Showing posts with label cardigan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cardigan. Show all posts

September 18, 2016

Itching for Fall

All around me, people are itching for Fall to begin, in more ways than one. (Heat rash, anyone?!)

This summer has been a crazy hot one... and although I'm usually a little sad to be packing up swimsuits, the reality is that this summer was almost too hot to even go to the pool, so I find myself yearning for cool days constantly. The Peanut and I stayed inside more often than not, and we spent a lot of time at indoor play areas (those outdoor playgrounds get insanely HOT. I still don't know why more playgrounds aren't built in the shade.) 

I can remember walking past mall play areas thinking that even if I had kids, I probably wouldn't ever take them to such a loud crazy place. 

And yet, at least once I week, I find myself smiling as the Peanut clamors to get to the steps and slide, running around like he has a firecracker in his pants. 

I've eaten a lot of my words about motherhood in these past two years. I swore I'd never become a mommy blogger and yet you can read my first official mom blog post over here, where I air my confessions. I will be blogging regularly at Chattanooga City Moms Blog for at least the next six months, so be sure to subscribe to their posts if you don't want to miss out! There are quite a few of us contributors on the site, so it's been neat to read different local mom perspectives. Plus, it will give me a chance to be a mommy voice in the community, without turning Typing Sunflowers into the latest mom blog. 

Besides chaos, I'm still making stuff. Like these adorable vertebrae sweaters for ALL OF THE BABIES friends are having. (Seriously ya'll... is it something in the water?!)

I'm also still breaking stuff. Walter, my dear companion and iMac of the past six years, refuses to show me anything on his screen, and it's a costly repair. I'm pretty sure we're going to have to simply bury him somehow in the recycling bin. Until I can get Walter's second brain (aka, my backup hard drive) picked apart, I don't have many other photos to prove any other craftiness to you at the moment, but I can assure you, I've made more of those cardigans than I can count this summer.   

We are now mere days away from the official start of Fall. It's finally raining outside, there is a slight chill in the air, the Sailor is home watching British football (soccer) and the Peanut is sleeping soundly. I can feel the seasons changing. And that's always a good thing.

March 6, 2015

Pictures are worth 1,000 words...

I kind of liked my photo recap the other week and I decided that since I seem to be blogging less, I should post lots of photos more often. One photo after all, is worth 1,000 words. So it makes sense that a few photos should make up for a lack of blogging on my part, right?

So here's what I've been up to: 

I've been waiting for Spring, and the sunshine finally started streaming through the windows a little more this week. 

The Peanut took his first flight across America a few weeks ago! 

He did great. His mama was pretty exhausted, though.

I started to crochet a blanket, using this pattern.  
(I also wrote about the blanket with the same pattern here.)

I made it into my local yarn store to pick up some buttons for this cardigan.

This gorgeous pile of yarn came home with me from Idaho. (Every time I visit this store, I break my promise to only use my stash and I make a yarn haul.)

These awesome scissors also made it into my bag. Cutting yarn is now even more delightful.

I am very much looking forward to the return of the Sailor in a few weeks. The Peanut is also missing him.

I'm a little excited to be using this cool vintage yarn holder I found at an antique shop a few weeks ago.

The Peanut has gone mobile. My little guy crawls all over the place and is now pulling himself up onto everything he can grab. 

And finally, this happened tonight... thanks to the aforementioned mobility of the Peanut. The little guy is into everything.

Welcome to my somewhat chaotic world nowadays! 

February 15, 2015

Baby, It's COLD Outside

We moved south for several reasons: one of which was to escape the gloom and frigid temps of the north. Imagine my surprise when I saw the single digits and snowstorm predicted for this week. 

I've said before that I once interviewed a 102-year-old British lady (she went on to live to be 104) and she used to say she didn't mind the weather, as long as she was dressed for it. 

