October 2007

Mrs. Darcy is completely finished!  This is the first sweater I’ve managed to take modeled photos of, too.  It involved precariously perching my camera on a ledge, but I think they turned out pretty well.  Not a huge variety of shots, but it’s better than nothing!

I am really happy with how it turned out.  The buttons are some pretty generic ones that I picked up at Fabric Outlet.  I’ve since found some button retailers (recommended on the Bay Area Ravelry group), so if I find better ones in the future I may switch them out.  For now, though, I like that they match the red tweedy flecks.

The yarn is Beaverslide Fisherman weight wool.  It felt fairly soft while knitting, but it’s even better after washing/blocking.  I had 4 skeins of this, and I thought I might cut it close, but I have over a whole skein left!  Of course, this sweater doesn’t have a lot of coverage in the front, so it uses less yarn than one would expect.  The design works out perfectly for the Northern California climate, though.  You really never need a big wool sweater that covers everything, especially in a bulky gauge.  Not like that will deter me in the future…

I finished the knitting at the beginning of September, and I had the body seamed up, but it took me a month to tackle the sleeves.  They really weren’t as bad as I thought, and I like how they came out.  I like top down sweaters, but I also like knitting in pieces.  I really don’t mind seaming (the magic of mattress stitch still amazes me), and it can be very satisfying to bind off a piece in the middle of the project, instead of have endless stockinette until the entire body is done.  I think both methods have their merits.

This sweater is versatile and comfortable.  It’s awesome for the days I am stuck in the temperature controlled warehouse at work.  Usually I wear a scarf and I’m still cold, but with this sweater I stay toasty all day.

I’ve been mainly knitting smaller things the past few weeks, and I picked up MS3 again.  I’m almost done with clue 5.  I’m trying to mentally gear up for NaKniSweMo.  It would be awesome to have another cardigan done before December.  It’s going to take perseverance to completely finish a sweater in a month, but I think it’s good motivation.  Who else is doing it?  What do you have planned?  If you’re on Ravelry, there is a NaKniSweMo knitalong!


Though my sewing skills are extremely limited, I have managed a few small projects since I got my sewing machine last Christmas. They have been few and far between, usually because I convince myself that getting out the sewing machine is a big ordeal and I don’t have enough time or energy to deal with it. There’s also the prep work, like cutting fabric, that I don’t enjoy as much as the actual sewing. Knitting and crocheting, on the other hand, are easily picked up from the baskets next to my favorite chair. There’s no large equipment, and no big cleanup when I’m done. My little embroidery experimentation a few weeks ago had some of those same small, portable benefits and I really enjoyed that new medium. I like branching out beyond my comfort zone and building my skills in other areas. I suppose I risk stretching myself too thin over too many crafts, but for me, the bottom line is that I’m enjoying what I’m doing. My unquenchable thirst for knowledge and expertise means I’ll always be going in a zillion different directions.

I got an email from Stitch Lounge about their second book. I went to add it to my Amazon wish list and I started clicking around to some other newish sewing books that I hope might motivate me to go beyond my knitting needles.

(click on pictures to link to Amazon)

I think that right now my sewing, etc. goals are for small projects that help me master different techniques. I don’t have a huge interest in making full garments at this point, but I am interested in altering/refashioning (hence, Subversive Seamster). I have a few too-big tshirts laying around that I want to fit me. Mainly, though, I want to do little projects that a) won’t take a lot of time to complete (one or two sittings), and b) will make awesome little gifts for the upcoming holidays and other occasions. I also don’t really like knitting small fiddly things like stuffed animals, but I think sewing them would be much more enjoyable.

If anyone has other suggestions for good books or patterns, feel free to send them along! Hopefully I won’t be all talk and no action on this.

This weekend was a busy one, but in the fun way, not the getting-stuff-done way. I spent the majority of it in the city, being social and enjoying the still-sunny weather. It rained all day Friday while I was at work, but it let up by 6 when I left so I ventured out to Casanova Lounge in the Mission. I happily drank draft PBR and made fun of greasy hipsters like the Jack White wannabe. We took transit and stayed in the Sunset with friends so there would be no misadventures trying to get back to Alameda. I experienced Underdog for the first time the next morning, where I tried a Veggie Bratwurst; good, but I might go for the meaty one next time. I was able to meet up with my little sis the next day, and we headed back to the Mission. We did some thrifting, and I hit up one of my new favorite coffee shops, Ritual Roasters on Valencia. I hadn’t noticed the first time, but they have TONS of vegan pastries (like a huge selection of loaf breads). And of course, delicious macchiatos. I had some luck at Fabric Outlet with possible supplies for my Halloween costume and some buttons for my Mrs. Darcy cardigan. The buttons are a little big so I might get something else, but it’s taking forever to dry from blocking.

I headed back to my house after being away for over 24 hours. After a relaxing evening and sleeping in on Sunday morning, a friend said she was going to Japantown, which I can never pass up. We of course went to Ichiban Kan, the Japanese discount chain where useful (or not-so-useful) adorable items always find their way into my basket. After some udon and Japanese style pizza, we walked up Fillmore in Pacific Heights. I had a perfectly acceptable cappuccino at Bittersweet, ogled the gorgeous little cakes and cookies, and made mental notes on which hot chocolate to try next time. After an hour of indecision, we finally met up with James at the Embarcadero and saw Wes Anderson’s new film, The Darjeeling Limited. I enjoyed it a great deal, but I don’t think it beats The Royal Tenenbaums. Then we finally headed home to resting and knitting. It was an excellent weekend, and I don’t even think I spent to much money. Hopefully. The Hello Yarn shop update today might have changed that…

Working six days per week really makes time fly. Just when I was starting to get used to it, the wine-related job offered me full time. So, I’ve quit the coffee shop and this last week I enjoyed TWO days off instead of just one. It hasn’t really made life any less busy though. And I have another opportunity in the works that may shorten my weekends again, but I think it might be worth it.

Last Monday was James’ bday. I bought him a Nintendo DS Lite, and secretly made him this awesome case to go with it:

Click on the picture for more photos!

It was a big hit. I love that it matches the DS Lite too. We also had two awesome dinners (different friend groups…) and I took Monday off so we could relax together. I hope he had a good birthday!

The needlepointing took up a bit of my time, but I’ve been doing a fair amount of knitting as well. I finished the 9 to 5 socks, and have a few inches of a cuff on a Twisted Tweed Sock. I’m using this German sock yarn I picked up for 50 p at a flea market in Dresden.

I realized the Mrs. Darcy cardigan has been sitting around for a month since I finished the knitting, and I just needed to sew on the sleeves. I’ve been putting it off because I’ve never done set in sleeves…but I tackled it tonight and I think I did ok. Here is a really crappy picture I took tonight: