Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Project 333

After reading about the project on Bev's blog, I thought long and hard about whether to do Project 333.  I love the idea of a minimalist but highly functional wardrobe.  I really don't have that many clothes.  Actually, strike that.  I don't have that many clothes THAT FIT.

wardrobe - missing, brown canvas jacket
Months upon months upon years of having "the blues" has left me with an uninspired wardrobe that was meant to "make-do" until I got back into the clothing that I still own and love, but cannot wear.  The only problem? I haven't worn my wool skirts since 2006.  My nice winter jacket won't button across my bust.  I have been "making-do" in my closet for far too long.

So I am taking the Project 333 challenge.  I will be restricting my wardrobe to 33 items for 3 months, including shoes, outerwear, and jewelry.  (Thank goodness gym-wear, unmentionables, and pjs don't count, that would be more than I could deal with on a day-to-day basis.)  And I will be working at getting back into my favorite clothes. I am tired of being uninspired by my own closet!

cashmere & textured shawl - missing grey swing cardigan & yoked cardigan  

My list for the next three months:

4 pairs of pants
3 sweaters
1 shawl
1 leather jacket
1 canvas jacket
1 pair flats
1 pair earth shoes
1 pair black boots
1 pair brown clogs
2 necklaces
2 pairs of earrings
1 bracelet
1 pair handknit mittens
2 long-sleeve t-shirts
6  t-shirts
1 knit top
2 button down blouses
1 silk shirt
1 briefcase bag

shoes - missing - earth shoes

    I reserve the right to replace items that fall apart.  My favorite black scoop neck t-shirt is getting pinholes at the hemline. And it will survive a few more weeks, but after that I am not so sure.  I also reserve the right to replace items that get stained or otherwise unwearable due to my own clumsiness. 

  My other caveat?  If I finish knitting a sweater I can add it to my wardrobe without taking something out. I can't imagine I will be able to finish more than two sweaters in three months.  But if I am knitting myself a garment, dammit, I am going to wear it!

I may have to make strategic changes to my choices. I always forget how cold I get in Michigan in winter.  But as I downsize myself, I hope that I can bring back in my favorite clothing, rather than gather more uninspired pieces.  

Project 333 starts on Friday.  I guess I will enjoy my sandals until then!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Little Acorn Hat

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Where I live in mid-Michigan acorn nuts start falling from the trees in late August, often coming down still green and then ripen into dark red brown nuts.  Our back yard is full of squirrels trying to store away their winter supplies, and the dog is beside himself trying to chase every last squirrel out of our yard.  Last Monday I got a bee in my bonnet to knit an acorn hat.  So I bought the yarn, cast on, did some calculations and ta-DA!

Great Oaks from Little Acorns Grow

This adorable little acorn hat is available in preemie, newborn, baby, and toddler sizes.

It takes two balls of Mission Falls 1824 wool in different colors.

The leaf embellisment is not included in the pattern, but can be found in Lesley Stanfield's book, 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet, St. Martin's Press, p. 56

Pattern: Little Acorn Hat, a meg croft design
Yarn: 2 balls Mission Falls 1824 wool. 1 ball color 008, Earth (cap color) and 1 ball 014, Dijon (nut color). 
Needles: US 6 DPNS
Gauge: 5 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch
Available for purchase now on Ravelry.

I made my acorn with a greenish nut, but you can also choose a reddish brown - Mission Falls 1824 wool in Russett, color 010 would be perfect.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Out the window

Knitting activity has slowed down a little bit in the last week - mostly due to some aching in my wrists.  I would like to avoid carpal tunnel if at all possible. So while I am still knitting, I am also icing my wrists, and wearing a brace on my right wrist at night.

But make no mistake, I am still knitting up a storm.  Since I last blogged I have completed two more hats, have nearly knit one mitten, and have gotten to the final stages of a pattern edit.  Not too shabby.

Instead of knitwear, I will leave you with a photo taken through the window.  There are many different kind of squirrels that live in our neighborhood. We have Eastern Grey Squirrels, Fox Squirrels, Black Squirrels (a mutation of the Eastern, or so I am told), and Red Squirrels.

When I lived back East, Red Squirrels were a little smaller than Easterns, and sometimes had little tufty ears.  In Michigan, Red Squirrels are much smaller, in fact, they are slightly larger than a chipmunk.
Red Squirrel
Oh, so cute!  I took about thirty photographs of this little guy.  Who could resist?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Friday Night Hat

Friday Night Hat
What happens when you have three complimentary partial balls of yarn leftover from other projects and a Friday night free because your husband has law school homework?

A stash-busting bonanza!  For those of you knitters not in the know, the Stash n' Burn group on Ravelry has another thread devoted to those knitters who want to knit down their stash yardage.  Coldsheeping takes dedication and almost constant vigilance.  Distraction comes from all corners - online sales, LYSs offering fantastic sales, souvenir skeins.  But the guidelines are pretty basic - give yourself a window of time to NOT buy new yarn, and to only knit from your stash.  My first go around I went 6 months without buying a single skein.  I bought patterns, books, notions and accessories, but no yarn.  I have strayed recently - there was a reward yarn purchase (from working the Woven Art booth at Stitches Midwest, and there was the purchase of a sweater's worth of yarn from Miss Babs at Stitches Midwest. But overall I have been very good.  I think my next goal is to avoid buying yarn until I have knit up three sweaters.  And I have all three picked out already. Let's see if they stick!

