April

With the world not quite making up its mind if it is winter still or summer already, I have both wool and linen stuff to show you today. And lots of words!

The final alpacca shawl

Starting with winter and alpacca wool, this is a scarf with well over a decade worth of history. I could probably write a whole separate blog post on this scarf alone, but here is the short version:
– Bought different colored alpacca yarn in 2004 while at “folk high school“, where everyone knits all the time. I made several long and skinny scarves.
– Started a pair of colorwork mittens, which I didn’t finish until many years later.
– Moved to Bergen in 2005 to study at the University, and freehanded a crochet wrap cardigan with this brown color, which was my neutral at the time. I am still impressed that I just decided to crochet a cardigan with no pattern and little experience. Raglan, and seamed, no less!
– Never wore the cardigan, since the crochet fabric was very open. Frogged it the same year and made a crochet triangular scarf instead that I wore near daily for the next decade.
– Still in 2005, found the exact color brown on clearance since it was being discontinued, and bought the rest.
– Fast forward to 2013. Had lots of yarn left, decided to knit myself a sweater. Thought I would run out of yarn, but I had plenty left.
– Frogged the crochet scarf during Christmas two or three years ago since the yarn was breaking in places. Idea of giant scarf to end All the Brown Alpacca Wool was born.

– Frogged the silly faux colorwork mittens that never fit, and were never used.
– Early 2016 I started a (real!) pair of colorwork mittens with the rest of my Barcelona souvenir yarn. I ended up knitting three mittens as I somehow lost the first somewhere in my apartment. Yeah, no idea how I managed that feat.
– Early 2017 I started the Final Alpacca Scarf (pattern is Close to you). I couldn’t finish the scarf though, as long as the colorwork mittens were underways, and they were taking kind of forever.
– March 2018: Finished the mittens, and subsequently knit the final three rows of the scarf with the very last of the alpacca yarn. Phew! 14 years and three iterations later, I do believe I will keep this one!

Irish Vine Colorwork mittens
Ok, that was not so short after all, but let me make it up by saying the following about the mittens. They are pretty, they took a long time to knit, and I am happy with them. The end. Ravelry notes and more pictures here.

Linen crop top and shorts
Moving deftly into summer, as our weather did – for a day at least. Sustainable sewing is a hot topic right now, and the Love to Sew episodes on this and intentional making were particularly inspiring to me, especially the round-up of ways to use scraps. I was delighted to realize I do a lot of those things already! Refashioning has also been a focus for a number of years, through projects like The Refashioners run by Portia Lawrie. I am mentioning these things as I had a stroke of inspiration one day, eyeing a full length linen sleeveless dress hanging in my wardrobe. It was given to me by a friend who though the color was typical me. Here is a terrible phone camera picture that I snapped at night before starting to unpick everything.

I did love the dusty olive green linen, but the fitted and lined dress was not a style I felt comfortable in. Suddenly I had the idea of using the bottom of the skirt as a crop top, placing the existing vent on the back for a breezy, boxy summer top. Using my trusty self-drafted kimono sleeve top as a template, I traced the shoulder slope and neckline, and added rectangles for sleeves. The neckline facings are pieced from the armhole pieces of the dress, which happened to have the perfect curves.

This was a case of squeezing as much as possible out of the available fabric. For the shorts I used the OOP 3850 Simplicity Built By Wendy Slim-fit pants. I have made shorts (still unblogged, save for a mention of the plans) from this pattern, and they fit alright. I extended the lines as much as I could to get a high waist, and was able to eek out a waistband that is faced with a different fabric on the inside. The front pieces were cut with the dress side seam running down the middle, and the back was pieced. I used the original invisible zipper, just shortened. For comfort and allowing for fluctuations in weight the waist isn’t fitted, but rather has a 1″ elastic, held ever so slightly taut, that keeps the waist in place but doesn’t pinch.

I wanted to make the shorts as high waisted as possible, so I could wear them with the crop top with just the right amount of skin flashing. As you can see, I have to raise my hand quite a bit to show midriff! The vent means the back is more on display, especially when I move, but it is all in balance I think.

I had so much fun turning this unworn dress into something I look forward to using! Having the tiniest of fragments of fabric left afterwards was also fun – I so enjoy the creative problemsolving in projects like these.

