Thursday, May 31, 2012

Knitting in the Summer

Knitting in the summer.  I've heard this discussed at meet ups and knitting circles every year as soon as the weather starts to warm up.  I know a few knitters who go on a knitting hiatus as soon as the weather is too warm for wool.  When I'm asked if I stop knitting in the summer I usually give the questioner a puzzled look and ask them why would I.  If it's too warm in my apartment I go to the coffee shop or to my LYS for a visit, but I certainly don't stop knitting because its warm outside.

Some knitters see the summer as a time when knitting should be packed up and left till the fall, but what about that awesome cable knit sweater you want to knit for the fall?  If you don't start it till the fall you might not have it finished till New Years (depending on how fast you knit and finish garments).  I say knit the sweater now so you can wear it on the first chilly day.  Don't pack your knitting away simply because the temperature has gone up, figure out a summer knitting strategy.

Here are some ways to beat the heat and keep your knitting moving:
-Work on smaller projects, (this is a great way to get a head start on all of those hats you pledged to make for Christmas this year).
-Knit lace, the thinner yarn is much more forgiving in the heat and won't make you hands sweat as much as if you were working with a worsted.
-Knit at night when the temperature is cooler (I did this a lot when I was in Australia).
-Find a knitting circle that is held in an air conditioned space. (My weekly meet up is at my LYS, so I get air conditioning, good company, and a huge selection of beautiful yarn to purchase.)
-Watch your fiber content.  Maybe that mohair shawl you were planing isn't the best choice or that Alpaca cowl, but a bamboo wool blend scarf or a cotton baby blanket would be better choices to knit during the long, hot, summer days
-Find a free space in you town that is climate controlled where you can go and knit.  I have recently discovered the Transit Museum in Center City thanks to my friend Nicole.  It's free, it's air conditioned and there are lots of places to just sit and knit.  

I would love to hear if you are a summer knitter or not.  If you are what do you do to beat the heat and keep on knitting?

P.S. Just for clarification I do not have air conditioning in my apartment, and even though this summer we plan to have a small window unit in the bedroom I am not expecting it to cool the whole apartment.  This does however mean that I may set up shop in our bed room and never leave.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Long Weekend

I know I shared my Me Made May photos from the weekend, but I thought I'd show everyone what I was up to this weekend.  One of the highlights of the long weekend, was that my weekend was an extra day longer.  This was the perfect opportunity to go surfing down in Ocean City NJ.  The water was warmer than expected and the waves were nicer than the surf report said, and the beach and board walk weren't crowded at all.

It was so hazy at the shore that you couldn't see the horizon, or the fishermen on the end of the rock piers.

I took this shot as we were packing up to head into town for a bit.  The hazy was so eerie in the middle of a sunny day.  I could have taken pictures like this all afternoon.

The rest of the weekend was spent canoeing down the Delaware River with a group of my friends from Philly and NYC.

Here are I am with my tent mates after successfully pitching my new tent.  Simon picked it out (sadly he had to work and couldn't come camping) he made sure it had a good rain fly on it.  I must admit I'm glad he took the time to find a tent with a good rain fly.  The second night on the river we got a huge thunder storm around 9:30 and night, but we stayed dry as a bone in our super rain fly tent.


We also saw lots of diverse river wild like.  My friend mike found a millipede at the first campsite, and there was a muskrat swimming around the island we camped on.  At the second campsite we found two black snakes and on our way down the river the last day we encountered a water snake and some box turtles.  


It wouldn't  be camping without a camp fire and s'mores.  Even if it did take us the best part of two hours ot get the campfire going. 


It also wouldn't have been the Third Annual Delaware Camping Trip with out the Third Annual Delaware boat race. 


Here are the top four boats (mine sunk, better luck next year).  The first place boat was the blue catamaran,  second place was the destroyer, third place was the cardboard master piece made by Jason, and the fourth place boat was the NYC gangs boat. 

It was a great weekend, but I was glad to be home to my shower, bed and the hubs.  



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Me Made May '12: Day 24-Day 28

The weekend has been filled with sun, surf, camp fires, canoes, thunder storms, Malaysian food, and lots of Me Made outfits.  
Day 24
Purple Anda Dress
Silver Polk-a-dot Obi Belt
It was a dress kind of day. 

 Day 25
Purple Tank
Cuffed Denim Shorts
Simon and I both had Friday off, so we thought it was a good day to go to the shore and have our first surf of the season. 

 Day 26
Altered Surf Tee
Denim Cut offs
First night camping on the Delaware.  I am relatively clean and ready for some s'more making.  (There is another person in this photo can you find them?)

 Day 27
Cow boy tank
Denim cut offs
Blue Flannel Jakob
Second day camping, wearing my new button up flannel by the fire.  

 Day 28.1
Altered Australia Tank
Denim cut offs
We made it!  Back to civilization.  

 Day 28.2
Black Tank
Purple dress shorts
Once I got home, and had a shower, Simon and I met our friends for dinner up in China Town.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Camping

I have gone camping for the long weekend.  The pee in the woods kind of camping cause there are no bathrooms, wish me luck!

I will return tomorrow with photos and maybe a story or two.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Me Made May '12: Day 21 - Day 23

 Here's the latest Me Made May Update.  The weather at the beginning of the week was cool and damp, but as we get closer to the weekend it's been getting warmer and warmer.

Day 21
Teal Tank Top
Anita Jeans
Black and Whit stripped sweater

Day 22
Gray Sparkle Elodea
Anita Jeans

 Day 23
Purple Dolman Top
Cuffed Denim Shorts

Today the sun is shining and the birds are chirping and I feel like I need to wear a dress or a skirt, we'll just have to wait and see what my plans are for the day.  Time to get out of my gym clothes and enjoy a beautiful day. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

30 before 30 May '12 Update

May was a lot more eventful and full of accomplishments than I thought.  I completed more than expected and am having a great month participating in Me Made May '12.

Complete:
Eve 6 Rocking Out in Northern Liberties
23.  See Eve 6 again.  I was super lucky with this one, Eve 6 actually came to Philly to play a free show with Neon Trees.  Of course I went to see them.  They opened for Neon trees, and not that I'm bias or anything, but they put on a way better show than the headliner.  Their new album "Speak in Code" is amazing. 


15. Crocheted Doily Blanket.  I finished the last row of this last night.  I should have been done sooner, but I ran out of yarn with about two feet left to go and had to go get a whole ball of yarn to finish it off.  It's quite large and measures 58 inches in diameter.  I haven't blocked it yet so it might be closer to 60 inches once it's been blocked.  This was a pretty fun project and I will do this again as gifts for very special family and friends, but not this pattern, 36 rows is a lot of doily to crochet.



17. Make a pair of Jeans.  I'm calling this one officially complete.  With a pair of trouser jeans and now a pair of straight leg jeans under my belt (HA!) I feel like a jean master!  This process was amazing and not scary at all, from now on I will probably make all of my jeans.  It just goes to show that it may seem difficult, but if you take it in small manageable pieces it's easy as pie.

In Progress

18. Grow veggies in the apartment.  This is going better than expected and we will at least have one tomato, a few green beans, and a butt load of Swiss Chard (not pictured).  Our cucumber plants are also growing well.  Even though we are definitely going to have some veggies I'm not ticking this one off the list till we actually eat something from our little window garden.

Failed

*27. Make a me made wardrobe/stop buying clothes.  I recently purchased three cotton jersey dresses from Forever 21.  Why I think this is so awful as I bought them right in the middle of Me Made May.  A whole month dedicated to handmade.  What was I thinking?

