FO: Fail.

I had recently spent a night at a friend’s place (who is an interior designer, so I shouldn’t feel badly) and coveted her beautiful apartment on the spot. Not the location, not the price, but just the way it felt. You walked in and instantly knew that this was a great apartment- the walnut floors, the dove grey walls, that just-so mash of furniture and textures that looks unstudied, but is actually the product of great style and years of practice. There were even peonies wilting perfectly in the summer heat on the dining room table. It was like walking into a magazine. And I was jealous.

Now, I’m the kind of person who refuses to feel jealous. I’m convinced that people are the architects of their own lives, and that if we want something to be different, then we damn well have to change it ourselves.

So, G and I walked around our cluttered, poorly organized apartment and talked. We talked about the design styles we both like, parts of the decor that were working, parts that weren’t. And what we were going to do about it. And how we were going to get started right away.

One of our biggest challenges is storage, and the fact that my yarn stash pretty much consumes it. I spent several hours hauling out my yarn stash and carefully cataloging it in a spreadsheet:
(oddly blurred screenshot. This is only a small portion of the spreadsheet!)

Which was really useful, because now I find myself hunting for specific projects that will deplete the stash. I’m not on a yarn diet, but I feel like I just need to be smarter with what I’ve got. So, the perfect storm of wanting to be more decisive about my decor, and needing to use up some stash, is how I ended up attempting a big puff:Pattern: Puff Daddy

Needles: 15mm

Yarn: 5 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun, held 5 together

Mods: none

Notes: Okay, this is a total and utter fail. My puff does not look anything like the pattern puff. Last night, while staring at this weird thing, I realized that it’s because the giant rectangle that you are supposed to knit (and then join and seam) wasn’t long enough, resulting in not enough expansion room to round out the puff to it’s preferred dimensions. I think it would have been more helpful if the pattern noted the dimensions of the rectangle.

G looked at it, and helpfully suggested that if we rearranged the stuffing it might improve. I tried to rearrange the stuffing, then he tried to rearrange the stuffing. It would round out one side, but then collapse and dent the other side because it was being pulled too tightly. Which means that I either have to a) frog and re-use the yarn for something else, or b) buy more of the same yarn. Which is frustrating- I was trying to destash it!!

Although, I will say that this yarn seems really well suited to the pattern, and the price is excellent. I know a lot of people turn their nose up at Walmart-stocked yarns, but for something that will take a beating on the floor of your place, you probably want something hard wearing and and won’t cause you to freak out if someone spills wine on it.

Now, to wipe away the image of failure from your eyeballs, please feast your eyes on these AMAZING knitted chairs at Melanie Porter.

Eye Candy

Have you seen the latest issue of Knitscene? I’m in love with it, there are so many great projects. Particularly high on my hit list are these two numbers:

And then I love these(minus the stripes):

I’m also really intrigued by this: I’m never quite sure what I think of ribbon yarn- it seems to knit up in a bulky, vaguely unflattering way, but maybe this knit will break the ribbon yarn curse. Hmm. Longer sleeves, of course.

Also, in my daily tour de blogs, I somehow came across this great knitwear designer. I love her ethereal knits- all that big gauge but fine yarn airiness. Just lovely.

Modification Monday: Collette Pullover

Original Pattern: Colette Pullover

Knitter Extraordinaire: Momo (Ravelry id, Flickr id)

Mods: Changed the colourwork from cat heads to a diamond motif, with a blue doggie and heart border design around the hem and cuffs.

What Makes This Awesome: Over all, I love this sweater, but there are two things in particular that I really love. 1: the border design added to the cuffs and hem above the ribbing. I really like the detail, and add a certain extra something to the pullover. 2: there is meaning behind the sweater- she knit it in honour of her beloved dog, who is quite old, blind, and deaf. When I think of meaningful knits, This is the perfect example- knitting something to commemorate something important to you. You can read more about her sweet doggie (and see photos) here.
She has a lot of beautiful projects, particularly when it comes to stranded colourwork. check out her project page!

Modification Mondays: Nerdy Neiman

Original Pattern:

Knitter Extraordinaire: Jen (Rav id ; Flickr id)

Mods: Used the construction of Neiman but changed the colourwork to include more of the body, as well as one sleeve. Oh, and changed the colourwork to include charted characters from the classic (and seriously awesome) video game, Space Invaders. More information is on her Ravelry project page.

What Makes this Awesome:Well, the space invaders, obviously. This is the kind of cool colourwork that has people asking you where you got that sweater every single time you wear it in public. I’m also impressed that this project was undertaken as both a de-stash and Ravelympics project- that means that she knit this entire sweater in 16 days. With stranded colourwork. And a heavily modified pattern. Seriously impressive!!

I have to admit I’m considering shamelessly copying here idea- it’s such a clever sweater, and a great modification- taking a well constructed sweater design and using it as the canvas for your own colourwork idea.

The Endless WIP, and a Quick FO

I’ve been quietly working away on the Apres Surf Hoodie for a couple of weeks now, after I joined the mini KAL that started on Ravelry recently. I’ve also been working on the Leyburn sock. Although in a fit of cleaning I tucked it somewhere safe and cat-proof, and when I was taking photos, I couldn’t find it. You know how it goes.

I knit, every day. So you’d think I’d be making some good progress, right?

WRONG. I have no idea what’s up with my knitting at the moment. I was having a lot of difficulty with the Leyburn sock, so I frogged it, decided to give it a couple weeks so I could cool off, and then I’d try it again. I’ve recently cast on for it again, but it is currently little more than a toe pocket.

As for the Apres Surf Hoodie, which I’m calling my Reading Hoodie (I don’t surf, but I have read 5 books so far while knitting it…), I made the decision to knit it in the round instead of separately front and back. I figured I’d save myself an evening of seaming in lace, which seemed so clever at the time. But then my brain decided to have tremendous difficulty in adapting the pattern for working in the round (possibly because 4 of the 5 books I was reading were the Twilight series…bloody distracting books!), particularly when it came into increasing in the pattern. Le sigh.

So in the mean time, I decided to churn out a quick knit just to keep my knitting morale up:
Pattern: Mary Jane Booties

Needles: 3.5 mm

Yarn: Stash DK weight, fingering weight for embroidery details

Mods: I went up .5 a needle size, since they seem to be very small. I’m glad I did, I think it helped a bit. And, of course, the embroidery- just a little extra detail to make them extra pretty.

Notes: These were a very quick knit. I knit both booties in the same day, and then embroidered on the details the next day. buttons were harder to find, but ta-da! I’m really pleased with how they turned out.
With all the people I know who are pregnant, one of my goals this summer/fall is to stockpile some baby knits, as I know of three new babies that will be coming into my circle of family and friends between August and October of this year. Hopefully one of them will be a girl, so they can receive these lovely little mary janes. And if not- well, I know that these are not the last babies that will be coming my way. I’ll just stockpile!