Ogden Cami

This post is getting so long – I think I can sum this sewing project up quite quickly. Fast sew, good patterndrafting, I need an FBA (judging by the straps splaying and the wedge popping out near my armpit), viscose wrinkles, I’d like to shorten the straps 1/2-1″, and the strap placement doesn’t cover the top my my bra. I prefer to be able to wear a bra (with straps), so I am not sure that this top will become a staple in my wardrobe. Solid pattern!

IN THE WORKS
Stashing
IMG_20180421_101019237

Alessa of Farbenfreude is moving house soon (congrats!), and was doing a destash on her instagram. This fits right into sustainable sewing, so I am excited to get some new pieces of fabric and exercise creativity in deciding how I can best use these pieces. This gorgeous tweedy wool with multicolored flecks feels maybe like a Belladone dress, I think. And look how sweetly packaged – thank you Alessa!

Christmas brioche scarf
Yes, very late… I am knitting a brioche scarf that was a Christmas gift. In all fairness, I did request color input on a knitting giftcard, so I didn’t start until February. It is grey, will be very long, squishy and warm.

Fåvang kofte
Finally I found yarn to suit the frogged Bayview sweater! The pattern is looking beautiful, and I have made it to the point of dividing for sleeves and bodice. This is one of my #2018makenine items.

M7261
Also a #2018makenine item, a set of running tights and top. The sizing has thrown me off, since many reviews mentions going down a size or even two. In addition, I won’t be using 5/8″ seam allowance (1/4″ is more like it, using an overlocker!). I have cut out the top going down three sizes, hoping for a wearable muslin. I want to order wooly nylon (www.bwear.se is a source for us Scandinavians!), but I need to…  actually order the stuff.

A selfless Sydney jacket
I am making a Sydney jacket in a dark grey felted wool. I have made two for myself, this is the first, and the only one that has been blogged about. The jacket has been waiting for months, all cut up, and shouldn’t be hard or lengthy to sew, which leads me to the next item on my list.

Me-Made-May
I have been thinking of how to participate in MMM in a way that makes sense to me. Using me-made garments each day is something I can easily do, but what is not happening at the moment is sewing time. Almost every project feels too overwhelming and time consuming in this hectic season I am having. I’ve decided in May to spend 15 minutes each day on this sewing hobby of mine. That can mean taping and cutting patterns, gathering supplies, basting a seam, or actual sewing (!). I am hoping this will lower the threshold to just do *something*, even if I can’t set aside longer chunks of time. So – that is how I am participating this year!

Advertisements

January

Phew, we’re finally at the end of this long, long month. I haven’t felt like writing up separate posts about things I have made lately, so here is a round-up of sorts. While taking these pictures I actually kept finding garments I forgot I had made but not shared, so things are looking good for a similar February-post! :D So, from the last couple of months:

FINISHED

Fern-print maxi dress

Yes, my tendency to make seasonally inappropriate garments is still at large. Last spring I bought this slubby cotton-linen jersey, thinking I might make a jump suit (I have not forgotten the sewing dare I got from Gillian, several years ago!). After a bodice/shorts muslin (free-handed frankenpatterning) I deemed the idea and fabric as not a good fit. A maxi dress, however! Shows off the print nicely with few distractions, and a type of garment I’ve been reaching for more and more. The top is from Tilly and the buttons Bettine dress, with a raised neckline in addition to my earlier alterations. The skirt is a simple slightly flared A-line, as flared as I could make it with the roughly 2m of fabric I had. The back bodice and skirt are both pieced with a seam down the center. Excellent utilization of the fabric, as I had absolutely nothing left! In fact, the neckline binding and waist elastic casing are both from other thin jerseys from my stash.

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress + freehanded a-line skirt
Fabric: 2 m of cotton/linen jersey blend from Stoff & Stil, looks to be sold out now.
How much fabric is left: None.
How will I use the leftovers: The tiny scraps went into my plastic bag of fabric scraps, destined for H&M’s textile recycling program.

Oversized art teacher sweater

One thing I noticed looking through my pattern stash the other day is that my collection is mostly made up of pretty “safe” garments and silhouettes. None of the exaggerated sleeve shapes, or dramatic coats, or flared pants that have been making the rounds lately. I haven’t decided if I feel like that is boring, or an accurate representation of my style.

