Friday, April 30, 2010

Olivine Vest

This F.O. has been finished for a long, long time. Since January 17th, to be exact. I got the yarn for this vest as part of my birthday present. The yarn is Malabrigo Worsted and the pattern is Olivine.

One of the details I loved about this pattern was the cable that goes across the back. Such a subtle and fun detail!

I opted to leave off the side straps. I had trouble finding the right place for them and finally decided that I was struggling with placement because I actually liked it better without them. I suspect that preference was related to the fact that the yarn I used had such color variegation in it. The original Olivine was knit with a solid yarn and I think the side straps look great on that version.

The vest is knit in pieces, seamed together and then all of the ribbed parts are knit on to it. What this meant was that by the time I realized that the button cuff was flaring, I was too far along to want to rip out and redo. So, as a result, the bottom cuff ends up looking a bit peplum-like.

That's ok, though, because this vest is so soft and warm and comfy, I can tolerate a little flounce in the ribbing. The buttons are vintage plastic buttons from Hunt & Gather.

I am very happy with this project and once again have been won over by the softness of Malabrigo. As most people say, it does pill with wear, but that doesn't seem to be enough to deter me from using it on garments.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Placed Cable Pullover

If I were the type of blogger to post as I work through a project, you would be as exasperated at this sweater as I am. I went through many sessions of tweaking and ripping and adjusting with this sweater.

This is the Placed Cable Aran from Interweave Knits Fall 2007. I knit it with Knit Picks Main Line which is a cotton and merino blend yarn.

I will give you the condensed version of the many steps this sweater went through and the modifications I made.
  • First of all, the sweater is written to be short in the arms and short in the body. You can tell that by looking at the photos of the sweater on the model in the magazine. I wanted it to fit correctly. In order to deal with that issue, I started all of the pieces with a provisional cast on, which I later picked up and worked each piece until it fit me.
  • The arm holes in this sweater are too big. I wasn't going to go back to change that once I got the point of joining. I just had to accept that the sweater is baggy in the armpits. Once I accepted that, I had to figure out how to get the bind off edge of my arms to match the armholes. The sewn bind-off saved this sweater! I ripped out my regular bind-off and ended up working a sewn bind-off on nearly every edge of this sweater. The bind-off gave the cotton/merino yarn the stretch it needed to drape properly and to match up edges how they should be matched up. Phew!

The sweater in the magazine must not have been blocked before it was photographed because the cables left bunches in those pictures. The bunches evened out when I blocked my sweater.

I added extra length to allow for a folded cuff or a longer sleeve with a ribbed cuff.

This sweater should have been much more simple and quick than it was, but I am pretty happy with the results and I learned a good amount along the way.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mitered Towel Free-Styled

With all of the house-related workshops that Paul and I went to in May, I needed to have some small, mindless knitting to keep my hands busy. I worked this mitered hand towel with 2nd Time Cotton. I like the colors this yarn comes and I like that it is derived from textile waste fiber, but I will say that it is splitty yarn and not everyone enjoys knitting with splitty cotton. I didn't mind.

There was a button leftover from the pack I bought for Becky's Baby Cardi, so I used it for this towel.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Quick! Before it became summer, I needed to finish up this enormous, bulky, heavyweight project.

This shrug was knit from the Bobblicious pattern in the Winter 2005 issue of Knitty. I made a few modifications to make it more enjoyable to knit and to make it more to my taste.

Believe it or not, but I made the bobbles smaller than the pattern called for. I increased them to 3 stitches instead of 5, as directed in the pattern. I also staggered the bobbles rather than lining them up on every row.

The last modification I made was to knit this with the stockinette side as the right side. The pattern called for the reverse stockinette side to be showing. I preferred the way the yarn looked on the smooth side.

And, speaking of the yarn, this was knit with the yarn the pattern called for: Lion Brand Thick & Quick. I am glad that I didn't invest too much money in this project because I am not sure how much I will wear it. I can imagine that it would be nice to wear as a bed jacket type garment while reading or knitting in bed. Time will tell how useful this shrug is.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Becky's Baby Cardi

This is the week of Finished Objects (FOs). I've been making stuff but neglecting to post the finished photos, so you'll get them all this week. First up is Becky's Baby Cardi.

