Monthly Archives: May 2009

Why I Love These Project Bags

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Warning: This post may seem like a shameless plug for these knitting work-in-progress bags, but they’re not. They’re just pretty darned cool and I wanted to share the love. Who doesn’t love the perfect project bag?

Lately, I seem to be acquiring project bags at a clip, not quite as fast as yarn, mind you, but definitely at a noticeable pace.  I  have tried a lot of different project bags. I have two go-knit pouches which I like. I have WIPs in them now so I needed more. I have two project boxes, one from piddleloop and the other I can’t remember where (probably from the yarntini club). I also have WIPs in them, I think, but I never fell in love with the box bags, even though they’re gorgeous. Perhaps I’m too anal to like to smoosh them down into my bags.Or maybe the zipper catching the yarn bugged me. Or maybe they’re a tad too big for socks. I also have two smaller sized camping ditty bags from REI in the same nylon fabric as the go-knit pouches. They were a bit too thin and too tall for my preferences though. Recently, I picked up one of the Pretty Cheep Project Bags from Blue Sky Alpacas. Great size and beautiful vintage-inspired print of birds (cheep… get it?), they’re made of thin cotton muslin and the pointy needles poked right through these too. 

I realized that three recent purchases have become my go-to preferred ones. Partly because they’re oh-so-pretty and shiny, but also because they’re quite functional. They’re handmade by Brenda who sells them at her etsy shop, KIP Bags by Ruddawg. Why do I love them so? Let me count the ways . . .

  1. They come in a great variety of fabrics.
  2. They’re handmade AND well-made.
  3. They have strong silky ties, which are more durable than thin ribbons.
  4. They’re lined with muslin so your pointy-tipped needles don’t poke through.
  5. They come in three or four different sizes. I have two different sizes myself.
  6. They have pockets along the inside lining for your patterns, notions and extra needles.
  7. They’re extremely reasonably priced.
  8. If there’s something in particular you want, Brenda will seek out that fabric for you.
  9. It’s super easy purchasing from Brenda and you get your purchase fast, fast, fast!

I’m sure I could go on and on but I’m eager to show you the object of my love instead. This is the medium-sized bag, and it holds a fair amount. That’s Sweetie Girl holding it in her arms. She’s 9 year old sized, to give you an idea of how big that bag is. I convo’d Brenda recently asking if she had any new fabrics coming up in the medium sized bag, and she sent me links to this print featuring Japanese anime gals doing martial arts. My heart skipped a beat. There’s a red version of this print, which I was too slow to snag, but the pink one makes me just as happy.

Isn't she just so bad-assed?

Isn't she just so bad-assed?

She's pretty kick-butt too.

She's pretty kick-butt too.

This is the very first one I owned, so I’m a bit nostalgic. It features an Amy Butler lotus pattern and it’s the small size. The white tabs are sewn into the side, so you can insert some type of clip in them. I found this carabiner lying around the house and immediately repurposed it for knitting good. I use it to attach the bag around the handle of my portable soccer chair when I’m watching the kids’ games. Makes the yarn come out perfectly without any snags or funny business.

Sorry, doesn't come with cute pink carabiner clip. I had to add that myself.

Sorry, doesn't come with cute pink carabiner clip. I had to add that myself.

The third of my Ruddawg collection looks like the beauty that she is, but she’s like MacGyver on the inside. She sports a sewn-in wall to separate your two skeins of sock yarn for your two-at-a-time sock project.

Pretty Japanese-themed print
Pretty Japanese-themed print

 The sewn-in wall keeps the two skeins of sock yarn separate. Neat-o!

The sewn-in wall keeps the two skeins of sock yarn separate. Neat-o! Those are the Serpentine Socks in there. The beautiful green yarn is Lotus Yarns‘ Chakra in the Hydroponic colorway. There’s cashmere in that there yarn and it’s OMG squooshy and soft. I think of Melanie’s Hydroponic colorway as her signature color. Don’t get me wrong; she’s got other amazing colorways, but this one does it for me.

Now can you understand my love for these bags?

Scarf It Up!

So sorry for the cheesy title, but I couldn’t resist. 🙂

Our knitting group went on another crawl, albeit a mini, more local one. This time, we visited Abuelita’s in South Pasadena and some of us made it to the cupcake bakery down the block but not me 😦 . Abuelita’s is a great neighborhood shop and since my LYS recently closed down, I’ve been in search of a new one. This one might just be the ticket. Friendly service plus a good selection of yarns. Sorry, there are no shopping action pictures, but it was a great spot to sit and knit too. We also stopped at Buster’s next door for some refreshment.  That’s a funky, uber cool-in-a-good-way coffee joint, and I brought some recent and not-so-recent FOs for a photo shoot in the shop. But first, here’s a picture of my repast, just because I like the colors of this picture (and I also liked the food and drink very much).

That's a berry scone and a tea latte. Mmmmmm....

That's a berry scone and a tea latte. Mmmmmm....

 

Lately, I’ve been bingeing on Malabrigo. What’s not to love and why wouldn’t you want to gorge yourself on this sumptuous yarn? Amazingly soft, vibrant colors, generous yardage and reasonably priced.