Regardless, I had this RTW sweater that felt a little dramatic, in how wide the bodice was. Lots of fabric to fan around in and playing (or being) an art teacher! At the same time, the clean lines and slim sleeves (and for me, typically paired with slim jeans) balanced out the volume and made it a pleasant amount of quirky. I gave the sweater to a dear, dear friend because she loved it, and now I have made a copy. The sleeves are like super-deep cuffs – just folded double. It gives them stability and heft that works really well. I was so pleased with this I wore it to school before even hemming it!

Pattern: Copied from a beloved gifted RTW sweater
Fabric: 1,5 m of  polyester/viscose knit, from Stoff & Stil.
How much fabric is left: From the 2 meters I bought I have an odd L-shape, with 50 cm full width, plus maybe 60×70 cm on one side.
How will I use the leftovers: I’m not sure! There could be enough for a short sleeve top-like thing in my size, but this feels like sweater fabric. So… maybe a sweater for a kid.

Kimono sleeve/print top

This is the third time I use this particular self-drafted pattern. The first was in a grey printed viscose, matching my Named patterns Alexandria pants, and combined to a faux jumpsuit. I’ve also made it up in a knit fabric, but that wasn’t as successful. The casual shape + casual fabric = sloppy looking, in my mind. Much better in this viscose with drape, but still a tiny bit of structure! I love the large-scale and dramatic print of the fabric, well suited to a garment with few seam lines. Still, there is some interest in the cuffs, and a slightly curved hem (front to back). I had just enough for this and an Ogden cami (with some creative cutting, of course), but the cami was very wrinkled so I didn’t photograph it this time. Come back in February!

Pattern: Self-drafted, but the add-on sleeve angle is similar to the Bettine dress
Fabric: I had about 1,5 m of this beautiful woven viscose from Stoff & Stil, and could probably squeeze one of these out of 0,7 m (for a size S-ish). I’m wondering if it is the same kind of fabric as the rayon challis I keep seeing mentioned everywhere?
How much fabric is left: Nothing!
How will I use the leftovers: Well, I’m won’t. Happy camper. :)

Carlilse mittens
I’ve already shown these on instagram, but here they are one month in, felting and pilling like crazy. That’s ok – I think a trim will have them looking nice again, and maybe it is just an initial round before they settle in. The yarn is about the loveliest I have ever knit with. Soft, sort of smooth, lofty, and luscious. The stitches melt into each other to form a fabric in a really nice way too. I am not crazy about the thumb sticking out on the side since it twists the rest of the mitten. All future mittens will have gusset thumbs (is that what they are called?).
Pattern: Brooklyn tweed Carlisle mittens (my ravelry notes)
Yarn: Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool Fine in Pewter and Granite
How much yarn is left: About 25 grams in each color.
How will I use the leftovers: Probably another pair of mittens!

IN THE WORKS
Colorwork mittens (ravelry) – long time in the making, and slow progress from the fingering weight yarn. Also, when you loose one of the almost-finished mittens (sans thumb) inside your house, it sets you back a bit.

Alpacca scarf (ravelry) – at least 90% finished, and just waiting for whatever is leftover of the brown alpacca yarn from the colorwork mittens. It is the ultimate stashbusting scarf that can just grow until there is no yarn left. I’m so excited! This yarn and I have an over decade long history, and I am thrilled to have it almost all knit up.

Chambray sleeveless shirt – I bought a remnant at my local fabric store that I think should comfortable be enough for a sleeveless M7084, but as a shirt instead of a shirt dress. This is also one of the projects I have listed for my #2018makenine. Since I bought this pattern thinking it can easily turn into a repeat offender, I want to put in the effort of tweaking the fit and make a muslin. I also want to skip making a muslin, but the desire for a good fit wins out. Sensible sewing.

A wool mini-skirt – and another absolute perfect fit, in terms of using *all* the fabric! Only tiny triangles left from cutting out the main fabric. It does mean using a different fabric for waist and hem facings, but my stash has proved up to the task. As a detail on this self-drafted skirt I am thinking a pair of slanted single-welt pockets on the front, in addition to the exposed back metal zipper. I am currently auditioning a number of lining fabric candidates from my stash (this is a moment where I am happy to have quite a selection! I keep realizing just how many things I can make using only what is already on my shelves. It is quite exiting!).

