Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Taking a break for this week

I was all ready to post today, but I just got some extremely sad news of a friend who lost her baby. We are separated by thousands of miles as we are in different countries, and I really wish I could be there for right now, to hold her, to cry with her, to hug her, and to just rock her till the pain dulls a bit. I would like to NOT post anything knitting-related today, to commemorate this baby's passing. I don't want it to seem like nothing has happened, because I'm sure she and her husband feel like their world has ended. If anyone has suggestions on what I can do to help them from so far away, I would appreciate it. Just yesterday I was talking to her, telling her I would send knitted items through a mutual friend for the baby. Just yesterday.

I'm sorry guys. I'll be back next week God willing with a peppier update. As for today, please take a second and pray/send well wishes in your heart to my friend, her husband and their family.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I got published!!!

I don't know if you remember sometime during this year when I mentioned that I had a few secret projects I couldn't talk about for a while. Well...one of them is out now so I can spill the beans. I got a pattern published in Interweave Knits magazine, one of the premier knitting magazines around! I'm so excited. They put up the preview of the patterns last week Friday so I tweeted about it and even put it on my Facebook page, but I thought it fitting to put it up on my blog today. My pattern is the Bobble and Eyelet Cowl, knit in Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky yarn, on US #15 needles (the yarn is a dream to knit with, by the way). It's a very quick knit, creating a super chunky scarf (that can even work as a wrap, see the pictures), and the bobbles and eyelets allow you to close the scarf, making it a chunky cowl/infinity scarf. Below are some of the pictures from the magazine. (PS: The actual color of the scarf can be seen in the magazine pictures. Mine were washed out by the sunlight, making the yarn look lighter than it was.)




You can pick up a copy of the magazine at your Local Yarn Store or at Michaels', Joann Fabric stores, Safeway, Barnes and Noble, and most stores that sell craft magazines. 

Here are a few pictures I took of my MIL in the scarf before I sent it in to the magazine.



Woohoo!! I have more secret projects in the works, but this is the first one out, and I just had to share with you all. Thank you for following my blog, and supporting my creativity.

Remember, you can shop on http://niseyknits.etsy.com all week for gifts for friends and family with the coupon codes 10PERCENTOFF to receive 10% off your order!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A little bit of selfish knitting?

I am singing with the Christmas Choir at my church this holiday season, and the colors we will be wearing are black and white with some gold or silver accent. As the knitting gods would have it, I had just attended the Interweave Knitting Lab held in San Mateo from Nov. 3rd to the 6th, and had just snagged 2 balls of Lana Grossa Lace Lux Yarn in Bronze Colorway from the Jimmy Beans Wool booth.



I promise you that I had no knowledge of the color choices until AFTER I had bought the yarn. I got the yarn on Saturday and the first choir rehearsal was Sunday. I realized that the knitting powers that be had decided that I should FINALLY knit something for myself, so I set off to look for the best pattern to showcase this beautiful yarn.

My search for the pattern that would work well with this yarn brought me to Xenia by Vanessa Smith. I have purchased one other pattern by this designer and although I haven't knit it yet, I am in awe of the stunning detail and simple twists she adds to her designs. Xenia took my breath away the moment I saw it.



And she gave instructions for working it in two colors too. Ah, knitting heaven! I can almost see myself in this shawl already!



In order to have this ready by Dec 17th/18th when the choir sings, I need to cast on now, so I can knit it between the 100 projects I'm trying to get done before the year ends.

Do y'all have any other suggestions for a lovely, quick shawl that requires between 339 and 678 yds of laceweight yarn?



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Some homespun cowls

This week's post is going to be a little shorter than I would like mainly because I've received some good news about 3 secret projects and so I have to get to knitting like nobody's business in order to make those deadlines. I also haven't been able to photograph 4 new items I finished (including a free cowl pattern which I'll put up as soon as I have it all written out.)