First off I have to not be so hard on myself, this one is a lot more difficult that it seams.  I haven't really bought new clothes from the mall or a store or online in ages.  I can actually count the times I've bought something new this year, that wasn't bras, on my hand, and one of those times was this instance.  I see that as a big accomplishment, and maybe this set back isn't such a disaster.  I am constantly purging the things that don't fit me or that I just don't wear any more, at the same time making clothes is a process and there are just somethings that I have recently realized that I just don't want to make.  Those things are items made from jersey, like the three dresses I bought, here are my reasons.

I love jersey and there are times when I will sew with it, (to alter a t-shirt, or make a simple skirt).  But good jersey is hard to find, on top of that reasonably priced jersey is hard to find.  Jersey also demands different equipment and tools that wovens do not (ball point needles, ball point pins, ect.).

With this in mind, should I have gone to the thrift store and looked for dresses that were similar to the ones I bought, probably.  If I couldn't have found anything, should I have found something suitable to alter into what I wanted, yuppers.  But the fact remains the same that I bought new ready made clothing, I don't feel guilt, because I know that I won't be buying anything new for a long time, so is this really a fail or just part of the learning process?


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hello! my name is Erin and I blog over at ekatearcher {everything from knitting to water colors}

Today I am going to go through step by step how to knit a professional & double warm brim.



1. You don't need anything special for this brim, just yarn & suitable sized 16" circular needle. (Here I'm using caron simply soft & size 7 US neelde)

2. Cast on however much you normally use for hats.  (For example, I casted on 80)

3. Begin knitting ribbing...(I'm using 2x2 ribbing, but you could easily use 1x1, 2x3, ets.)

4. ...Until your brim is twice as long as you want it to be. (For example if you want your brim to be 1.5" tall knit for 3".)

5. Here's the tricky part; fold up your ribbing so that the wrong sides are touching. (Make sure you match up the ribs!)

6. Insert your right hand needle into the first stitch on the left hand needle.  (Don't pull through.)  Then insert the right hand needle into the folded up part of the brim.

7. Yarn over & pull through as normal.  Then repeat for the stitch on the needle.

8. See how pretty the edge is.

9. Continue all the way around.

I love to use this brim for all sorts of hats, it looks pretty & polished!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Me Made May '12: Day 16 - Day 20

Time for a very large Me Made May '12 update.  this week has had some great outfits, my personal faves are day 16, and day 19, but why don't you check them out and pick your own favorites.  
Day 16
Gray altered tee
Purple dress shorts
This is the half way point of Me Made May, and one of my favorite outfits. 

The best part is the back of the shirt.  I think I am going to make a few more pieces like this.

Day 17
Altered Teal Polo
Anita Jeans

Day 18
Green stripped dolman top
Cuffed denim shorts


Day 19.1
Altered Surf Tee
Denim Cut Offs
I was really feeling the surfing vibe.

Day 19.2
Floral Shirt Dress
Our friends Mike and Jo had a prohibition party on Saturday and we were encouraged to dress up, so of course I made a dress.  It was tons of fun and I don't think we go to theme parties enough.  This dress was cobbled together from three different patterns and I must say that I might make it again in a more modern fabric. 

Day 20
Stripped Kimono Top
Cuffed Denim Shorts
Have I ever mentioned that stripes rock, that Sundays are for going to the Farmers Market and playing softball.  This is what I wore to go pick out asparagus and Swiss chard at the Sunday market, before we went to our softball game and won. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Crocheted Doily Blanket


One of my goals for 30 before 30 is to crochet a doily blanket.  I was going to wait to to do this till the fall, but Nancy at Nangellini had the perfect yarn for this project.  By perfect I mean an aqua heather super wash wool.    


I haven't crocheted in awhile and it was fun to get back in the saddle.  While I love knitting garments when it comes to blankets and such I much prefer crochet. 


The first 20 rows were a breeze and were completed quickly, but once I got past that 20th row this project started to take some time.  