Becky is due this week but had a baby shower in Utah in early April. I couldn't make it to the shower, but I did knit her a baby sweater and send it to the party.

The sweater was made from the pattern Garter Yoke Baby Cardi with Berroco Touche yarn. The buttons were a Hunt & Gather find. I've had great luck in their button cabinet.

I love it when I knit a baby sweater and I end up wishing for the same sweater in my size. I much prefer baby garments that are not cutesy and pastel and I suspected that Becky would appreciate the same.

Friday, April 23, 2010

8 Years of Happy

Paul and I have been together for 8 years as of yesterday. We celebrated the occasion by biking down to Minnehaha Falls with a nice bottle of wine and some fancy crackers and cheese. We got our dinner from Sea Salt Eatery, took a walk around the falls, laid in the setting sunshine and enjoyed each others' company. I feel grateful to have Paul as my partner. He's good stuff.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

In the Ground

Last fall, instead of bagging up and having the city haul away our fallen leaves, we spread them out over our prospective garden space. We left it there until last week, when Paul took a big chunk of his day to do the hard labor of tilling the leaves and soil. The idea was that the leaves would break down and be good amendments for the soil. I am not sure yet if this was a wise idea. Time will tell.

Soon after Paul started tilling, he discovered a sizable root laying lengthwise across the garden space. It seems there are remnants of a tree that used to be there throughout a part of the garden. So, the hard labor of tilling turned into the hard labor of tilling PLUS the hard labor of digging, sawing and hacking out buried tree roots. But, he pushed through and accomplished the goal. In the battle of Paul vs. Tree Root, Paul was victorious.

The tilling made way for me to plant the peas and the onions. I planted about 19 feet of heirloom peas and 200 onions.

little pea seeds

I also planted canna lily bulbs last week. My dad has been growing cannas for a while and had plenty of bulbs to spare, so he shared them with me. I planted them here and there throughout the yard to see how they do. It is hard to believe that these ugly bulbs grow into these luscious plants.

When Paul tilled, he had to till around a small portion of the garden as we have had some gorgeous, huge tulips come up. I plan to execute a tulip transplant operation after they have finished blooming.

My flower theory is that the early flowers are the way to go. They aren't lost in the bounty of late summer. They come up early when we are all hungry for color and fresh growth. Based on this theory, I plan to plant a lot of early blooming flowers in my front yard. I know of tulips, daffodils, and crocuses. Are there any others ones I should know about?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fanny Pack

Take me!

Fanny makes it a little challenging to pack my bag. Perhaps she is looking for more adventure in her life.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Grow it and eat it.

beet-dyed deviled eggs were served at the event

A few weeks ago, Sally and I attended an evening event centered around food and health. The event was part of a week long film festival hosted by the U of M's School of Public Health. One of the films we watched was called Food Fight. The film highlights how food and eating are political and pleasurable acts. It discussed how what we chose to eat helps to perpetuate the movement for local, seasonal, organic and sustainably grown foods. I won't give too much of the movie away because I highly recommend that you watch it and see for yourself. It is available on Netflix.

One of the facets of eating that the movie promotes is that of growing your own food wherever you live, be it urban or otherwise. Of course, this subject matter totally hit the spot for me, as I am anticipating my own garden. Since it was still too early to start planting my garden, instead I pulled out the seeds that I dried from a pumpkin that I got in the fall from the freezer. I tested to see if they were viable by putting them in a wet paper towel inside of a baggie and hanging it in my window for a week. They sprouted! Since then, I put them in some soil and have made plans to create a little pumpkin patch in my garden.

This issues of food sources, growing practices and quality are becoming nearer and dearer to me the more and more I learn about them. Previously Paul and I primarily shopped at the big box grocery stores while regularly making supplemental trips to the co-op. We recently made the switch and joined the Seward Co-op. For the past 2 months we have primarily shopped there with the rare item or two purchased from the conventional grocery stores.

Before we switched, we discussed the possible implications this decision would have on our food budget. As I predicted, on an item to item basis, there are some things that are cheaper at the co-op (think bulk food) and others that are cheaper at the conventional grocery store (canned beans, pasta). As a result of the switch, I've found that we buy less packaged foods, we plan our shopping trips better, we waste less food and we eat healthier foods that taste better. Add to that all of the other great elements of shopping at a co-op (supporting the local economy, buying organic, less packaging waste, more pleasant shopping environment...) and I am so happy to have made the switch. And, as it turns out, we spend about the same amount on groceries as before.

