A good pal stopped by the other day to exchange some fabric and goodies and brought with her the perfect pick-me-up for my office. Lilacs! The studio smells amazing. Hurray spring! Thanks again, M, they're perfect.
Since I couldn't make it to Maryland this year for the Sheep and Wool festival, I decided a smaller, closer to home festival would totally work instead. Saturday morning Kellee and I jumped in the car and fueled by Dunkin' headed up to New Hampshire to hit the fairgrounds.
Ms Melanie met us at the gate and we wandered around for hours shopping and blocking the aisles while we ran into a fewpals. If I was a better blogger, I'd have taken photos of all those folks we chummed around with, but no, camnesia strikes every time. Even the next day when Stitchy came up to play, I still didn't take any photos of humans. Maybe it's just the chill nature of NHSW? I have only this self-portrait from Sunday before we jumped back on the road to head home.
So instead of photos of my peeps, how about some goats?
And many many thanks from me for all the lovely comments on my 5th blogiversary post. I'll be sending a boxbag to super cutie Whistlepea! Thanks again everybody! I'll have an update with last month's Brain Tumour Foundation donation totals too, I'm just tallying up the numbers.
I don't tend to post as regularly as I like here, but I'm hoping to work on that over the next year. I'm trying to set a semi-regular(ish) schedule for myself. In the meantime though, if you're ever wanting to know what I'm up to, there's a few other places to find me. I'm not saying I'm posting with any regularity in any of these other places, (other than flickr) but I usually pop up every now and then.
I've dressed up a fancypants little page on Facebook for Splityarn (you have to login and search for "Splityarn" They don't let you link directly.) I'm Tweeting occasionally. And my new favourite is trolling flickr for photos to add to the Splityarn in the Wild photo pool. If you have a photo of something splityarn-y out in the world, join the group and add the photo! I'm LOVING seeing all the goodies out in their new homes.
Seems an appropriate way to celebrate 5 years of blogging; the Studio Raglan is finished. Finally!
The basic pattern for this started with Barbara Walker's Classic Raglan Pullover from Knitting from the Top. Realistically though, I only used the numbers for the cast-on and then just knit on my own from there. I was winging it almost the whole way but with a raglan, that's easy to do.
I'm fairly happy with how it came out, even if it's just a touch too big in the arms and the chest. When I knit the next version, I'll give myself less ease in the upper back and I'll increase even more at the hipline. I keep saying that the chest and hip measurements don't need to be equal in a sweater, but I shy away from really just going for it. Next time I'll just do it.
I was somewhat at a loss for how to finish the neckline in a way that would complement the pink edging on the hems so I flipped through Nancy Wiseman's The Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques. Ooooh! Applied i-cord edge! Perfect height and easy to try. (The Purl Bee has a great tutorial for it.) I think it works well for this application and it allowed me to reshape some of the scoop neck wonkiness at the collarbone where I was testing out increase rates.
And 5 years of blogging! I'm kind of shocked really. Thank you all for reading! I wouldn't still be doing this if it weren't for all the comments and notes and feedback. (Actually, I would probably still be doing it, it just wouldn't be as fun.) As is the custom, please leave a comment and next week I'll randomly pick a winner who will receive a splityarn boxbag as a prize. Hurray for 5 years!
Sometimes in the 365 Days project inspiration can be lacking (did I forget to mention I'm doing year 2?) Occasionally on one of those days, a throw-away shot can inspire an entire week. So you just never know when or where that inspiration will come. You just keep plugging away and kabam! There it is.
Back in November, Minty cast on and knit an amazing sweater in under two weeks. (It's gorge, you have to go look.) When I saw how quickly it was all coming together, I thought to myself, hey! I can do that. And I could do it, I'm pretty sure, but like a lot of things I plan to do, I didn't. I came really close though.
I'd been wearing Husband Sweater #2 in my office for a few weeks and decided that I needed my own sweater to work in. It needed to be a little more feminine, with less than the 10 inches of ease that the Husband sweater has on me. I was thinking top-down raglan, three quarter length sleeves, deep scoop neck (I have that pullover-strangulation fear thing) and turned hems. Easy. I ran into Woolcott in Harvard Square and bought the last 4 balls of Hempwol (35% hemp, 65% wool) they had in Italian Plum.
I swatched, measured, cast on and knit like the wind. After a week, I had most of the body finished.
But as sometimes happens, the first problem you encounter where you have to rip back, some of the magic goes out of the project. It went like this:
Knit the body and bind off. Needs more waist shaping. Rip back and add more increases to offset womanly curves. Finish the body and bind off. Knit first sleeve and bind off. Begin second sleeve and knit to two inches before bind off, run out of yarn. Swear. Rip back both sleeves. Reknit first sleeve with less ease. Pretty! Reknit second sleeve and halfway through and still run out of yarn
Run to Woolcott to procure more yarn. No more Italian Plum. Swear. Buy pink Hempwol instead. Swear more when ripping of sleeve and body becomes necessary to add in pink hems. Stall for 2 months. Rip a few inches back on body, sub in pink, reknit and bind off. Rip back on first sleeve, sub in pink, reknit and bind off.
And that gets you to where I am right now. Half a sleeve left to knit and I'll be finished. Just in time for warmer weather and no need for sweaters. The silly part is that I've been working really hard to lose some weight and by next year, this sweater is going to be too big. Turns out the 4 balls of Hempwol would have done the trick, but then that wouldn't have been any fun, right?