Here is a shot of one of the completed pineapples. 
  I have two rows left to crochet and I'll be finished.  As of right now it takes about 30 to 40 min to crochet one row.  That means I have about an hour left of crocheting to go.  
What am I going to do on my Friday night?  Stay home drink a beer and finish crocheting my doily blanket, unless some better offer comes around. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stitch Guide: Eyelet Ladder


Eyelet ladder is a fun and easy lace stitch that knits up with columns of left and right leaning eyelets.  This is a stitch pattern that is easy to memorize as it only has two lines of pattern.  However this stitch is not reversible so keep in mind when deciding to use this stitch.

Eyelet Ladder (Knit Flat)
Multi of 4 +2
R1: *K1, K2tog, YO, K1* K2
R2: Purl All Stitchs
R3: K1 *K2, YO, SSK* K1
R4: Purl All Stitches

Eyelet Ladder (Knit in the Round)
Multi of 4
R1: *K1, K2tog, YO, K1*
R2: Knit All Stitches
R3: *K2, YO, ssk*
R4: Knit All Stitches

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Me Made May '12: Day 14 & Day 15

I was very uninspired at the beginning of this week, but I think you will agree that thinks started looking up right around day 15. 
Day 14
Refashioned Oz Tank
Cuffed Denim Shorts
I had a work call at a theatre in the City today, so I needed to wear something that was easy to move in and wouldn't be the end of the world if it got a bit dirty.  

Day 15
Floral Sorbetto
Anita Jeans (That's right jeans, I finally finished my jeans!)

Day 15 was much more inspired than the past two days.  I was excited to finally be able to wear my new jeans.  My sorbetto worked perfectly with my new straight legged jeans.  Today is the half way point of Me Made May and I feel like I should celebrate by wearing something fun. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sneak Peek: Set Sail

Here's a sneak peek at the newest Blue Betty knitting pattern.  Set sail in this nautical inspired tunic.  This pattern will be release on May 21st in my Etsy shop and on Ravelry.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Me Made May '12: Day 10 - Day 13

I am almost to the half way point of May and I think I may have broken through my wall.  Here's what I've been wearing. 
Day 10
Blue Dolman Top
Denim cut offs
Yellow tights (not me made)
It was cool and cloudy on this day and I couldn't decided what I was going to wear.  I finally decided on this, perfect for working with kids and for keeping the chill away.  My outfit choices got better after day 10. 

Day 11
White altered tee
Blue and read Poppy gathered skirt
Warm and breezy, a perfect day for a skirt, and a day off. 

Day 12
Navy floral print tank dress
The weather has had a complete turn around, oh and my class was canceled.  I was sad and excited all at once.  

Day 13
Teal Tank
Denim cut offs
The perfect Sunday outfit for going to the farmers market and baking ruebarb pie. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fabric Crazy

I've gone a little fabric crazy lately.  I just can't seem to help myself, to be honest I could, it's called not going into a fabric store.  But I swear the fabrics are calingl to me with their siren song.  With the treasures I've found in the last few weeks can you really blame me?

This is a linen rayon blend, one of my favorites.  I am a sucker for rayon, but add some linen to that and I'm hooked.  Did I mention it was only $4 a yard.  The weave in this fabric is absolutely amazing.  Check it out:

Amazing right? The colors are a bit subdued for me, but I love love love this fabric.  I got enough to make a substantial garment, but I'm going to have to brain storm the best garment for this fabric.

  I also found this great batik fabric at the same shop.  It was also a steal and I'm thinking a sorbetto, or better yet a dress.  (I have a feeling that this is going to be the summer of the dress for me.  I just love them so.)

Earlier this week I wandered into one of may favorite fabric shops and almost left with out buying anything until I found this amazing cotton print.

I just couldn't say no to cowboys on bucking broncos.  This is definitely becoming a dress.  It is on the to sew list right just after I finish my Jakob Flannel.

My final fabric purchase was this pretty cotton print.  Like my cowboy fabric this is going to be a dress.  I'm going to play around with the orientation of the print on the dress having it go vertical or horizontal depending on the pattern piece.