I tend to agree, but I'm still looking forward to warmer temps. In the meantime, I've been using up the leftover yarn from my own warm cardigan

(Have no fear, Peanut. Mama is frantically trying to finish another sweater for you before you outgrow it.)

Pattern is from Love Knitting for Baby February/March 2014. There's no photo, but it's a basic baby cardi with ribbing. This one, Little Coffee Bean, is very similar, only with stripes. You can see mine here.

Stay warm everyone and if you're snowbound, I hope you've stocked up on yarn!

January 23, 2015

Matching Cardigans (well, almost)

Last week during our little getaway, I feverishly worked on a cardigan for the Peanut. I tend to get a little car sick when knitting, but since I hardly get any knitting in these days, and I knew this was my chance, I kept telling myself it was all in my head and I persevered. (And thankfully didn't feel sick!

I had one gray skein and a bit leftover from my own cardigan I started around this time last year, when I was pregnant. The Peanut never got to wear his Newborn Vertebrae sweater (August babies don't really need cozy cardies...) but lately he's been wearing his Ouma's white sweater nearly ever day to ward off the chill. 

And I know he's going to quickly outgrow that thing. 

So I'm making him a new gray cardigan. It will almost match mine, but not quite.

I'm thinking of keeping it in the car so that the next time we drive two miles up the road, I can get a few rows done. 

Oh and that granny square blanket? My own grandma made that many, many moons ago. I found it in my box of treasures this week and I decided it was useless sitting there under cover. Treasures should be used and loved — especially granny square crochet blankets. Not many kids can say that have something handmade from their great grandma, can they?

September 1, 2014

Growing Into the Knits

Dear readers, I don't know what happened to August, but all I know is I have a rapidly growing one-month-old babe who will fit into this little cotton cardi before I know it. 

I think I'm officially in denial. 

One month already?! 

Despite August whizzing by in a blur, I managed to quickly pop into the local yarn store last week and I found these great buttons. I held off on putting the buttons on this cardigan I made in July, until I knew whether the Peanut was a boy or girl. I don't often see black on baby clothes, but I think these wooden buttons are the perfect accent for a little boy's cardigan. (And, remember to save that extra yarn in every project -- even if it's not much. In this case, I used a bit of leftover yarn to sew on the buttons!)

Changing the calendar to September always makes me think of Fall, of going back to school and of cooler weather sweaters. Although students here have been in school for weeks already, and the temperatures outside are still hotter than blazes, I know Autumn is right around the corner. 

Even though I'm sad to see summer go in a few short weeks, I'm glad my little guy has some fun handmade knits to get him through the changing seasons. And let's face it, they're far faster and more fun to make than the adult-sized versions!

Happy September, everyone! 

July 20, 2014

Weekend Knitting

What's a weekend without a little knitting? 

The Sailor and I are enjoying the quiet time at home before the arrival of the Peanut (every once in a while we say things like 'Do you hear that? That's the sound of silence...' usually right before one of us erupts into laughter.

I bought this green Berroco yarn at the Local Yarn Store's annual sale and I decided to make this hooded jacket for the Peanut. (I also made this cute cardigan with yarn acquired from the same sale.) The Peanut will be warm in all seasons.

There's definitely something sublime and fulfilling about knitting small things for a baby -- it's so easy to finish a mini-sweater in mere days! Or... maybe even over a weekend.

July 7, 2014

Newborn and Mama Vertebrae

What's nicer than a little cardigan (that actually fits in with the current state of my belly...) to ward off the chill?

A wee matching one for a newborn. 

 Cuteness overload.

My local yarn store just had their big annual sale... resistance proved futile. I managed to only buy a few skeins of yarn -- one of them being a German sock yarn for this little newborn vertebrae. The newborn pattern is free, although the baby version is not. I'm thinking that I will need to invest in the baby version though... this thing was so fast to make and I'm sure the Peanut will outgrow it about the same time he or she finds these baby jeans too tight. 

(Yarn: Regia Angora Merino / 50 grams / roughly 200 meters and I had plenty leftover.) 