Monday, April 19, 2010

2010 Yarnover

Phew! What an awesome event the Yarnover was! Hosted by the Minnesota Knitters' Guild, of which I am a proud new member as of 2010, the lineup of instructors was astonishing. As one of the vendor tables above was cleverly featuring, Meg Swansen, Jared Flood, Lucy Neatby, Cookie A, and Cat Bordhi were all there. There were many other brilliant knitters and designers there of which I spotted Franklin Habit, Stephen West and Lily Chin. For me to get up, drive to the suburbs and be present, awake and excited by 7:30 on a Saturday morning, it would have to be a really engaging event.

And, engaging it was. The day started out with Cat Bordhi's keynote speech. During her speech she made very entertaining statements such as, "knitting is like fusilli pasta...on a stick!". (For those of you not in the know, Minnesota has a reputation for loving things served on a stick. The Minnesota State Fair website offers "on a stick" as a searchable food category.)

In addition to the keynote address and the marketplace, there were also lots and lots of classes offered. There were so many awesome teachers and class subjects that I wished for the ability to clone myself so as to attend more than one at a time. But, alas, I had to chose one and I chose A Dabble into Double with Lucy Neatby.

The class description was:
Make a voyage of discovery to achieve a deeper understanding of your knitting! Try a variety of types of Double Knitting to produce two-layer fabrics. Starting with tubular knitting on straight needles, moving on to tubes within tubes and the double-knit pocket trick. DK color patterning techniques will include positive / negative, and quilting for added texture and warmth.

What the description does not mention is the extremely colorful presence of Lucy! She even brought a suitcase full of gorgeous knits for us to browse and admire. And, that accent! I have to admit that the subject and the accent were both factors in my choice to put A Dabble into Double as my first choice class.

I was pleased with the class and, as promised, my mind has a deeper understanding of my knitting. I think double knitting is a technique I will explore more in the future. I hope to knit Lucy's Sizzling Hot Hat pattern. There are all sorts of amazing colorwork patterns underneath that hat brim. When I knit it, I will show you that part, too.

Perhaps I was influenced by all of the color, because when I went through the market, I was drawn to this yarn for a project I had planned to do in a solid color. The yarn is Mountain Colors - Twizzle in Sierra. I plan to knit the Loretto Vest with it.

This was the only stash acquisition I made at Yarnover. I showed great restraint in the face of many beautiful, unique yarns and lots of tempting sales. I think part of the reason I was able to hold back is because in a few short weeks, I will be attending the Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival. Minnesota is a great state for knitters!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Grandma Rosie is 92!

This has been a really busy weekend full of lots of fun things. I'll be working on trying to catch up on blogging over the next few days.

Today, I would like honor my Grandma Rosie, who just turned 92!

My family traveled to Wisconsin to spend the day celebrating Grandma's birthday with extended family and with the birthday girl herself.

Grandma Rose and my mom, Kathy

We shared a big meal and then went to the backyard where people of all ages (except Grandma! - she has her limits) enjoyed the giant trampoline.

For 92 my grandma is in pretty amazing health, but as she will tell you, "it is heck to get old!"

Friday, April 16, 2010


Kerplunk! There is a new Art-o-mat in town!

It is so brand spanking new that it isn't even on the directory yet. The newest location of these art dispensing/retired cigarette vending machines is in the lobby of Boynton Clinic on the U of M campus in Minneapolis. It was officially premiered last night, but I got a sneak peak a few weeks ago.

Go on, bring your $5 bill over and get some little bitty art in a box.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Buds in the Yard

After an extremely dry and warmer than usual March, April's showers are prompting all sorts of signs of what is to come in our yard.

Carolina Raspberry Buds
(Do you spy a Jack nose?)

Honeycrisp Apple buds

Lilies leaves have popped up in the rain garden.

Surprise! We have tulips in the yard that I didn't see last year.

As I have been trying to get the burdock under control in our yard, I've noticed a lot of earthworms. The recent rain has cause this giant worm to come above ground. That is a good sign for our garden this year!
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