Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Contest Going Well

I'm plugging along on the projects I committed to finishing. It's really hard to stay focused, there are so many new things I want to cast on! But I have to get some of the old projects done. The argyle top has been sitting partly done for more than three years now!

There is one new project I will have to cast on. My mom requested knee-high socks for Christmas, so I better get moving on that. Good thing she has small feet like me.

In terms of the contest, I have three of my five items finished. One of the remaining two is very close to finished, but I might run out of yarn.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


A new year is coming up and I did very, very little knitting in 2010. Looking at my Flickr folder for Finished Knits 2010 is just sad.

The Yarn Harlot is doing a self-imposed sock club, where she put twelve patterns in twelve zip-lock bags with twelve skeins of sock yarn and she picks one each month. I think it's an awesome idea, but I'm not as interesting in knitting different sock patterns.

I'll have to think about how to do something similar with sweaters.

I saw a knitter on Ravelry who made twenty sweaters in a year and she says there are others who have done more. I'd like to set a goal for myself to knit more sweaters in 2011 than I ever have in one year before.

I hope to fill up the Finished Knits 2011 folder on my Flickr page!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Organizing my Plans

First, finish the five projects listed in my UFO Warriors challenge. Nothing else until those are done!

Dad's Vest

Emily's Shrug

Green twin set
Argyle Top

Owls sweater

Next, I recently bought yarn for two projects I'm very excited about:

Issara jacket
smock turtle neck sweater

Home Decor projects:

Map Afghan
Throw pillows

swiffer covers for cleaning

Other projects I have yarn for:

Mentionable tank top
rip out Cleopatra wrap and use the yarn for clapotis

Other UFOs that should get finished:

White cardigan
adrift cardigan with butter yarn
Boat sweater

Things to buy yarn for next:
Intolerable Cruelty (skirt)
Yoga wrap
Beauty and the Beads
Crocheted jewelry

Thought I would add pictures for the things I finished:



Aren't those little owls precious?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What do I wear?

I have been seriously and intensely knitting for ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I am also a product knitter, meaning my motivation for knitting is completely wrapped up in having a finished item and I also don't do much gift knitting.

So you would naturally assume that my closet is packed full of knitted objects.

Which projects were actually a success, though? Which things do I actually wear?

Twin Set by Connie Chang Chinchio
This gets the most wear by far. I love it. So, I'm almost finished making it in green and if I can stand it, I will make it in a few other colors too. I'm not much for reknitting patterns I've already done. Once I've conquered a pattern I'm usually finished with it, but this is so wearable that I made an exception.

Coachella by Fathom Harvill
This is a sexy top that I've just worn a few times, since I don't go out to bars or clubs much. But when I do, this is the top that I reach for.

Slinky Dress based on Hush-hush by Libby Baker
I modified this nightie pattern slightly to make it more flattering to my figure and it turned out great. I wore it on a cruise when this pic was taken and I wore it out for a fancy dinner once. So far that's it. UPDATE: I just wore it to my ten year high school reunion.

Isabella by Jordana Paige
Isabella from
I haven't worn this one in a while. It doesn't fit me as well anymore since I've gained weight, but also it is knit out of alpaca and that turned out to not be a great choice. Alpaca is very warm and this is a sleeveless top, so it's a bit impractical.

Nautical Top by Galina Carroll
Nautical Top
I love this one and I've used the basic bones of the pattern to create another t-shirt. I was thrilled to get to wear it on an actual boat.

Vest based on Leftovers by Alison Hansel
This pattern was designed to use leftover bits of scrap yarn, but I bought new yarn. I used it to recreate a vest I saw in a style book. It's not exactly like that one, but it's close enough to use it in the same way. I wore this one yesterday!

That's it. My queue is packed full of clothes that I want in my wardrobe. How many of those projects will successfully make it in I wonder!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Knitting Challenges

I can be a pretty competitive person. With knitting, a little competition always helps me to keep things moving.

A few years ago there was a "Summer of Socks" contest through an Australian knitter's blog and I joined that contest. I knit twenty pairs of socks in three months. I didn't mean to, but I left everyone else in the dust! I get so excited to prove my skill and my speed and I don't realize that not everyone is with me. One of the knitting podcasts I listen to, Stash and Burn, does a "Single Skein September" each year, where knitters are challenged to create as many small objects using just one skein of yarn as they can in the month of September. The idea is to use up some of those little balls of yarn that are sitting around not being used. I participated the first year. The same thing happened. I knit, I think it was 17 objects that month. Far, far more than anyone else!

I don't want people to hate me, so I don't sign up for too many contests now, but a fun new one just got started. I'm a member of the South Asian Crafters on Ravelry and they are doing a finishing challenge. You list all your Unfinished Objects and commit to not starting anything new until the contest is over. It goes from Nov. 7 to February. Each time you finish an object, you put up a post about it and the next person to finish an object sends you a little knitting related gift.