How has January been for you guys? Slow going, or sewing up a storm? Feeling inspired by the #makenine? So far it is keeping my sewing plans a little bit more focused, and a little less… overwhelmed by inspiration!

icelandic cabin sweater

I am really in to colorwork knitting at the moment, as well as stashbusting (always!) – which has resulted in this beautiful sweater! For once I have actually completed something seasonally appropriate as well – I do have a tendency to finish summer dresses in the winter and mittens in the summer.

Telja sweater (8)

Longtime readers might think the yarn or color looks familiar, and they’d be right. This is actually the Modum knit jacket from my final collection at design school. I loved designing and knitting this jacket, and the final result – but I did  not love using it (it totally dwarfed me, and not in a cool Berlin-based artist way that I could pull off). Not that you have to use everything you ever make, but this was such gorgeous yarn in one of my absolute favorite colors, that it seemed such a shame to let it stay unused as a jacket. So I frogged it!

Pattern: Telja from Knit.Love.Wool (my ravelry notes here)
Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in color Hayloft, and assorted small quantities of yarn I had laying around.
How much yarn is left: Of the Shelter yarn, almost 50 grams. Of the other yarns I just borrowed a bit from full skeins, so there is plenty left of most of it.
How will I use the leftovers: Shelter yarn will be part of a Baby Sophisticate jacket for a new little dude I get to hang out with every so often, and the wild sheep yarn is going to become a traditional Norwegian “kofte” – I am looking at maybe the Fåvang from a book I own.

Telja sweater (9)

Telja sweater (3)

What more do I want to say about this? I changed some things from the original pattern. I skipped the colorwork sections on the sleeves and hem, and I did a rib neckline instead of the i-cord finish. I thought the neckline looked a little open, so I wanted to close it in a little bit, and to my eyes this finish looks more traditional. I knit the colorwork section twice actually – after I dutifully made a swatch, calculated from that, realized the yoke was too big, and ripped back to knit it again pretty much exactly as patterned. Oh well!

Since deciding to knit an Icelandic style sweater from my past project I have pictured this on a cabin trip in the mountains somewhere, hiking, maybe skiing, playing board games and sitting around a fire. Now I’ve been invited to a cabin weekend in November, and I can’t wait to put this sweater to use in what I picture being its proper element! In the meanwhile, it works *just fine* around the house too. My 120-year old apartment building isn’t exactly draft free.

Telja sweater (4)

Telja sweater (10)

Telja sweater (1)

I really enjoyed the colorwork section, and seeing how the yoke was shaped through clever decreases. And, I like the stranded inside almost as much as the outside! It feels similar to a neatly sewn garment.

So, the yarn! Some thoughts on Shelter. I love, love, love the color and the depth and intensity of it. It was really cool to learn about how they blend the colors, by adding different percentages of base colored roving, then spinning them together. Almost a bit of pointillism, in yarn form! It is quite sticky, which made it actually not the most pleasant (or at least, smooth) yarn to work with, and still on this second pass I was picking out little bits of twigs. On the upside it spit-splices like nobody’s business, and it has a really nice pine-like smell that I remember from last time I knit with this. I was amazed that the smell was still there after 6 years of storage and washes and things!

Telja sweater (5)

It’s a gorgeous sweater, in my opinion, and I really liked knitting it. My favorite part of this project though has to be getting use out of something that was just lying around. I feel a season of stashbusting and mindful making coming on!

barcelona cabled mustard socks

DSC_7129

One of the first pairs of socks I ever knitted (the second pair, I think?) were these mustard ribbed socks. I made them in the fall of 2007, and probably used them every week – sometimes every day – until they were falling apart beyond repair and I retired them in my pre-move tidying frenzy. They served me so very well, and while visiting Barcelona last October with my teacher-study-friends, a skein of mustard yarn came home with me. It was time for the second generation of mustard socks!

Yarn: Discontinued Greta and the Fibers Socks, fingering weight and hand dyed, color 45
Pattern: “No slouch socks” by Elinor Brown. Ravelry project page here.
Techniques: Knits and purls and tiny cables. Also, kitchener stitch for grafting the toes.

DSC_7179-2

DSC_7186-2

This yarn smells really, really good. Not strong, just.. fresh and flowery and wooly. Like really good wool-wash. It’s not lofty, and has a lot less give than I would expect from a wool blend. It feels smooth and has some luster, and a density that reminds me of a single ply rather than the 4-ply it is. At the same time the yarn feels sort of hard, I think due to the lack of give, and I ended up knitting quite tightly with high tension. Still, the finished socks don’t have much spring or bounce to them – they almost feel kind of flat.