Today's post is a short tour of my love affair with the Luxe Cowl by Margaux Hufnagel which can be found on Ravelry(click on Luxe Cowl) or on her blog here. I've liked this cowl pattern ever since I stumbled across it last year, especially after I modified it into an infinity scarf. My friend Shionda last year wanted a gift for a friend, and asked me what I could make with Lion Brand Homespun yarn which she had already purchased. I took the yarn, rooted through my stash, and found one skein of Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Worsted in their purple colorway. I realized that knitting with both yarns at the same time created a lovely fabric with awesome color variations. So far I've made 4 in purple , one in a cream/off-white and my most recent one in a cream/soft pink combination. Below are pictures of these items. I hope you enjoy them and they keep you happy until we meet again here on my blog next week.








Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Pompom Chronicles Part 2

So after succumbing to the pompom/Last Hurrah scarf bug as I mentioned in my previous post, I decided to make a few more of the Last Hurrah scarves with pompoms attached.

My next two finished scarves were the:

Purple and Green Hurrah, knit with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, in the Fig and Cilantro colorways. I'm really liking this scarf because the colors are very vivid and attention-grabbing. It looks like the perfect scarf for anyone looking to add a striking, colorful accessory to their winter wardrobe.




The next one is the one I call the Neopolitan Ice Cream Scarf. I bought a hank of Cascade Eco wool for a design I was working on. When I received the yarn, I realized it was too thin for the pattern I had in mind, so I relegated it to the stash to wait for a more suitable project. Once I got into these scarves, I thought a pink/white/brown scarf would look, sort of like the colors in a Cherry Blossom tree. I went digging in my stash and found a lone ball of Malabrigo merino worsted in pink and brown, and the forgotten Cascade Eco wool.

My initial attempt had me holding one strand of the Malabrigo, and one strand of the Cascade Eco wool, but it looked like I would run out of Malabrigo pretty soon. Since the Cascade Eco has a lot of yardage, I decided to double-strand the Eco, and add it to the Malabrigo, making it three strands of yarn. To accommodate the extra strand, I switched to US #19 needles from the US #17 I was using. This resulted in the perfect, super squishy, super soft Last Hurrah scarf. I called it Neopolitan, but it could be also Cherry Blossom. Whatever the name, it's a gorgeous scarf.




Both scarves are available for sale in my Etsy shop. I'll bring you more on the Pompom Chronicles next week. Due to this knitting stint, I now have 20 items listed in my shop, which I'm very happy about. My goal is to have 50 items on there, but I'm not sure I'll make it by Christmas time. I'll keep my fingers crossed and flying over the needles, so let's see how far I get.

Have a great rest of the week everyone!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Pompom Chronicles Part 1

Today's is a long post, so please bear with me. The year is hurtling towards it's end, and I'm knitting as fast as I can to make it to the end of the year with a lot of finished items. Even more importantly, I'm hoping to have my Etsy shop stocked with as many items as possible so people can get lovely handmade gifts for their friends and family during this holiday season. In the past few weeks, I've been bitten by the pompom bug. I'm not sure I've ever made pompoms in my knitting life before now. However since I started, I can't seem to stop.

It all started with the Last Hurrah Scarf. This pattern is easy to remember, and the finished item is so soft and squishy that I can't help squeezing it over and over again. I however get a little bored if I have to the same thing over and over again, so to add a bit more spice to my knitting, I decided to use two colors of yarn to knit this scarf. Halfway through the scarf, I decided that pompoms would add the right touch of whimsy to the scarf, so I went online to learn how to make pompoms.

I cut out 4 pompom sets from cardboard boxes before I finally got the size I liked. By the way, POMPOMS EAT YARN! Whoa! The yarn just seemed to disappear inside the pompoms. I wasn't deterred though. I made pompoms for my first scarf, which I called The Purple Mambo Hurrah, seen in the picture below. It is knit in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Fig and Eggplant colorways.




I convinced my friend Josie to model this scarf in an impromptu photo shoot for me, and she also loved it so much that I thought it would be worth exploring the scarf in different color combinations. I'll share the results of this exploration in a 3-part series, with this post being the first one.

The Pink on Pink Hurrah (seen below) is the next scarf I made using the fisherman's rib pattern and Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in the Blossom and Raspberry colorways. The scarf is lovely, and so is the model, my patient, long-suffering Zeina Newman.





Both scarves are available for sale in my Etsy shop. I'll blog about the next two scarves in bonus post on Thursday.  Till then, enjoy the rest of your day and see you soon! :)