My cardigan is the Mama Vertebrae pattern found here. I mentioned that I was making it here way back in March, but never showed you the final project. While summer is in full throttle at the moment and I have no use for a cardigan at the moment, I know I will wear this all the time as soon as chillier weather rolls in. And let's be honest here.... I want to make one in my size in the same luxurious angora merino blend as the Peanut's! 

May 14, 2014

Feeling Green

I've been continuing my spring cleaning clear-out. I'm finding lots of things that we took with us that we don't need. I'm also finding things that I've accumulated or even made since we moved here that I don't use or wear.

This weekend, I found this gorgeous cardigan that I made last summer, right after we moved. It felt like a great transitional weather cardigan and the yarn was divine to knit.  

I've worn it ONCE. 

Not because it's ugly... but because it just hangs weird on me. I should know better than to make a 100% cardi... I didn't really like this one on me either.

I tried the green one on over the weekend and it still didn't look right. I do realize that I'm currently sporting an extra 20 pounds around my belly, but this thing never looked right on me. (While I'm not built like a super model, in my non-expectant state I'm pretty proportional! I can assure you that I measured myself properly... and I made the right size and got the right gauge.)  

Nevertheless, the buttons didn't close properly and it just had too much drape. However, it was the perfect amount of drape for a shawl

So I decided to frog* the thing and make something new out of it. 

It's not the first time I've ripped out an entire sweater

I fear it may not be the last, either. 

Am I crazy? 

Perhaps. In fact, in the evening it took me to rip the thing apart, I felt a little sick -- green, actually. I had such high hopes for this cardi. But then I felt liberated. What's the point of having a cardigan if you don't even like it enough to wear it?!

So now, I'm super excited about actually making and then wearing a shawl with this yarn.

But I still may be a little crazy.

* Frogging is the term for ripping out knitting or crocheting. If you listen carefully while you rip, it sounds a little like frogs. Considering this yarn is green, the term proved highly appropriate.

November 6, 2013

Seed Stitch

Lately I've been a little obsessed with knitting seed stitch (and stripes -- can you tell?!)

I realized a few months ago while showing off a few of my hand knits to a friend, that I tend to stick with good old garter stitch and stocking stitch. I've also thrown cables in the mix, like with the Central Park Hoodie. But beyond the occasional ribbing for a sock cuff, I haven't really done too much knitting and purling in the same row.

I love the look of simple garter and stocking stitch and of course cables... but I decided I needed to start venturing into more textured items.  

Seed stitch proved a perfect start.

I started off by making my friend (the one who received the Sheep for her baby shower), a cute cardigan for her wee lamb. I thought the cardigan reminded me a little of the sheep in any case. 

The pattern is from the august edition of British magazine Craftseller.  

I also have a slight magazine obsession. It started when I was a teenager and it's never really slowed down. Besides Artful Blogging, I regularly scour the newsstands looking for all kinds of other magazines. A trip overseas? Don't even get me started. The Sailor is even in on the game. He recently brought home a three-month-old issue of FairLady (my favorite South African magazine) that had to travel through West African waters and then Paris before it finally made it to me.

I do on occasion have to restrain myself. But lately I've been splurging on Craftseller.  

For the cardigan, it only seemed right that I used a British ball of yarn I procured in England several years ago. I carefully calculated the yardage and set off making my cute cream cardi. 

Imagine my surprise when I ran out of yarn at the back of the hood -- I ended up using a bit of brown from my stash (you can kind of see the weird brown splotch at the back of the hood) and then I crocheted trim on the bottom and the cuffs and along the rest of the hood, to try to balance the whole thing out.

Despite my poor math calculations -- I still found the seed stitch super easy. 

However, like all kinds of British versus American terms, seed stitch* is actually referred to as moss stitch in the UK. (American Moss Stitch is something different -- of course.) 