DSC_7151

The heels were an interesting adventure! I spent more than three months on these socks from start to finish, and a lot of it was procrastinating about how to solve the heel and toe. You see, the pattern I chose – “No Slouch Socks” – assumes you have your own preferred heel and toe solution. The pattern mentions this up front, so I don’t feel deceived, but it was a lot more work on my end when I decided not to go for the easy solutions. I thought the undulating cables and neat rhythm of the ribbing + cables deserved something more than my usual heel flap and plain toe, so I took to researching.

There is something called a Welsh heel, which sounded interesting to me. I’m pretty sure that is not what I ended up knitting, but it inspired me to try decreasing and increasing in a different way. All the details or on my ravelry project page – I  won’t even try to make sense of it here. It made sense to me in the moment, and now almost a year later, I’m baffled. I really like the diagonal lines though, and the making of stitches along a “back seam”.

DSC_7187-2

The toe was equally an experiment, as I wanted to continue the pattern all the way. The first few pictures also sort of show that I did a really narrow saddle of 6 stitches across the front of the toe. I remembered using the technique on the Seamless hybrid sweaters I’ve made, and it worked reasonably well. Very fiddly! The toe area is a little looser than I’d like. I could (should?) have done down a needle size and ended up with a stiffer fabric, but I think this kind of yarn just won’t plump up regardless.

Like the first pair, I’ve had these socks in pretty constant rotation. They are pretty! The good thing about them being so thin is that I can wear them with a lot of my booties, like the ones (well, the one) in my previous post. These socks have also brightened up my post-surgery plastic sandal wearing days, and are peeking out from the hiking boots I wear every day now – still the only decent outdoor shoes my swollen toe can fit into.

While I am practicing patience regarding the shoe situation, the remainder of this pretty-colored, lovely-smelling yarn is being made up into gorgeous colorwork mittens in this pattern, paired with some scrumptious brown alpaca. I am most definitely getting enjoyment out of my souvenir skein!

DSC_7136

chicago cowl

I guess I’m continuing the trend of city names and travel themes in recent blog post titles! My previous post was about the Sydney jacket (of which I have one more cut out of charcoal wool felt, ready to get assembled, yey!), and now the cowl I knit from the souvenir yarn I treated myself to this summer, visiting Chicago.

chicago_cowl-4

Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo yarn, sports weight and hand dyed, color 048 Glitter
Pattern: None. Ravelry project page here.
Techniques: Knits and purls

 chicago_cowl-2

As cliched as it is, I have to start with mentioning that the weather here has been *amazing* lately. We’ve had weeks and weeks of almost all sunshine and blue skies, and for a city that might just out-rain Seattle, that should be saying something! It also meant I could take advantage today of my mid-day stroll to the university campus for an essay feedback meeting, and take some pictures in the university museum garden. I absolutely love that this garden is in my neighbourhood, and I absolutely love walking through it every chance I get!

If you’re wondering what the deal with the singular shoe is, I had toe surgery a few days ago. Scheduled, and successful, and now recovering nicely. It also explains why I’m not at work in the middle of a Wednesday! I’ll be clunking along with the open sandal for a few weeks, and I’m taking the opportunity to show off some gems from my knitted sock collection. These are the socks I knit with souvenir yarn from my Barcelona-trip last year, which is probably a good project to share next. Oh, and my souvenir knits match. I guess I’m consistent! :)

   chicago_cowl-5

chicago_cowl-9The cowl kind of matches my eyes!

The cowl is simple enough – about 90 or 100 stitches, knit in the round, until I ran out of yarn. I really wanted a slightly narrower cowl that would stay closer to my neck, but I did not like the pooling that happened at around 65-70 stitches, so I went back to a larger circumference. And man, do I love the color. The variation of the greenish-yellow burnished gold layers so beautifully that I want to climb up into a tree with the changing leaves and be one with the tree. Or something like it. The color is just the best! (and…. not a stranger to the blog. I have so many projects with this mustardy color, not to mention the very header of the blog!)

As for the stitch pattern I think it is some variation on a brioche stitch (though I’m not quite sure what a brioche stich even is, so don’t hold me to this!). When knit flat every wrong side is knit, so purl bumps appear on the right side. Then the right side is done with alternately knitting a stitch and knitting into the stitch below. For the cowls knitted in the round I’ve purled every other row to achieve the same purl bumps on the right side.