I've listed five UFOs to work on. It would be nice to get a bunch of things finished and clear out my workspace for new stuff. I reorganized my entire Ravelry queue yesterday and I'm anxious to start on the new things!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Home Decor

Though I see myself as a sweater knitter, I occasionally dip into home decor items.

I love to decorate. I'm not great at it, but I'm learning. I read books and blogs about it and I used to watch a lot of HGTV and TLC shows on homes (when I had cable).

Knitting is a great opportunity for decorators because you can create something to your exact texture and color desires.

Things at my apartment are getting shaken up and I'm going to need to get some new furniture. I am also making myself a rug.

Rugs are so expensive. I went to Michael's and bought $50 of on-sale yarn in several shades of brown and tan and I am crocheting a thick area rug that would probably cost over $100 in a store. In fact, I'm going to have leftover yarn, so all in all this rug will cost around $18!

I am also looking forward to making some throw pillows and possibly hanging an afghan up on the wall (done in the same browns, but adding in a deep red color, which is probably my favorite color. I found a pattern that is a knit map of the world. I think that would look amazing.

While looking at home patterns on Ravelery, I started getting ideas about making bath mats too.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Adding more UFOs

When I went through my on-the-needles projects it didn't seem like too many, so of course yesterday when I was trying to relax I did not pick up any of those to work on, but cast on two new projects from my Ravelry queue (there are 163 items on my queue currently).

I will add pictures once i dig out my camera, but I started a new cardigan for myself and the sweater vest for my Dad using the pattern Tempest from Knitty for my cardigan (although plain, without stripes) and the new Humphrey pattern from Knitty for my Dad's.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Colors and Creativity

I've noticed something odd.

One of the great things about knitting things for yourself is that you are in control of everything about the project. You can lengthen the sleeves of a sweater, or add short rows to make it fit a bust better, and you can decide what color you want.

So why is it that I keep on knitting things in the same color as in the picture that goes with the pattern?

Lace Panel Cardigan
by Connie Chang Chinchio in Sensual Knits

Beauty and the Beads
by Joan McGowan-Michael at

Beauty and the Beads?

owls by Kate Davies
(This one is just so perfect in gray and I love gray, so I'm not surprised I kept this color)

Ariane by Jean Moss
Again, for this design the color is a part of the overall aesthetic. It had to be navy.

But why the two pink projects? I don't look good in pink, I don't particularly like pink!

I noticed this tendency when I went looking for a project to make with my two skeins of lace weight Malibrigo in a color called "Butter."

After pouring over patterns, I concluded with one that is a lace cardigan in yellow!

I'm starting to think that I'm not as creative as I always assumed. I guess the color that you see something in goes deep into your brain and it can be hard to picture it another way. Thank goodness for Ravelry where I can see all the different versions and colors of a pattern that people have done.

Gift Knitting

I am a selfish knitter.

It has taken me ten years of knitting to be willing to admit that and not feel guilty about it.

I am what is known as a product knitter. I somewhat enjoy the process of knitting, but mainly I do it because I spend the whole time I am knitting something fantasizing about wearing or using the finished product. This has caused me to learn all kinds of techniques to be a very fast knitter because I want to race through, finish it, and move on to the next awesome project in my queue (and I work on five or six things at once).

I knit for the creative control, the ability to pick my own colors and modify patterns to suit my taste and my figure.

There are exceptions, though. I do occasionally make gifts for people. I rarely do it when they ask for it, because then it's just feels like a heavy obligation on me and I don't enjoy the knitting. Usually when I make gifts for people it is because I am inspired and I think of something that person would really like.

The one exception to that is when my brother asked me for a sweater. I was so pleased, since he doesn't usually take any notice of my knitting and tends to look down on all my hobbies and interests as boring. I proudly knitted him a sweater in fingering weight, partial cashmere yarn. I am so proud of the result:
Cable Sweater
Of course, when I gave it to him, he asked if I could make another one in another color! No way, I said.

Sweaters really are my favorite thing to knit. Here are the two other gift sweaters that I've made:
Both of those I designed using Ann Budd's sweater book.

Besides the occasional hat, the only other gift I have knit is my best friend's wedding veil. I am tremendously proud of this one, it is my greatest knitting accomplishment. When she got engaged, I asked her if I could make her veil. It was very important to me that I not let her down in her decision to trust me with that task and to create something that didn't look like the thick, chunky knitted veils out there. I think I accomplished that:

Ten years of knitting and those are the only gifts I've made!

Now the time has come for me to knit another gift. I realized that I have never knit my Dad anything except a scarf back when I first learned to knit that is atrocious. And that's weird because my Dad actually wears lots of knits. He gets a new Lands End sweater every birthday and he wears sweater vests too.

I decided that I should knit him a sweater vest and I have been failing at doing so ever since. A year ago for his birthday I had one ready and then it turned out to be way too small for him (he doesn't live nearby, so I can't test it out as I go). I started another one and it just was looking all off. I got discouraged and stopped.