Now that the shawl is finally complete, I'm whipping up a little autumn inspired something... in seed stitch, naturally.

* American Seed stitch or British Moss Stitch: Knit 1, Purl 1 on an even number of stitches on the first row, then Purl 1, Knit 1 on the next row. Repeat these two rows to form seed stitch. There is also an American Moss Stitch, but let's worry about that later, shall we?

September 2, 2013

Goodbye Green?

I'm a little confused about the seasonal change. Stores are already pushing harvest themes, but the temperatures were in the 80s today. I'm not sure when Labor Day became the official start of Fall in America, but I'm sticking with what my calendar says: September 22nd is actually when the autumnal equinox is due to happen. In the meantime, I'm going to keep wearing shorts.

In anticipation of slightly cooler weather though, I decided to start knitting a cotton cardi a few weeks ago. This one in fact. And this weekend, I nearly finished it. Remember this gorgeous green goodness? It's just as beautiful to knit with -- seriously. It's Pima Clasico 100% cotton in 'kiwi' and it feels like butter. I managed to get the lot for half price at my local yarn store. (Resistance was futile.)

This is the first seamless sweater I've ever made. While I usually don't mind seaming up pieces of a sweater (I learned to sew long before I learned to knit!) I did find it a joy to realize that once I finished the sleeves, all I'd have to do is weave in the ends, block it and put a few buttons down the front.

The only downside to seamless knitting is that you can't do the sleeves two-at-a-time to ensure that they are the exact same size, especially if the pattern says to knit to a certain length. This time, I just kept track of my number of rows and made sure I repeated the process exactly on the second sleeve.

I'm happy to report that with all of the actual knitting done at this point, and besides having to rip out a few rows because I forgot a buttonhole, there were no major catastrophes (unlike that last blue cardigan...)

I was also pretty excited to use these lovely double pointed knitting needles. I have a ton of vintage needles that I've acquired cheaply and en masse (so many that I use them for photo projects, like this one) but these are some of my absolute favorite. 

I found them at the 'I Knit Weekender' event in London several years ago. (You can view their London-based shop here.) I happen to be in town the same week that the convention was happening and I found myself staring at rows and rows of yarn, books and needles. These tortoise shell resin double-pointed needles came home with me at a bargain.  

I hope everyone had a lovely Labor Day! I certainly did, although I'm not quite ready for summer to end just yet -- I love green. I suppose I'll have the cardigan to help me with the transition, in any case.

August 9, 2013

Green Goodness

I have been off the grid for most of the week with a bad cold. Thankfully, the Sailor was still around to bring me chicken soup and hot tea. I feel a little spoiled sometimes because I get to have him around for two months at a time. (Nevertheless, summertime sickness stinks!)

I didn't even have the energy to knit anything (!) this week. I'm feeling much better though, so I'm eyeballing this delicious green cotton yarn and planning on sitting on the porch and starting a cardigan over the weekend. 

 What are your weekend plans?

March 10, 2013

Two-at-a-Time Sleeves

While creating the blue cardigan the first time, I worked on the sleeves and made them both at the same time. 

The first time I heard of this technique, I thought 'Huh? How can you make two sleeves at once?' 

But after making my first-ever sweater and forgetting how many rows I did from the first sleeve to the second sleeve, I vowed to make both sleeves at a time from there on out. That way, if they were the wrong length, at least they would both be the wrong length. 

Besides, when you make a sweater, sometimes you end up with second sleeve syndrome (similar to 'second sock syndrome', whereby you are too fed up to make the second sock by the time you finish the first one.) 

With this technique, you simply cast on for the first sleeve with one ball of yarn. Then you cast on for the second sleeve with the second ball of yarn. You have to be careful about getting the two balls of yarn tangled together, but I found that if you keep each ball in separate little bags on either side of you, they won't bunch so easily. 

