blurry, off-color picture saved of the socks where you can see the heel here.  You were warned about the shoddiness of the photo.  I also made the socks about 7.5″ long and used a regular cable cast on.

If you’re looking for a lacy pattern this one is quite pretty.  The lace pattern is reminiscent of a peacock feather and isn’t hard at all.  Give it a go!

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That’s not a denim skirt

Holes galore!

I’ve been thinking about making a denim skirt.  I just want a plain denim skirt with front pockets, front fly zip, a slight A-line shape and topstitching.  Simples.  You’d think there were scads of patterns around for such a thing.  You’d be wrong.  Horribly wrong.  There is only one such pattern I can find and it’s Butterick #5649.

I went over to Joann’s the other day to pick it up since I’ve already got some denim prewashed and ready to go.  I also picked up a couple of New Look patterns for some basic tops and one pattern has what looks like the perfect pattern for sweatpants.  I’m very particular about sweatpants and I can’t buy what I like.  I can get yoga pants until the cows come home, but regular poly sweatpants that aren’t skin tight, not so easy to find.

Anyhow, the woman at the Joann’s was very engaging (!) and sweetly told me that the pattern will be going on sale on Halloween if I wanted to wait a couple of days and save $12.  Yes, thank you, I will wait.  Instead of making a skirt I ended up buying a remnant of one of the oddest fabrics I’ve seen, that was on this nice lady’s counter.  It’s the essence of polyester and looks like something stocked for Halloween.  There is a sheer black under layer, and the top layer is printed and has holes.  It looks like a rag that you’ve had since the 70s.  The two layers aren’t stitched together but fused together somehow.  I bought the 3/4 yard remnant for $4 and thought I could eke out a very basic top.  I was right!

New Look 6216 may have been purchased for it’s sweat pant pattern, but the first thing I’ve made is top C.  I didn’t make any changes to the pattern other than making it an A-line top.  I think it’s a bit too loose in the body but honestly won’t fix it since it’s a “novelty” top.  I think it will look cute with jeans and a velvet jacket to play up the distressed effect.  This top took about an hour to make, even taking into account that I had to change the serger back to 4 thread use.

I may make it again using up some knit remnants I’ve kept around wondering that to do with.  I might even wear my scary holey top to the corn maze tonight because it seems rather appropriate!

Happy Halloween!

Weird fabric swatch.

The “Haul”

Potential projects.

Back from Rhinebeck!  Claudia and I had a great time at the festival and we ran into so many people.  It is a super festival if you’re thinking about ever going to one.

Above you see my yarn haul.  It’s not much of a “haul” but I’ve come to the conclusion that buying yarn without purpose leads to tears.  I knit many more small projects than sweaters so I’ve ended up with four skeins of sock yarn and one skein of yarn intended for a hat.

For those interested
-Two skeins of Trekking (my personal fave) multi color and turquoise were unearthed in a sale basket.  Yes please!

-The skein that looks purple is really gray multi and is Ellen’s Halfpint Farm merino/silk/nylon sock yarn.

-The front skein is really blue/teal/gray in real life and is Miss Babs Heartland Worsted for a hat.

-The red skein is Cephalopod Skinny Bugga sock yarn merino/cashmere/nylon.

We saw that the two most swamped booths this year were Miss Babs and Cephalopod.  While both have very pretty colors, we couldn’t figure out why those two brands were so very popular.  The yarn bases are nice but not unique so it must be the marketing.  Since I spend little to no time on Ravelry I don’t know what marketing has been employed so successfully.  I did get a skein of each so I will get to experience the yarn first hand.  I’ll report back if I get any insight into why these have generated such herdlike behavior.

This year I also chose a few more subdued sock colors because I wanted to make a few pairs that didn’t make me look crazy pants if I had to take my shoes off in public.

Another favorite activity Claudia and I always try to do is eating at the CIA.  Claudia scooped up a reservation for us and we ate well Saturday.  I had duck breast and Claudia had a perfectly roasted bit of chicken.  Again, if you ever get the chance to eat here or at the CIA in Napa (that’s coming soon!) go for it.

And for those jonesing for a leaf peeping fix, I managed to find and use the panorama function on my iPhone.  Not well, but I did try and you get the idea.  Happy peeping.

The leaves are loveliest in this shot, but clearly I’m not so good with the panorama.

Pre Rhinebeck

Before the 3.5 hour drive.

I know everyone misses Claudia’s long gone knit blog, but you don’t have to miss her today. Here she is (with me) right before we set off on our drive to Rhinebeck. A pleasant enough drive with just a soupcon of traffic. All worth it for the Rhinebeck experience.

Stay tuned for some Rhinebeck photos if I remember to take some.

Dotty

I look surprised to find pockets even though I sewed them there myself.