I’ve used the same stitch pattern in this yellow cowl, the sweater I made in fashion school, and while not entirely the same, this honey cowl (now lost! Sad face.) used a similar slip/skew construction that breaks up color variation in a fun way. It’s pretty stunning in plain yarn too – I just finished some unselfish knitting, making a sweater where the whole back is in this squishy yummy pattern. I look forward to sharing some better pictures than the cell phone ones on the ravelry page, but all in good time.

chicago_cowl-1

Finally, a picture of a small piece of the lovely museum garden. I’m so glad I get to walk through parks every day on my way to work, or school, or downtown!

Anyone else playing camouflage with the pretty fall leaves nowadays?

i have plans… OAL-plans

I’m chipping away at my ufo-pile that I posted about last month… um, two months ago (how in the world did that happen?) – I’ve finished the Grainline Portside travel set and just need to stuff it with pillows and photograph it, tackled a few easy repairs, and gotten back into muslin making for the Robson coat. I’ve been telling myself to knock out these unfinished projects before starting anything new, but then Lauren and Andi’s Outfit Along shows up and disturbs all my plans! In the best way, of course.

DSC_7232

Lots of pops of pink on my sewing table! Really my family inherited dining table, but… um, covered in planned and potential sewing projects now. A lovely little corner of my lovely new apartment!

The Outfit Along is a challenge to, between June 1st and July 31st, knit one garment and sew one garment to create a complete outfit. Technically you’re meant to start from scratch, but reading Lauren’s post got me so very inspired to build an outfit around a half-finished cardigan (another Bayview Street Cardigan) that I’ve lacked the drive to finish, so I’m bending the rules as I see fit. :) It took me about ten seconds to decide on a pair of shorts, another ten to realize I had a pattern in my stash that would work well (Simplicity/Built by Wendy 3850 pants), a minute to dig out a fine-waled grey corduroy I think will be perfect, and (I will admit it) a whole day to land on a magenta crinkly chiffon underlined in dark brown-grey chiffon for a sleeveless Pattern Runway Pussy Bow Blouse.

Going through my UFO-pile made me realize I tend to abandon projects when I deviate too much from the pattern or instructions, and run into fitting issues or problems that require a bit of effort to work through. I want to finish these garments that I’m planning, not add to my pile of stuff – so I’ve decided to really hold back on alterations I make to these patterns. For the shorts I’ll raise the center front though, as I’ve seen that is a recurring comment from others who have made it, and for the blouse I want merge the ties and the collar stand instead of having a separate tie. I’ll probably also raise the underarm slightly since the blouse isn’t drafted to be sleeveless.

So, I’m going to finish a longstanding UFO, make two pieces of clothing I’ve been wanting in my wardrobe, using fabrics and patterns from the stash. Win, win, win, win, huh? I’m excited! Anyone else participating in the Outfit Along?

winter woolens

DSC_6745

DSC_6832

… or “Loki mittens and the third watch-cap”. It’s winter! I made wooly stuff I can wear! Let’s have a look.

Mittens
Yarn:
 Random scraps of yarn – most of it gifted balls of Icelandic yarn from the stash of a friend who’d been there.
Pattern: Made up, based on Loki sweater pattern. (my ravelry project page)
Techniques: Stranded colorwork, ribbing.

Cabled hat
Yarn:
 Merino wool from a frogged sweater.
Pattern: Cabled watch-cap by Kristen Orme
Techniques: Ribbing, cables.

So, the mittens are a figment of my imagination. Not in the sense that they aren’t real (they must be – the keep my hands warm every day!), but the pattern is made up. I came across the Loki kid sweater on Ravelry a really long time ago, and immediately thought they would make cool Icelandic-inspired mittens with some Icelandic coarse wool I’d just been given by a friend. It took several years to make this happen, but here! Finally!

