Market Dress!

Market Dress!

market dress-15

I have a new dress pattern! It’s called Market Dress and I’m so happy with the result. It’s available for a limited time for 25% off on my Ravelry page. Just use the code HAPPYSUMMER in your cart to apply the discount. This pattern uses Dishie by KnitPicks, a very hardwearing worsted weight cotton yarn with high twist, perfect for children’s garments. Right now it’s on sale and even the largest size (6yr) can be made for $12 in yarn costs. The pattern includes sizes for ages 3 months through age 6.

market dress-11

We visit the farmer’s market in our town almost every Saturday morning. It’s a family ritual that I look forward to every weekend, and I often bound out of bed and demand everyone get ready so we can go before the heat becomes intolerable. We get delicious produce, flowers, and sometimes Zooey talks us into muffin and popsicle purchases if she’s being especially persuasive. We listen to local musicians, wander through the beautiful garden on the town square, and inevitably run into many of our friends. What’s not to love? The love of being at the farmer’s market was the inspiration for this dress. I wanted the girls to have something they could wear in hot summer months that could withstand serious play. market dress-19I’m also thrilled to have made a dress that Zooey asks to wear. She was eagerly awaiting the day I let her wear it, since I finished her dress first. I made her wait until I had Charlotte’s done too and could take pictures of them both in the dresses. We were up and at the market shortly after 7am on this day and the light was perfect. market dress-21This dress is knit in once piece from the bottom up and has a chevron detail to add some extra fun. It’s appropriate for the adventurous beginner and beyond, requiring just a little knowledge of shaping. market dress-13Though I didn’t get a picture of this, the 12 month size is actually big enough that Zooey can wear it as a tank top, so I feel confident that these pieces will be with the girls for some time. In the fall and winter they would be lovely layered over some leggings and a long-sleeved top. market dress-9 Zooey could not stop twirling in her dress. I love it. I’m so happy to make clothes that excite my kiddos.

Go check out the pattern page or .

 

Fending off the yarn thief

yarn thief-2

I have a potential yarn thief at my house. She looks innocent enough, but if she has access to a pair of scissors, watch out. Yesterday, while I was taking a knitting break, Zooey walked up to me and said she wanted mittens out of the yarn I was using. I said I was making socks, but there would likely be leftovers to use in some mittens. She said that she wanted me to stop knitting the socks right now and she said she was going to cut the yarn! What a little punk. I think in trying to get her excited about wearing knits after she went through a period of resistance I might have accidentally communicated that anything was possible. To her that must also mean co-opting the yarn from any current project. No way, girlfriend.
regia socks

After wrenching the scissors from her hand and convincing her I would save the spare yarn for mittens, she gave up. So, what is this fabulous yarn? More Regia. This one is in the Garden Effects Design Line and the color is 3309 Gold. At first when I started the toes I wasn’t in love with the colors, but by the time I was halfway up the foot I was deeply and passionately convinced that I’d be keeping these for myself. Sometimes it’s really hard not to be a selfish knitter! I try. I even tell myself that I have too many sweaters and pairs of socks that don’t get worn regularly and I should pass them on, but is anyone ever going to be as in love with them as I am? I only want to give items away if they’re going to be slightly worshipped. I don’t necessarily have to see them being worn constantly, but a little hint about how much they’re loved from time to time would be good. Matt is fantastic at this. Zooey seems pretty good at it too lately. I guess I have trained both of them to stroke my ego enough to keep producing them more items.

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Socks never go out of style

matt socksSocks never go out of fashion because winter is inevitable, and unlike items made for expandable body parts, socks will usually always fit. Despite their unfailing utility, socks are also often a background project for me, taking the main stage when I’m tired of thinking, or I need something to keep me company on a walk, in the movie theater, or during a meeting when I need to keep my hands busy to focus. As soon as I finish one pair I cast another on almost immediately. Socks are the unsung heroes of the knitting world.

matt socks-3These are simple stockinette for the foot, made from the toe-up and using a heel flap that goes across the bottom of the heel and wraps around the back of the heel, as shown in the top picture. I finished with 1×1 ribbing for the cuff. If you’re looking for a pattern that incorporates this kind of sock heel, see my Girl with the Purled Toes or read more about it in my tutorialmatt socks-2The yarn was sent to me from Germany by Carina, so it feels like an extra special pair of socks. It’s Schachenmayr Regia Strata Color in the colorway Kiwi. Frequent readers know that I’m a bit Regia obsessed. The yarn has a 10 year guarantee on the label. That’s very appealing when socks are an item that have a finite life span. I have Regia socks I’ve been wearing since 2006, so I think their guarantee is pretty legit. I especially try to make Matt socks in durable yarn since he has fewer pairs than me (higher rotation in the wearing) and he’s pretty hard on his socks. Sometimes I feel I should make him more pairs, but I’m so in love with my sock stash it’s very hard to part with socks for others. I try to buy some sock yarn specifically for him to help myself be more generous when knitting socks, but it’s very rare that I don’t fall head over heels for a project intended for someone else.

I’m very excited to say that I have a new pattern coming soon! I am finalizing the photo edits and pattern organization. I was without my computer for most of July, so the process has been slower than anticipated, but I can’t wait to share the results. Stay tuned for more.