Pattern: Friday Night Hat just something I put together last minute
Yarn: Purples: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. Beige: Debbie Bliss Merino Aran
Needles: US 8
Formula: Cast on 96 stitches, rib 2x2 for 1 inch, then knit for 5.5 inches.  Begin decreasing, and pull end through when you have less than 10 stitches left.

Slightly slouchy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Preparing for winter

At a certain point at the end of the summer one just can't eat another tomato.  (Or zucchini, but that is another tale from childhood.)  The roasting has begun, and my house is filled with the scent of tomatoes and garlic.
Four orange tomatoes and one red.
Winter pastas and soups with roasted tomatoes. A bit of summer in the depth of winter.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Childhood Memories

Black-eyed Susans always remind me of my paternal grandfather who died when I was very young, his yellow house, and my dad showing me how to burn holes in paper with a magnifying glass.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fall Swing

My knitting mojo has really kicked in recently, at least for making hats.  I am averaging a hat every two days, and almost all of those will be going to charity.  Little pockets of space are opening up in my stash bins, and I can rummage through them now without creating overflow.  Ideally?  I would empty out one complete bin (the one that is cracked and missing a corner) and not get a bin to replace it.

Charity Spiral Snuggler
Pattern: Spiral Snuggler by Kalamazoo Knits
Yarn: no name chinese lopi-esque wool
Needles: US 8
Mods: none

I am loving the fall weather that has arrived in Michigan.  I am preparing the household for winter - knitting, roasting, freezing, stockpiling vegetables and fruits.  I sure do wish I could smell the lovely scent of roasting chili from my days in Albuquerque.  But a cobbled together tortilla soup recipe may help with that nostalgia.

I am hoping that I might be able to go apple picking next weekend.  Homemade applesauce, cobblers, and pies are in my near future.  And gosh, I want to bake Dilly bread. There is not enough time in the day!  And perhaps more importantly, not enough room in my freezer.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Snail Hat

I loved all the offers of baked goods - so much so that I baked a lemon blueberry bundt cake to celebrate my move from blog-city to blogger.  The bundt cake is mostly gone now, but will be replaced shortly with a carrot cake.  This spring I joined the local CSA at Michigan State University, and I can honestly say that I have received carrots every single week.  That is a lot of carrots!  Hence an alarming frequency of carrot cakes.  Not that P is complaining.  Anybody have any good recipes for carrots?  Because I am getting desperate!

Knitting from my stash continues, and I have another finished hat.
Snail Hat by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Pattern: Snail Hat from Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Schulana Capo-Nord, a new bulky weight yarn, 100g, 98 yards in grey.
Needles: US 10.5
Mods: None!  Multiple versions of this hat have been published by EZ, this version is a five spiral hat.

The truly amazing thing about this hat and yarn combination?

The Remainder
I had less than 12 inches left of the yarn by the time I bound off - and that includes the remainder of the long tail cast-on. Whew!  That was close.

This is a new bulky yarn by Schulana, and it has a wonderful twist and bounce.  The stitch definition is fantastic - if I had more than one ball of this I would have made a cabled hat.  The yarn came into my stash a few weeks ago as a gift, and now it goes out again as a charity knit.... although a part of me wants to keep this hat.

Dang.  Nope. It is getting donated, and I won't look back.

And, seriously? Send carrot-related recipes!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Welcome to the Yarn Lab

Relocations are never easy, and after six years of blogging at Blog-City under the name Nepenthe's Misadventures I have had to move due to the closing of Blog-City.  I have no idea how long my archives will last there.  Ideally, I will have my entire history transfered here.  Ideally, I would also have the time to do this.

In an effort (ongoing I should say) to clean out my yarn stash I am participating in Single Skein September 2010.  Loosely organized by Stash n' Burn podcast listeners on the groups' Ravelry board, the challenge is to knit up your single skeins during the month of September.  There is no way I will get through all my single skeins, so I am concentrating on skeins that are more than four years old.  Coincidentally, my LYS has a charity knitting challenge for six weeks from September through October, so most of my single skein projects will be hats headed for donation.

My first hat is done!
Raining Down Hat

Pattern: Rain Down Hat by Robyn Devine
Needles: US 6 & 7 done magic loop.
Size: medium - youth
Yarn: Sunny Mountain chinese lopi-esque yarn in red/pink from deep in my stash, and leftover bits of Stonehedge Fiber Mill's Shepherd's Wool in granite.
Mods: none.  Although, there is no suggested gauge for this pattern, so I may have been way off.  Next time I will do a large, as the medium really is a youth size in this yarn.

Gosh, that red/pink really doesn't photograph well, does it? Yikes!  It looks more eye-searing in the photograph than it does in person.

If you have come over from my old blog please leave a comment to say hi. And if you are new, please say hi too!  I am hoping that with this new blog I may actually be able to respond to comments, something that was nearly impossible for me to do at Blog-city.