DSC_6749
DSC_6752
I used the repeat pattern from the original kid sweater and repeated it eight times, following the decreases from the chart exactly. It made a sort of funny cone-like shape that isn’t the best for.. you know, hand-shapes. I’m on to the second pair (this time for a friend), and making improvements to get a proper hand shape instead. Meanwhile, I washed, blocked and stretched this pair, and it works just fine. It is very rustic looking – both in yarn and stitch quality! In my defense I will claim that the gorgeously colored green yarn (which a burn test revealed to be some sort of acrylic I think, though oddly stiff) was really hard to work with. I didn’t make it easier on myself either by choosing to combine three different weights of yarn! Especially in the middle section where all three colors are in play at once – it got thick and dense real fast. Surprisingly though, for being a stranded pattern *and* real sticky Icelandic wool, these mittens are not very warm. On their own they are barely good for a crisp fall day, which doesn’t quite describe the season we’re in. I wonder if the gauge might be too loose to get a real dense fabric? Regardless – a pair of thin gloves underneath and it’s all ok. Plus, I love how well these mittens match my woolen hats, and my winter jacket, and generally the rest of my wardrobe. I’ve decided they are kind of charming in their rustic-ness!

DSC_6798

I had a lot of fun knitting these mittens – I’ve forgotten how much I love doing colorwork! It is a fairly small project, and with changes to pretty much every row it is excellent entertainment… Just one more row! I have two more of this type planned out/started, and another fingering weight colorwork pair of mittens  at the top of my ravelry queue (this one). I’m thinking of using my Barcelona souvenir yarn and some thin brown alpacca yarn. It will be sumptuous!

DSC_6813

DSC_6859

Ok, and now the hat. It might look familiar. It’s the third time I’ve knit the exact same hat in the exact same yarn. I posted about the first time I knit this hat here (it ended up being to big and I gave it to a friend), and here is the post for the second one (which apparently I’ve lost).

I’m not quite sure what to say about this hat other than 1. I obviously love it since I’ve knit it three times, 2. I actually finally almost used up the rest of this merino wool! It came from a thrifted sweater and the yarn is so fine I’ve been knitting with four strands, 3. I like the wider ribbing of the second version the best, and 4. I’m particularly pleased with how I did the increases between the ribbing and the cabled pattern in such a way that the pattern grows naturally from the rib pattern.

DSC_6860

Oh, I wanted to talk a little about photo editing! That was a topic on Katie’s blog in connection with her Better Pictures post on indoor photography, as well as Gillian’s post on using Lightroom. Personally I use a combination of Bridge and Photoshop, which I have since I got a really great deal on the Adobe CS-package while still a student at an art college. Sidenote – there at school I took a digital photography class where we used Lightroom, and I thought it was really good, and easy to use. When my current set-up is outdated beyond repair, Lightroom would be my dream choice for blog photo editing.

The set-up I’ve got going now is pretty much a substitute to the Lightroom setup in many ways. I use a Nikon D600, and I have it set up to save in both RAW and jpeg formats. I got used to working with RAW-files in the digital photography class, and I’m just not going back if I can help it! There is so much information in the unprocessed files, which in many ways makes photo editing much easier, since there is more you can do before your photos look… you know, really edited. Anyways, I open my photoshoot folder in Bridge, and look through what I have. As I go along I label the pictures I like (you can use a star rating, or different colors). Then I filter to show only labeled photos, and start comparing and deselecting the good but not great ones. Once I have my selection I mark them all and open with Photoshop, which will go straight into RAW-editing mode. From there I can play with temperature, exposure, black level, brightness, recovery and fill light (the last two are great for overexposed white areas, and those times when the light source is behind me or not strong enough). Those are the things I pretty consistently adjust. I have set up an action to save my photos, so a keyboard shortcut will resize the photo optimized for web, into a folder I’ve specified, and close out the photo from Photoshop so I know I’m done with it. It works really well. I’m very in favor of actions – once you’ve taken the trouble of setting them up!

DSC_6835

I thought about all of this because while editing the photos I hit the auto-option for color temperature and general exposure (like I always do – at the very least I want to see what the program thinks I should do!), and it made the colors really warm, and it made for a nice-looking photo. My first thought however was “This is all wrong! It was a really cold day, with the sun setting early in the afternoon and I had a pale, low sun as the source of light. It should look cold!”. So I left the pictures looking a little cold. I’m not entirely sure what my point is, other than maybe that I edit the pictures to reflect how I think it looked or felt that day. Which this day was pretty damn chilly. I think maybe my frosty breath is visible in some of the pictures!

DSC_6864

Anyone else have a system or agenda with their photo editing? Or, use the “I’m just adjusting my hat/scarf/hair-pose to avoid awkward idle hands in photos? Or, have knitted some warm wintry goodness lately? It’s the season! (Or maybe… it’s the season for having them finished already so they can be put to use!)