As most folks know, I spend a lot of time trolling around on flickr. I love photography and all the quirky and odd things you can do to manipulate an image. A few years ago I stumbled across the Through the Viewfinder group. I was completely captivated by all the images. Seriously. All of them. It was like there wasn't a bad photographer in the group. I quietly bookmarked a few of the links found therein and filed it all under 'someday.'
A few weeks ago, the ever clever and talented Ms Soto started posting her own TtV (as the cool kids call it) photos. Ever the bandwagon jumper, I quickly followed her lead and snagged myself a old camera to use.
It's a really cheap and easy set up if you're looking to try it out. Kodak used to make the Duaflex series of film cameras where the viewfinder is a bubble-ish dome on the top of the camera. The basic TtV set up is to take a photo of the viewfinder of the Duaflex. The beauty of the whole process is that the Duaflex doesn't even have to be a functioning camera. The dust that comes on the mirror only adds to the mood of the resulting photos. You can pick up and old one on Ebay for anywhere from $2 to $20.
Once you get the Duaflex, you build what's called The Contraption. Basically it's a light blocking tube that you put between your digital camera (the top camera) and the Duaflex (the bottom camera.) You can find a ton of tutorials online on how to build one. The best place to start is the links in the main TtV flickr group page. I used the cardboard from a Ginger Ale fridge pack. After that, head outside (you'll need plenty of light) and snap away. A square crop and pinch of post-processing later and you have some funky photos!
I've had this post in my head for a few years now. I've been delaying and putting it off because ultimately, it's really hard to write. I'm sure it will be cathartic once it's out there, but for now the words don't flow easily.
10 years ago, January, my dad died of a brain tumour. It's one of those things that sort of snuck up on us and seemed to happen really quickly. He was diagnosed in the Fall of 1997 and by January 1999, he was gone. I don't talk about it much because really, what can you say. It sucks, but it happened and ultimately you have to grieve and just keep moving forward. I carry with me the things that he taught me and think about him often. My love of photography, cats and the skills to build a kitchen on my own are just some of those things. He wasn't here to see me buy my first house, or meet the man I married, but I carry his strength and corny jokes with me wherever I go.
While he was sick, and for a long time afterwards, my Mum got a lot of support from the folks involved with the National Brain Tumor Foundation. It was the first email list she'd ever joined and was her first connection with the friendship and help you can get from strangers on the internet. (Which may be why she doesn't think it weird that I met a lot of my friends online.)
To mark this 10th anniversary (April was his birthday month,) I wanted to do some special and give back a little. I struggled with how to go about it in a way that makes sense and allows my friends to get involved. I had a few ideas in mind that I'll put in play eventually, but for this year, I'm going to donate 10% of all the April sales of the Splityarn shop to the National Brain Tumor Society. Hopefully the donation will help another family like mine get some support when they need it.
On that note, this isn't exactly the happiest of shop updates, but there it is. The newest set of boxbags are up and there will be more to come. If you're not so much interested in buying anything and would rather just donate a few bucks, I'd love it if you did it in Bob Benna's name. Thanks for letting me fumble through this y'all, it means a lot to me.
It feels like winter has dragged on forever in Boston. For the first time in years I've been longing for a little bit of Spring. Just a hint, a teaser that warmer weather is coming. Instead of waiting around here, we took a long weekend and zipped down to Nashville to visit some pals.
Y'all, it is most definitely spring in Nashville. Trees are blooming, flowers are coming up and the best part, it's backyard hanging out weather. Our pals cranked up the smoker for us and we spent three days just hanging around sipping beers, eating ribs and catching up. It was exactly what the doctor ordered. Thank you Nashville! You've made it that much easier to get back to work.
I'm furiously working behind the scenes to prep for a decent-sized shop
update tomorrow afternoon at 4pm (Eastern.) If all goes well, I should
have a metric tonne of wee pouches in some cute new fabrics along with
matching long pouches. I also finished up some great SLR camera straps
in a cool faux-bois, some dark chocolate houndstooth and in my
favourite OMG Robots! fabric.
No box bags this time, they'll be in the March 31st update when we're back from Nashville. I'm adding all the official shop update times to the google calendar I set up, so please let me know if it's not working correctly. I *think* I got it right, but I can't quite tell from my end.
Remember waaaaaaaaay back in September of 2006 when I started that brown coin quilt? This weekend I finally finished it. Normally on Saturdays the last thing I want to do is spend another 8 hours in front of the sewing machine (hazards of sewing for a living) but I was feeling the need for an FO.
The quilt top had been finished for a while, so all that needed to be done was to baste the top to the backing and batting and quilt the darn thing. I chose the Heather Ross tadpoles for the back and some Warm & Natural cotton batting from the stash. I didn't bother to baste with fancypants pins or anything;the quilt wasn't that big to start with, so there was no need. I marked the quilting lines in chalk and was off to the races.
I usually machine sew the bindings to finish, but I've never really been satisfied with the end results. This time I sewed the bias strips on like I normally do (Heather Bailey has a great tutorial) and then handstitched the binding down on the bottom side. 100% better! I'm not much for the love of hand sewing, but this was more like mattress stitch in knitting. Invisible! Magic! (Thanks to Carolyn for pointing me in the right direction with the blind stitching.)
A quick trip through the washing machine to get the chalk lines off and she was done. Whew!
I've pulled all the photos from start to finish and put them all in a flickr set here. Whew! Done!