Saturday, March 26, 2011

Birthday Celebration

Patrick's 40th was a full weekend of celebration! We had so much fun and laughed a ton. On Friday (his actual bday) I surprised him by spraying him with silly string. It was HiLaRiOuS! He threw up his hands and squeezed his eyes shut like I was a tossing a brick at him. When he realized what was going on he opened one eye and started laughing. Poor little Kiki was sitting with him and didn't find any humor in the situation. Oops.

That night, we went to Oakley's Bistro. OMG. Wow. The food was amazing. I prepared by reading up on reviews of the place so that I could tell PK what they were known for/etc. (He didn't know where we were going until I pulled up at the place.) I agree with all the online reviews I read. Best meal I have ever had. You MUST get the shrimp corn dog and the lobster waffle as starters. I really, really enjoyed my butternut squash soup and PK loved his Toad in a Hole asparagus salad and his duck duo meal. We kept saying that we imagined that this is how the food must taste on Top Chef. It is a place to reserve for very special occasions due to price, but I do hear that the lunch is more economical.

We came home, rested up, and then got up early the next day to head north. Katie and Doug went with us to a few brew places. The boys really enjoyed all the beer and Katie and I enjoyed all the laughing we did. Lots of funny, funny comments made throughout the day. One of the places was Three Floyd's Brewing Company. Loved the fun atmosphere and funny beer names, such as the Topless Wych.

We got home, rested up, and got up early AGAIN the next day! Patrick had been talking about getting a tattoo for a few years now. So, I made all the arrangements at Voluta Tattoo with Laura and away we went. She did such a great job turning a simple endless knot into a more personalized tattoo. Some of you who know Patrick might know the "serious" side of him and find a tattoo to be out of character. However, his creative side leaves him open-minded to all avenues of art. I found something poetic in his tattoo pick, which is appropriate for, well, a poet.

I've already been asked by many people if I will be getting one. The only needles I like are the knitting kind!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Little Sister Dress/Vest

This little dress flew on and off the needles. I started it at knit night on a Tuesday and finished by Thursday at lunch! I love a good top-down knit.

Pattern: Little Sister (free download in Ravelry); not my design
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Milled Wine
US Needle: 3
Size: Followed 6 month directions but it is more of a 9 to 12 month size

I was a bit off on gauge, but didn't worry about that since I figured it would just come out a little bigger than intended a be the 9 month size. I was really tight on yarn, so I used my handy dandy yarn scale to measure of how much I had left. I figured it took 3 yards to knit one row and the bottom. In fingering weight yarn, 1 gram is 4.4 yards. So, as I worked I knew exactly how many rows I could squeak out. If you don't have a yarn scale, I highly suggest investing in one. Santa purchased mine from Knit Picks. It measures in both grams and ounces and has a conversion on the back to help you figure out the yardage per yarn weight. So nice to have!

When I first finished the Little Sister it was the same size as the Sock to Frock dress. Then, I blocked them both, and you can see how much longer the Sock dress grew in the skirt area due to the ribbing. I thought I'd include the layered picture to show how much of a difference blocking can make!

Back to the Little Sister pattern...this is a great concept because the little girl can wear it as a dress and then when they grow up a bit, wear it as a vest. I used some silk buttons from my button stash. They don't match perfectly in color, but I liked that because it added character and depth. I'm also on a mission to use some of these buttons I've collected so that I can buy more!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sock to Frock

I finished up this little dress for Ella. It's super cute!

Pattern: Sock to Frock from Knitter's 100 edition
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Solis
Size: 12 months
Needles: US 3 and 4

The rib pattern while I was knitting it looked so uneven. I steam blocked it and all of that went away and it looks fantastic. It also lengthened by 3 more inches! I had planned for it to add 2, so that was great.

My favorite part about this pattern is that you knit it from the bottom up and when the little girl outgrows it, you undo the top part, make the skirt portion a tad longer and reknit the top. All the sizes use the same stitch count for the skirt. Isn't that fantastic? I have a second skein that I dipped into to finish the button band that I will keep on hand to use as Ella grows up.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Patrick!

