Ironing Board Cover Love

My mother commissioned me to make her a pillow to give to her sister for her birthday. Easy enough! Although my cable and pattern scaling abilities are a little on the novice side. Blocking was definitely needed for this one.

Can we talk about the pattern on my ironing board in the above picture? Let's just say that not only do I love using my ironing board and don't mind leaving it out to store (not that there's anywhere to store it in this apartment), but I use it for everything. Especially wet blocking. I needed an ironing board cover replacement and everything commercial was so boring and commodified. But I finally found and purchased it at City Chick Country Mouse. They have a fun selection. I hope I don't sound like a 1950's housewife.

Anyway, I really enjoy this cable pattern. It's just so interesting and textured. I modified it from a coffee cozy pattern of all things, although I can't find the original link.

Where's yours?

A lot of people, now that they know I've opened this little business, ask me when they see me, "Why aren't you wearing anything you've made?"


I've been quite busy making Christmas presents, and frankly have sold most of my stuff (this was not an attempt at gloating) but I figured I should probably put something together to show off in person. Okay. I'll squeeze that in, along with the rest of my tasks....

So here it is. A new scarf. Based on this one, but scaled in both directions and I changed the pattern a little. Solely for me. Consider it an early present to myself.

100% alpaca with ombré over-dye

Yarn Co...

Often I buy fiber off the internet thinking it's one thing, just to get it in the mail and find out it feels totally different than what it is. Such is the life of buying tactile things in a not so tactile way. So I've started to scour the NYC area for various yarn stores. It's really hard to find spools for weaving, but there are lots of sources for knitting. 
Recently I went to The Yarn Company, the boon being that they are close to my apartment and also sell high quality yarns. I found this really great 100% merino wool. So soft, naturally dyed, knits up quickly. 

Perfect for last minute Christmas gifts!

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

I've been perusing the free knitting patterns on lately to find different and unique patterns mostly to use for practice, practice, practice. When I first started to knit cables, I stumbled upon the pattern for this lovely cowl. (I got the free pattern here.) It's simple enough, and a good way to practice larger cables which I don't have enough experience. With enough practice, I will surely get rid of those uneven gaping holes near the cable and loosen up my stitching. (Why does it get so tight on the cable row??)

 And of course I had to ombré the crap out of it. It's ridiculous, I know, but I couldn't help it and it looks so good!!!

p.s. If you're a knitter and can give some tips on how to reduce the size of the hole near the cable or make them even, drop me a comment or email! Thanks!

But it was on sale!

I did a little more yarn shopping last month. Probably didn't need to add to the already large fiber shelf, but I couldn't help it. It was on sale. 
Oh, those words! How many times I have uttered them out loud? None. 'Why is that?' you may be asking yourself. Because I give so much hell to my mother for it. Don't get me wrong, she is amazing at finding a deal - and usually it's for things she actually needs and uses. And she by no means needs to be added to the ranks of those crazy coupon clipper people on that TV show. Although there was this one time when I came home for Thanksgiving to find 10 boxes of her favorite chai tea in the pantry. When questioned why there were so many boxes and how she could possibly use them by the time they would go stale, she responded sheepishly, "It was buy one, get 9 free. We use the stuff all the time. Would you like a box? Or three?" ending with a hearty chuckle. Needless to say, my brothers and I went home with a few boxes of chai that holiday season.
Of course, I see myself perhaps acquiring that trait and well, I'm dealing with it one step at a time. 
But really, I found this incredibly soft bulky yarn for super cheap made out of wool and alpaca and I couldn't pass it up. (I just typed that sheepishly, by the way, with my shoulders up to my ears and my head cocked to the side.)
And hey! I'm using them. No sitting on the shelf for long for these little guys. I decided to take three balls and prepare them for a little dyeing....
A good soak with a little scour...
Preparing the acid dye baths...
My goal hear was to get 3 different shades of one custom mixed color. But I couldn't figure out how to replicate the color, especially with such small yarn quantities. Normally I would just measure out the dye on my scale if I was replicating. Unfortunately, my mini scale doesn't measure past a tenth of a gram. So my solution? Use two cups of water to mix up the darkest color, then parse out fractions of that to each dye bath. And I would say it worked fairly well!  You'll see my knitting end products soon...

Ombré on, hombre....

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Yes, I love to cook. Creating elaborate meals for my loved ones is one of my favorite past times. But my first passion is dyeing. Oh, goodness how much I love it! It can be a bit of a pain with getting out all the special pots and pans and laying down pieces of plastic tarp all over the countertops and floors (not sure our landlords would appreciate random splotches of red, yellow and blue all over the place.) But when I do it, I am in my element even when it might not turn out right.

Recently, I decided to fix some of my blah looking knits. I've been on this crazy knitting streak with some less than fancy yarn. So I've decided to ombré up a storm, hombre.

I love the irregular gradations - not a huge fan of the perfect ombré. Isn't it great? I'll have more pictures up soon...

Mistakes in yarn buying...?

There are times when I look at the yarn I have bought and I end up scratching my head wondering if I chose it in a past life. Most of the time I buy with good intention; I'll actually have a project in mind, a certain weave pattern, a color scheme perhaps. But there are times when I look at it and say - often out loud, "What was I thinking about doing with that?" Honestly, I can't remember. In this case it was a cone of wool in a "mushroom" color that must have looked better under the lights of my favorite yarn store. I know it was meant for some sort of weaving project, but lord help me, I can't remember.

 Anyway, since I've been on this random knitting kick, I decided to use it as my "practice" yarn. I made an infinity scarf using a honeycomb pattern.

Not to shabby, right?

And then I just kept knitting. I made two more - one of roughly the same size and another that was twice the size. But there was still something off, which of course goes back to the color. It's just blah... so I gave it a boost! Stay tuned to find out how...

How - To Book Obsession (Part 1)

So I recently taught myself to knit. Or more like I reminded myself. My mother was amazing at teaching us how to do creative things, especially if we asked, because it meant more alone time for her. Four kids is something I'd want to escape from too if I had them, and she liked to steal away to read in her fireside chair whenever she could. Thus, I learned how to sew at age 6, crochet by 8 and knit by the time I was 10 or so. Looking back on it, she really knew how to do everything. A jack of all trades, that woman.

Except she never taught me how to bind off. I think she just forgot to teach me how to bind off, and I was too young to know any better and never asked. And it's quite possible she just figured I'd never finish anything since at that age I was picking up and discarding hobbies like a fat man at an all you can eat shell fish buffet; picking up a hobby enough to figure out and remember the basics, but not really wanting to enjoy the whole of it. So here I was knitting long thin scarves and belts, taking them off the needles before binding off and wondering "why the heck do they unravel??" Oh, little one. I think back to it and just laugh.

Anyway, I re-taught , or rather taught, myself with this book. The cover of the book really turned me off, but the inside truly is amazingly well thought out and simple, and well, visual. I'm a big fan of reading a book to find out how to do something. When I was in high school, I would go to the Ann Arbor public library and check out how to books - on how to play tennis (my boyfriend doesn't believe my amazing backhand came from a book), how to paint with water colors, how to create science experiments at home, how to make a terrarium, the list goes on - from which my addiction and fascination with how-to books was born.

My current (re-discovered) how-to book? Check it out here!