I've also heard that if you are the type of person to get bored with your sweater by the time you get to the sleeves, then you should simply knit the sleeves first. I can attest to this technique, since I had to start everything in my cardigan over again, except the sleeves. Although, if you are also the type of person to skimp on buying extra yarn, you may run out of yarn on the body of the sweater with that method (far better to have shorter sleeves rather than a shorter sweater, right??)

March 6, 2013

The Great Cardigan Remake - Done

In the midst of everything that happened last week after we got home from our trip, I realized that I never updated you all on the status of the great cardi remake. 

I found these fabulous buttons at a hobby shop and I finally sewed the sleeves on, and put all of the finishing touches on the cardigan. 

I must confess that I was relieved to finish it... but I wasn't super thrilled with it at the end. Maybe it was just too hot in South Africa, or I didn't have the right shirt with me to wear with it.

Now that it's unpacked and I'm cold again, I'm looking for more occasions to wear it.

February 17, 2013

Peach Smoothies

I'm making progress on the great cardigan remake. (This isn't the first time I've had to remake a sweater -- more on that later -- nor do I think this will be the last!)

This morning, while I was vigorously knitting the waist decreases, my father-in-law emerged from the garden and sat with me under the tree to cut up a giant bowl of peaches. 

Coffee, knitting, a cool breeze in the shade... and the smell of peaches -- what better way to spend a Sunday morning?

I couldn't resist eating a small bowl myself. While Pa peeled and chopped his way through what seemed to be about 55 peaches, I remembered a summer years ago in Ukraine, when I sat under a similar tree with Babka Dina. 

Dina wasn't related to me, but she was known as Grandma to anyone who came near her. 

She was large, and rather slow when moving about. She used a cane, but insisted that she didn't need help whenever someone would offer an arm to her. 

One of my first days in her town in Eastern Ukraine, we sat at a table (where we spent most of the time actually). An unusual number of bees swarmed us. Babka Dina was unfazed. She spent the latter part of the lunch we shared trying to capture bees in a cup, or smashing them with her spoon. Occasionally she dumped scalding hot tea onto them when they landed on the table. (I'm going to guess she never saw the Bee Movie...)

Watching Pa peel peaches reminded me of Babka Dina -- not because she was old, and hobbled about, or because she happened to be a bee killer -- but because one of the only photos I have of her, she is sitting cross-armed, very stoic, next to a bushel of peaches, not unlike the giant bowl Pa had beside him.  

The photo is a shoebox, in a closet, on the other side of the world at the moment, but I can still see her face.  

It's been years since I saw Babka Dina -- I don't know whatever happened to her. I like to think that she's still smashing bees with the same spoon she uses for the honey. And I hope her peach tree is still thriving. 

After we consumed enough peaches for the morning and left the rest in the fridge for a smoothie later, a bee started to hover around the Sailor. He too was unfazed, but unlike Babka Dina, he let the bee live. 

Because I've been eating so many peach smoothies lately, I thought I should share my recipe (which honestly just fluctuates depending on the fruit that I happen to have on hand, but this has been the standard for two weeks now.) 


2 ripe peaches, chopped (preferably just picked) 
1 apple, chopped
1 banana, peeled of course, and chopped
Either a few splashes of milk, or a few spoonfuls of plain or fruit yogurt 
A small handful of almonds *

Throw all together in a blender. 
Pour into a glass and enjoy! 

This smoothie is quite thick, so I like to use a spoon to scrape out the last of it from the glass. Or, you could just add more liquid. 
* Omit the almonds if you married a picky eater like the Sailor.

February 14, 2013

Feeling Blue on Valentine's Day?

Valentine's Day brings up a myriad of emotions. Me? I'm not really a big fan. I think I'm still a little scarred by a former job.

Years ago, I worked as a temp at a local flower store for the Valentine's Day rush.

Now, before you get all excited with images of quaint flower stalls crammed between meat and veg vendors in open air markets in Europe, or even your local florist with the fresh, wrapped roses you may have already bought for you sweetheart, let me first tell you the honest truth. 