Well I guess after all that debating about making a pattern, it was just easier to buy it and tape the sucker together.  This is Megan Nielsen’s Kelly Skirt pattern made up in a nice dotty rayon from Stonemountain.  It was just easier to buy the pattern than to draw rectangles on pattern paper and do the business.  The pattern is fine, but note it makes a short skirt unless altered.

What can one say about a basic skirt?  It’s a good pattern, especially if you’re a beginning sewist, and sews up in an afternoon.  That is unless you don’t have six matching black buttons in your button box and have to drive to Joann’s to get some.  The only changes I made to the pattern were to make it longer (about an inch and a half) and to cut the waistband piece in half width-wise.  That wide waistband just looked like a gappy mess on me, but cut in half it lays flat around my curvy self.

I’m not sure this skirt silhouette is better than a simple A-line skirt, but this works well enough in drapey rayon so I’m calling this a win.

Now I’m on VACATION and going to Rhinebeck this weekend with my big ‘ol sister.  Hells to the yeah!

Artisan

Yes, it is as yummy as it looks. It tastes buttery with a super crunchy crust. Heaven!

I made bread.  If you’re thinking “you make bread all the damn time”, you’d be right.  This is “artisan” bread.  I checked Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza out of my library and tried out the “beginner” loaf of white bread today.  It took all day.  Really.  It’s not much actual work but apparently the timings and temperatures are the thing.

The gorgeous bread you see is called “The Saturday White Bread” and is a beginner recipe that the author suggests you try so you can understand the concepts of the book.  The entire time I was making this loaf I was convinced it was a hot mess that wouldn’t amount to more than a pancake.  Lo and behold this baked up to be a pretty loaf of bread.  I used the equipment I had on hand and my oval dutch oven and it all came out well.

My dilemma?  I live in a place where I can walk two blocks to a local grocery and have 10 different artisan bakery loaves from which to choose.  Price?  $4 to 5.  I’ve also got one of the best bread bakeries in the country about one mile from my house, so why bake bread?  Because I like baking bread is the best answer I’ve got.

This Saturday loaf is delish, which is amazing considering it is literally flour, water, salt and yeast.  And oh yeah, TIME.  I guess it’s like sewing and knitting, I can buy what I need much more quickly than I can make it, but there is something satisfying about making it yourself.  All you need is time and will.  That may mean that I start the two day wheat bread tomorrow…TWO DAYS!  You heard me!  It better be amazing.

Why don’t they pay me to stay home and knit?

Every year at work I look forward to the autumn because my schedule goes back to normal and I can take some time off after summer unpleasantness.  This year, there has been no slackening of the frenetic work pace.  I’m still (over)working and suspect this will not ease unless I transfer to another base.  I am considering it, believe you me but a 6 hour plane ride before and after every trip isn’t fabulous.

This is a long explanation as to why I don’t have time to make all the things, or even some of the things, I’d like to make.  This is also why a pair of socks for a friend’s birthday is two weeks late.  ARGH!  This doesn’t stop me from having ideas, whims and fancies.  Maybe if I share I’ll actually remember I had such fancies.

Shibui Knits Peak Hat by Susan Lawrence and I love it!

Shibui Knits Peak Hat by Susan Lawrence and I love it!

On the knitting front I’m working on birthday socks (belated) and a cardigan for me.  The socks are 70% done and the cardigan consists of 3/4 of a sleeve that’s been completely ripped out twice.  Why would I be looking at knitting patterns on ravelry with projects in progress.  Clearly I’m ambitious, or just deluded.  Whatevs.  I really like Susan Lawrence’s pattern Peak Hat.  It’s cute, clever and very wearable.  It’s two strands of fingering held together which is about sport weight, isn’t it?  I’d love the Shibui Pebble yarn but that would be a bit more dosh than I’d spend on a hat.

My plan is to finish the BELATED birthday socks and then run to the yarn shop to find a bit of yummy to make this hat with.  Look!  A little charted moutain section and a handle at the top!  I promise not to download the pattern until the socks are done.  I promise not to download the pattern until the socks are done. I promise not to download the pattern until the socks are done.

Kelly Skirt by Megan Nielsen

Kelly Skirt by Megan Nielsen

Sewingwise, I’d love to make a skirt from some dotted rayon that I bought for something else and changed my mind on (what’s new there?)  The skirt I want to make is this one.  It’s Megan Nielsen’s Kelly Skirt and it’s super cute.  So what’s the hold up?  The skirt pattern is only available as a pdf which means printing, cutting, taping and ideally tracing off.  I just hate doing all that.  I really try to avoid pdf patterns and let’s face it – I could draft this pattern myself.  I have a degree in this after all.  It just takes forever.  That doesn’t mean I’m not going to g**gle around to try to find a copy of the paper pattern.  Or maybe I’ll get off my arse and draft a skirt along these lines and see what happens.

Okay, back to browsing a bread baking book from the library.  Wait, that’s not on the to do list?!  Umm, just look away people.