Then the new Knitty came out and it has a wonderful sweater vest pattern:

I ordered the yarn for it yesterday. I am going to make my Dad this vest!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Emma Pillsbury Style

So I mentioned yesterday that my recent knitting kick started because I am seriously inspired about fashion by a character named Emma Pillsbury on a tv show called Glee.

If you haven't seen her style, check this out: Emma Pillsbury's Style That is a Google image search on her.

She wears ultra feminine clothes in bright colors. She wears pencil skirts and cardigans and lots of bows.

I've always loved clothes from 1940s through early 60s in America. It always looks so feminine and classy to me. Now I have inspiration to channel my fashion longings to.

I dress somewhat this way, but without the frilly part, no bows and not as much color. I have been a bit afraid of my own instinct with color because I've been told that I put things together that shouldn't go together. I worried also that if I wore bows and frills and ruffles that people would think I was too prissy. But I love everything about Emma and how she is and I would not mind being like her!

So, if you are a knitter and also are inspired by Emma, here are some things I've found that we can make to fill our closets (this should keep my busy for a LONG time):

The Tempest Sweater.
The pattern is striped, but I think this would be the perfect base pattern from which to make many bright, solid colored cardigans. I already had this on my queue before I saw Emma and I have yarn to make it in white, but after that I would like to do it in yellow too.


A Stitch In Time, Knitting and Crochet Patterns, 1920-1949 Vol. 1
This book has patterns for a number of blouses with bows in front that look awesome, but it costs $47 at Amazon right now and I don't want to pay that much! Apparently a second volume is coming out soon, too.

This is literally a pattern from 1935 for a two piece suit, but the top part would be plenty for an Emma look, it has a bow and puffed sleeves.

A pattern inspired by Joan Crawford, actress from the 1930s

Another shirt with a small bow

Tie-neck jumper, from a pattern published in 1947. (you'll need to scroll down the page to it)


Classic cardigan by Patons. The pattern is free, but you have to register with Patons to view it. It is a cardigan with a little bow at the neck line.

Beauty and the Beads, a beaded jacket-style cardigan

A cardigan with a lovely texture pattern on the front


Linda by Jean Moss
From the book Contemporary Classics


Harvest blouse by Asami Kawa

And then there's skirts too


Bell Curve by Kira Dulaney from Knitty


Sidewinder by Susan Dittrich on Knitty

Here's a perfect hat:

Bashful by Marlaina Bird aka Marly

Can you tell that I like lists? :)

I will keep adding knits to this post as I find them.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

UFO gathering

I had a blog for knitting several years ago, but I let it lapse. I'm starting another one. I don't know how often I'll update. Sometimes I'm really into knitting and then I go several months without wanting to do it at all.

I thought to start with that I would round up all my unfinished projects and take stock of where I am. If you are on Ravelry, you can friend me, I am CraftyCarolyn.

So, here it goes:

Le Lapin Noir by CanarySanctuary
I love argyle. I almost finished this shirt before I realized that it was too small across the chest and stranded knitting doesn't have any stretch. So I ripped back and I'm almost back to where I was.

Owls by Kate Davies
Yet another one where I finished it (this time the entire thing) only to find that it was too small. Part of this problem is my ego (I like to think I'm smaller than I am) and part of it is that I have gained about twenty pounds recently and I'm working on losing them! So, another one ripped back and started again.
That's it when finished, just without the button eyes for the little owls. Isn't it cute?

Lace Panel Cardigan by Connie Chang Chinchio
I've made this cami and cardigan twin set before in a salmon colored yarn. I loved it so much I decided to make it in more colors. Twin sets make my heart melt.

Ariane by Jean Moss
Another classic style cardigan. I've found this one tricky and I'm starting to worry that it might be, gasp, surprise, too small! So it has been sitting unfinished for a long time.

Cleopatra Wrap by Miriam L. Felton
A shawl. I love the yarn, it was a gift in an old swap and the colors are amazing. I don't wear a lot of shawls and I don't think there's really enough of the yarn, so I'm feeling discouraged about this project, but it really is almost done.

Back-to-School U-Neck Vest by Stefanie Japel
Made this with handspun and I'm running out. I'm worried that the color changes look really weird, but I'll have to finish it (probably using black yarn when I run out of handspun) and then see how it looks.

I think that's it for UFOs (unfinished objects). That's not as many as I thought it was, I feel a bit relieved.

I have a pile of yarn with plans for many more things, of course, and I can hardly resist casting on. I have a queue in Ravelry that has 137 things in it!

I also need to knit my Dad a vest because I have made my brother a sweater, but not made my Dad anything and my Dad actually wears lots of knits. I'll have to do a post later on my feelings about gift knitting.

What has started me on this new knitting kick is that I have been watching Glee and I adore Emma's wardrobe and fashion style. It involves a lot of awesome cardigans and it reminded me that I can make awesome cardigans! I'll do a post another day with some of the wonderful patterns I have found on Ravelry that are perfect for Emma Style.