Summer sunshine

Lately we’ve alternated between bright and humid sunny days and thunderstorms. This color, Saffron, in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, brings the sunshine regardless of the weather outside.

After messing up my Damask shawl in this color and reordering the color I decided I would rather have a top than another shawl. I decided to make another Whispers top. I made one before in the smallest size. I made that size due to the limited amount of yarn I had in my gradient kit at the time, but this time I decided to make the 37″ size to have a loose and flowing top as the pattern was written.

I keep getting distracted by my walking socks, and blanket squares too, but I’d like to finish up this top in the next couple of weeks in time for the beginning of the school year and back to working full time.

A bit of lace

talavera-4I’m so pleased to be finished with this project, and I got it to come out just the way I wanted. While Talavera was beautiful just as it was written, I made a few modifications to suit my needs. I love the original neckline, but I wanted it to be more open for summer wear. I also wanted a bit more of a sleeve and some extra body length. The yarn is Louet Gems Fingering in Teal and I used barely over 3 hanks of it. talavera-2This pattern is well written and the lace is very enjoyable to knit. The repeat becomes natural after a few times. It wasn’t something I didn’t have to look at well enough to read, but it did become rhythmic and natural, and had rest rows (a solid knit or purl row) between the active rows.

It took me awhile to decide on the neckline. I hemmed and hawed and eventually decided that I would replicate the neckline from Waterlily since that worked well with lace. I began the neckline decreases after the third repeat of the lace pattern on the sleeve. I think a slightly deeper neckline would have also suited me. I could have started the neck after the second repeat as well, but I like the way it turned out nonetheless.

talaveraI wanted the sleeves to be a bit wider, so instead of following instructions for sleeve increases, I decided to just cast on enough extra stitches for an extra lace repeat when it was time to add sleeve stitches. My sleeves ended up with 33 stitches across after I followed the neck decreases. I really like the way this part came out.

As for length, I did 13 repeats of the lace pattern before dividing for front and back. After blocking (oh, magical blocking!) this came out to be a 15.5″ length. I think even one repeat longer would have been fine, but this is a nice length to work with a variety of clothing items. talavera-3Best of all, for this photo shoot, Zooey was a fantastic helper. She was a stand in when I needed to focus the shot, and she worked the remote for me for most of the time so I could avoid the remote in hand pictures I often end up with when I take photos alone.

I’m thrilled to have this piece finished! I’ve already cast on a new top for myself, and I’ll post more about that soon!

Excuse the wrinkles

This top has been finished and blocked for some time now, but it’s been hard to find the time to get some photographs. It’s been a hectic week with a sick and cranky 1 yr old. These could be better, but I’m trying to let go of perfectionistic tendencies, so here’s today’s result. notched hemI made a few modifications to the Notched Hem Top pattern. I made the back about an inch and a half longer than the front. There is plenty of sloping after the back short rows, so I don’t know if I would repeat that action if I make another. I also started with the 40″ size at the bottom and reduced to the 37″ size by adding in extra decreases. notched hem-2The yarn is Juniper Moon Farm in Zooey. The color is Sloop. This is a wonderfully soft yarn. notched hem-4I made the neckline deeper and wider than the pattern specified. I didn’t take notes. I just winged it as I went along, and I like how it turned out. I wanted a bit more open neck to keep things cooler since this is such a long piece. notched hem-3One side of the front and of the back is looser. I think this is due to the nature of the slipped stitch on the knit sides vs. the purl sides. If I could do it over I would use an edge stitch that makes both sides a bit firmer for consistency. It doesn’t really bother me, but it’s a detail I’d pay attention to next time.

Now I will wear the heck out of it! I’ve finally decided how I will do the neckline of Talavera, so that’s getting some much needed love. I also needed another Whispers and deemed it the perfect project for the Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Saffron, so that will be in the works soon as well!

Steady on

I know this is a knitting blog, and I almost never get political, but it feels like I couldn’t write a post in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando without saying something. There are families shattered by unspeakable horror due to ridiculous gun violence right now. There is no reason one human being needs an assault weapon that can end the lives of 50 others in minutes. It’s 2016. We as human beings can come up with a better way to live that doesn’t involve guns being readily accessible. I have hope that we can come to grips with this as a society and better ourselves, but that doesn’t take away the present pain of the friends and families of those that were slaughtered. My thoughts and prayers for peace are with them. Please send them thoughts of peace and love if you feel so inclined. No one should have to face such horror and my heart goes out to you, Orlando. notchedThe Notched Hem Tank is still living on my needles. It feels like I’m making very little progress on any one project because I keep jumping around from project to project with little concentrated focus on only one. I’m working on a baby/kid design that’s been taking a good deal of mental energy and revising to get just what I want. For that project I designed then knit an entire piece then decided it needed to be a bit different. So I started from scratch. And then ripped. And then ripped again. So this Notched Hem is lucky it’s gotten attention at all, but I really want to wear it, so I’m hoping to finish it up this week. I’m on the upper back and will likely make some slight revisions to the front, starting the neckline at a lower point to keep this a cooler summer item.

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