Today is a very important day in our household. It's PK's bday! I love you, PK. Hope you have a great day today and this weekend.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brownie Knits Follower Competition Reminder

There is still time to sign up as a follower and enter our drawing! Sign up between now and 5/16/2011 and you will be entered into the blog followers drawing. To become a follower, click the follow button along the right-hand side of the main page.

We will draw on 5/17 for the winner. The winner will be mailed a set of Brownie Knits patterns and yarn for at least one of the projects. Fret not, existing followers, you will also be entered.

Sign up!!! (Should a non-knitting/crocheting follower win, you will be sent a knitted BK garment of your choice.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

I'm In LOVE!

I was out with my hubby a few weeks ago in Bloomington and I went to the yarn shop while he went book hunting. I saw this and fell in love. Isn't is gorgeous? the lady at the shop said she had purchased it and they had all been trying to figure out the pattern. Crocheters: What's your take on it? Regular crochet? Hairpin? Broomstick? Something else? Anyway, it is from Antrhopologie and on back order. I priced out yarn versus Anthro price. I think it might be a splurge and then I can sit and figure it out a flower at a time. SO Pretty...

Last fall I took a free-form crochet class at Stitches Midwest. I thought that something close to this blanket could be created by first creating the standalone flowers and then crocheting a mesh to connect them together. I just so happened to pick up stitch book on the same trip that had a crochet stitch in it I haven't done in the past. I'm wondering if it is actually used in this blanket to create the super long string stitches on the flowers. LOVE<3LOVE<3LOVE<3 this blanket.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Inspirational Days

Lately I've been spending a lot of time in the yarn studio designing, knitting, and crocheting. I feel like I can't get things done fast enough! I had a chuckle the other day when my work space in front of me looked like this and I was writing a pattern and making items for etsy store like mad (7 that day)...

While I was working, this is what the dogs were doing...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Little Top for Ella

Wow, this was a fast little knit. So tiny and so cute!

2 skeins of Sirdar Baby Bamboo
Needles: 3 and 5
Pattern out of Sirdar book Seaside Babies
Size: 0 to 6 months (although I think it looks a little small for the 6 month size)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Finished Tea Leaves Cardigan

I finished up my Tea Leaves Cardigan out of Madelinetosh Vintage in Well Water. I'm really happy with how it turned out. I ended up shortening the sleeves a lot. As I looked at the sweater and was deciding what buttons to use and what to wear with the sweater, I realized that I always visualized it with white linen pants in the spring or a chilly summer night next to the water. So, short sleeves it was with pearl white buttons.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Crochet Block of the Month Club, Second Shipment

In the midst of the flu, I got my second shipment for the afghan CAL with Unique Sheep. I foolishly thought, "You should do this to keep your mind off you illness for a few moments." Uh...big mistake. The pattern isn't hard, but when you have the flu it is! I got to this point and stopped because nothing made any sense. After the illness went away, we had a trip to visit family, and I got back home and into the daily routine, I picked it back up. No problems with the pattern at all.

I think I like this yarn more than the previous shipment. It seems a little heavier, but crocheted up about the same. It is just so soft. I am a little torn on the color combination. Still working on that giving up control issue regarding picking out my own colors/yarn. This is a little red hat lady for me, but I trust that it will look right when the entire afghan is said and done.

The center rose is really pretty and I had never done a DTR (double triple) before. These are pre-blocking and are just under the 8 inch square goal. A little blocking with make the rose pop more and the 8" shouldn't be an issue.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blackhawk Colvin Hat

A friend from high school ordered a hat for his daughter in Springs Valley school colors (black, white, gold -- technically trimmed in gold, my mom always used to say). I found a larger sized button that served as the gold that we had on most school things and I incorporated the black and white in the yarn combo. Okay, SVHS grads, what do you think? :)

For the knitters out there, this is my own pattern available for free (see Patterns tab).
Yarn: Black is Encore Chunky held doubled and white is Encore Mega
Needles: US 13 (I dropped my needle size from 15 to get a tighter gauge since this hat was for an 11-year-old.) The sizing fits my head (which happens to be the same size as some 4 year-olds I know!

Note that I used one button instead of two because it was a larger button. This is an easy way to switch up this pattern. This is also for the first time I mixed yarn colors in this pattern. Be sure to switch the color either before the overlap or right after, depending on if you put the overlap on the right or left side.