I never even TOUCHED a flower there. 

Eight hours on my feet daily, surrounded by roses, carnations, baby's breath, Hershey Kisses and teddy bears -- I got to spend the majority of that temp job stapling cellophane.  

Cellophane. Cello-PAIN. 

I hate cellophane. It's the first thing I rip off of flowers when I buy them. And it is usually the first thing most people rip off before they place their flowers in a vase, but the cellophane's job was to keep the flowers neat, clean and alive, apparently. My mundane job on the other hand, was to fold and staple countless sheets, so that someone else could actually wrap the arrangements. 

I didn't get any flowers from the Sailor that year. He was halfway around the world, and I told him not to bother. I saw enough flowers in that 'factory', even if they weren't mine to keep. 

This year, thankfully, I didn't spend the week leading up to Valentine's Day at the florist. (Nor did I make use of any cellophane, whatsoever... although I did battle with some plastic wrap this afternoon when I covered the potato salad.

I did however get fairly far knitting my blue cardi.

Then, as I started to weave in the ends, I noticed that the ones in the back didn't look so neat. The sloppy weaving was right in the middle of the back, where I had joined a new ball of yarn. 

I never join a new ball of yarn right in the middle of a sweater. But because I added some length to this sweater, and since I neglected to buy an 'extra' ball of yarn, I was so afraid of running out of the blue, that I joined a new ball in the middle. 

The thing is... I never really joined it. I always put a double knot where I join my knitting. Some people say this is the worst thing to do -- if you're not careful, it leaves a lump right where you weave in the ends. This time, because I couldn't hide the lump (small as it may have been...) in the seam or at the side, I decided not to knot the balls the together. I just left a few inches and weaved the ends in. 

Then when I saw the sloppiness of my weaving, I pulled one out. And somehow (I'm guessing because I didn't tie a knot in there!) I managed to put a hole in my knitting.

 I gasped. Then I stared at the hole for a while. 

 Then I decided to make an even bigger hole, in my attempt to fix the damage. It you're going to mess something up, you may as well go whole hog, right?

(Ironic, isn't it, that my knitting needles have formed a frown?)

I made an effort to graft the stitches together, but in the end, it didn't look very nice. Plus, I had the mess at the back to contend with. The Sailor took one look at it and suggested I start over completely. I resisted the urge to take the long circular needle to his neck... and decided he was right. 

So I ripped out the knitting. And ripped. Then ripped some more. The whole monotonous ripping and winding reminded me of that temp job stapling cellophane. But before I knew it, the sleeveless portion of my cardigan was back into balls. 

By now perhaps you're wondering why I ripped the WHOLE thing out?? Well, because I had already sewn the button band on (not pictured in the above 'vest' photo), I had to rip that out too. And in my carelessness, I started to rip out the bottom of the cardigan by mistake. So I figured that I may as well rip the whole thing out while I'm at it. 

I was so frustrated by the whole thing, that I was ready to throw the yarn into the trash. I felt like the color of the yarn. The Sailor reminded me that we learn by our mistakes. He's right. And sometimes things look pretty ugly before they become beautiful. 

I decided to take my mess and try out the yarn ball winder my mother-in-law just gave me. I love that she taught me to knit and she's passing along to me a vintage item that she herself used for years. 

I enlisted the Sailor's help to wind the balls. (I know they're in balls above... but this yarn winder makes them into center-pull balls, which is infinitely better. It also means the yarn isn't rolling around in dog hair on the floor while I knit.)

I explained to him how the ball winder works, and he just looked at me while he calmly reminded me that he helped his mother wind numerous hanks of yarn when he was a kid. 

By about the fourth ball, I realized that cellophane or not, I didn't need any flowers from the Sailor on Valentine's Day (I get plenty during the rest of the year...) 

Hanging out with him for the day was enough. Having him believe I could create the cardi over again was even better. Helping me wind the balls of yarn was just an added bonus.