Friday, June 24, 2011


Two days ago I cast on for the Brown Cow for my daughter....

Yesterday I cast-on for a design swatch (top secret, sorry).

This evening I cast on for the Popping Pansies pillow (sorry for the blurry picture).

This evening I bought more yarn and more fabric so that I can make this strawberry pillow too...

... you know, just in case I don't have anything else to work on this weekend.

Monday, June 20, 2011

... and a bit of knitting

Yup, it's been a productive week for me: two sewing projects completed and two knitting projects completed.

Recently, an adorable little knitting book, Spud and Chloe at the Farm, hit the bookshelves. It was written by the very talented Susan B. Anderson. The book is an "adventure" knitting book. Doesn't that sound neat? It is. She designed knitted toy characters for Blue Sky Alpacas' sister company, Spud and Chloe (a line of machine washable yarns in cheerful colors) and created a book filled with knitted animals that Chloe (a little girl) and Spud (her sidekick sheep) meet on the way to a party at a farm. The Spud and Chloe yarn lines are soft, wearable and fun to knit with, but that product review is for another post.

When I heard this book reviewed on Never Not Knitting's podcast ( a must-listen), I knew I had to acquire this book fast. After picking it up at the local bookstore, both my daughter and I fell under its spell. Not only are the characters unbelievably cute to look at, but at the end of the book, there is a multi-paged story (in comic-strip format) for children! So now Emma refers to this book as "hers" and demands I read it to her regularly. She frequently carries the book around the house, making it challenging to make headway on my plan...

Ah, the plan. Somewhere in my mind I thought it would be a brilliant idea to make all of the characters and barn and accessories for my daughter for Christmas. I'm crazy, right? Yep. So I've narrowed it down to about 7 items/animals from the book (out of 13) that hope to be completed by December 25.

One down....

Meet Little Lamb.

He was made from stash yarn, Debbie Bliss' Pure Cotton. Not a huge fan of this yarn, it felt a little raw and ( in my experience) needed to be knit at a much tighter gauge than the label suggests, but he turned out pretty cute. Next on the queue is Brown Cow, who conveniently uses the same yarn colors, thus helping me destash a little. I will have to order some Spud and Chloe Sweater yarn soon to make the rest. Aw, shucks. I have to order yarn.... it's a tough life...

So the other project I finished this week has quickly become my most favorite sweater project EVER. The Castle Pullover, from Quince and Company, was a dream to knit. Clear directions, simple lace pattern, top-down construction and the best part- it fits beautifully - which believe me is a difficult concept for a full-figured lady! I used Quince and Co.'s Lark yarn, which is their worsted weight yarn, in the colorway Storm. 

What do you think?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Just a bit of sewing

When you're in a crafting slump, what gets you motivated and inspired to pick up your tools, dust of your creativity and get to work? For me, seeing other people's fantastic finished products gets my creative juices flowing.

This past week, a couple friends from my local knitting group had taken a sewing course at Craft Akron and each walked away with a beautifully constructed and quite adorable tote. Both friends chose cheerful coordinating prints (one even used a pocket from an old dress!) and after seeing these creations in person, I couldn't help but feel inspired to dust off my Mom's old sewing machine.

So here's what I accomplished over two mornings of sewing this week:


Both projects are really for my daughter and both patterns came from the addicting One Yard Wonders book.

The "Beanbag Booster Seat"  was made from oilcloth I had picked up at The Sassy Tassel in Litiz, Pennsylvania (a seriously charming little town with some decadent cafes and terrific shoppes) last summer when visiting my Mom. I had bought this fabric with this project specifically in mind and for whatever reason it took me a whole year to make it.

The "Not-Ugly Trash Bag" was made with Michael Miller fabric - love his prints - picked up from the same shop in Litiz. I have to admit that this project was super easy but made both my head and bobbin spin out of control toward the end. The bobbin would not comply when sewing a box stitch on the straps (to the seam on the bag itself). So what should have taken maybe 30 seconds of active sewing took 30 minutes. The final product is okay... just okay. I'm not happy with how the straps are attached to the seams and I think I should have used the contrasting (striped) fabric for the straps instead of the owl print, but hey... you sew and learn. That's life. 

The bag is not fulfilling it's purpose as a trash bag. Instead, I have stuffed it with toys and crayons and books to entertain my toddler in the car.

And the booster seat?

Well, let's just say that somebody reeeeeeeeally likes that:)

Monday, June 13, 2011

I'm obsessed...

...with Quince & Co. Yes, totally obsessed.

Quince & Co. is a yarn and pattern company based in Portland, Maine. They sell yarn that is 100% American wool- aka everything is sourced and spun here in the States. That's a nice change isn't it? The thinkers behind this brand are none other than the famous Pam Allen and Carrie Bostick Hoge.  Aside from selling American-based yarn in yummy colorways and offering fresh, wearable designs, wanna hear the best part? Everything is affordable. Oh yeah, I said affordable. For example, their worsted weight yarn, Lark, is only $6/ hank (134 yards)!

I've had the pleasure of knitting with their bulky weight yarn, Puffin, and worsted weight yarn, Lark. Puffin survived a terrible battle with me. I knit a sweater three times (yep, that means I frogged it 3 times too!) and then made a poncho and the yarn held up beautifully. I' m currently wrapping up the Castle Pullover in Lark (in Storm) today. And I have to say this yarn is soft, springy, and a dream to knit with. What can I say, I'm in love.

Okay, back to the obsession part. So, here is how I know that my love of this fabulous yarn and pattern company has evolved into obsession:

1. I check their website daily (that's right, I said daily) for updates on patterns (even though I already receive the company newsletters with updates in them) and to peruse the enchanting pictures of all of those beautiful hanks in so many gorgeous colorways.

2. Looking at the crystal clear photographs of the yarn is like yarn-porn. I can't get enough. It has a powerful pull that makes me come back again and again fantasizing about all of the beautiful projects I could make with each of the six different yarns.

3. I joined the Quince & Co. Ravelry group... oh... and I check that daily too.

4. When I received a reply email from the company after inquiring about some out-of-stock colorways, I moved the email to a special folder just because I couldn't bare to delete anything written by Pam Allen. Yes, Pam Allen, is in my inbox permanently.

5. I have a very concise plan to order yarn from Q & C once a month for the next six months (husband permitting, of course) . And here is what I plan to make:

I know this isn't a Q &C pattern (It's actually called Whale Watch Hat by Kate Gagnon Osborn from New England Knits) but I plan to use Tern yarn to make it. I have wanted to make this hat ever since I first saw it in New England Knits. Happily, my mother gave me the book for Christmas. So I think it's high time I make something from it.

 I also plan to make Carrie Bostick Hoge's Bergen Cowl with Lark (which  I can tell you from experience is a heavenly wool).

... and hopefully I'll get around to this Kilkenny Cowl by the fabulous Pam Allen using Chickadee yarn.

I might push this one off until the Spring. The Emma Shrug (naturally I have to make this because of the name) is made with their most recent yarn addition, Sparrow, a 100% linen in a natural color. So popular that they sold out and had to restock!

And I'm pretty sure my daughter, Emma, needs to have this in her fall wardrobe - knit in Chickadee, a sport weight wool.

And since she's getting a hat, why can't I? Jared Flood's Laurel pattern is calling my name... to be made in Lark (in Peacock), I believe.

So, are you getting the picture? Obsessed. Totally obsessed.