No, I don't usually wear handknit shrugs with scarves.

And no, I'm NOT pregnant, even though it looks like it in this top. Must. Rethink. Blouse.

Project: Belinda by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne from the second Mason Dixon book

Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino in Lettuce (the Best Malabrigo color Ever IMHO), about 1 1/2 skeins

Needles: Knit Picks Options, US size 11

Start: April 22nd

Finish: May 14th

Thoughts: I originally saw the Malabrigo Silky Merino knitted up in a lace sample but the shop didn’t have the book with the lace pattern. Quite by accident, I came across the Belinda scarf on the Mason Dixon blog, where one of them knit a half-Belinda for the other. My eyes popped out as I realize that was the lace pattern I’d been searching for! Mary lent me the book and I was off to the races. The original Belinda shawl is two layers of the pattern with one turned 90 degrees and placed on top. It’s supposed to look like knitted 3D plaid or something like that. I reworked the numbers, and made mine with 5 “window panes” across. I like my simple 2D version better.

 

This picture shows the cherry blossoms and ruffles better than the other but the lighting bugs me in this one.

I like this picture of the stole better because of the lighting.

Project: Hanami Stole by Melanie Gibbons

Yarn: Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud, 2 skeins

Needles: Knit Picks Classic Circulars, US size 2s

Start: June 22, 2008

Finish: October 6, 2008

Thoughts: About three years ago, I had written somewhere, perhaps in someone’s comments, that the project i feared most was Hanami. I obsessed over it for a long time.  The sheerness, the beauty of the lace patterns, the smooth transitions, the wonderful story behind the stole. It had me at “Hello.”  Last summer, as the second transcontinental mini kal with Silvia and Madge, and part of our knitting group’s Summer of Lace kal, we took a big breath and tackled Hanami. I was the last to finish it up, but who’s keeping track anyway? It’s amazingly soft and warm. I was going crazy with the basketweave pattern and couldn’t wait to be done, so I shortened it to five repeats, I think, instead of the recommended seven. Now I wish i had done all seven because I like my scarves longer. Even so, it’s the knitting project that I am most proud of.

 

Project: One Skein – A Stole! (English Version) by Katja Jordan

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn, can’t remember the color number but it’s the olive green and black one, 1 skein

Needles: Knit Picks Options, US size 9

Start: February 10th

Finish: February 15th

Thoughts: I fell in love with this sock yarn when I saw the olive green against the black. Imagine my disappointment, when I got  a teeny bit of green at one end, a batch in the middle of the scarf where it falls at the back of my neck, and a touch at the other end. I was mesmerized by the long color repeats, but mostly watching for more olive green to show up. I didn’t expect the teal blue or the grey, nor was I necessary excited to see their presence. After blocking it and stretching it out, it has softened a good amount, and I have worn it quite a lot, but more as a scarf. It’s not quite long enough to do the parisian wrap thing but it keeps me warm in a pinch. 

My Knits Look Better on Other People

We are relaxing this memorial day weekend with a soccer tourney for Sweetie Girl. She joined a new team, and I need to get some pics of her in her new uniform. Did you know in England they call their uniforms kits? So, we need a picture of her in her new kit. I’ll try to do that tomorrow.

I finished up the Anthropologie-Inspired Capelet made with Blue Sky Organic Cotton. Love that stuff. It’s blocked already, so next time I wear it, I’ll try to capture a picture. I was between projects, so I picked up the Simply Lovely Lace socks and completed a couple of inches of the leg. I should just buckle down and finish it already, but since we were going to be on the pitch (that’s British for soccer field) for most of the day I knew I needed mindless knitting. Enter lightweight stockinette cardigan called Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. It will be another one of those slow-going sweaters for me. Lace to fingering weight on size 4 needles, and that’s if my gauge doesn’t grow, which it most likely will. I’m using Elann’s Lino Chic which is a limited edition yarn. I’m not sure what that means. No, I do know what the meaning of limited edition is, but not sure why this is limited edition. It’s a linen/rayon blend which means it feels like you’re knitting with a combination of string and twine. But it’s in a nice dark brown, very lightweight, and perfect for our So Cal weather. If I can finish it. That’s a big If.

Anyway, last year Silvia and I did another of our cross-country knitalongs. This one was the Lacy Skirt with Bows. See Silvia’s really cute skirt? I finished mine a while ago, washed it, blocked it, and learned the hard way that if you ignore your gauge swatch, your skirt won’t fit. I’d try it on every so often with different super uber ultra control undergarments with always the same results. It was too small. Enter Nicole who although she is a relatively new knitter, totally gets it with her projects and yarn choices. So I gave my skirt to Nicole who as a knitter can appreciate the love that went into making that skirt and she looks rockin’ in it. See?

Lacy Skirt without bows

Nice rear shot, if you know what I mean.

That Nicole is a class act! One of the many things I love about her.

Seeing Nicole look so great in that skirt made my day! I enjoy seeing other people wear my handknits and I’ve come to realize that my knits look better on other people, or more specifically, my knits look better on other knitters. So darn satisfying!

Project: Lacy Skirt with Bows by Kat Coyle from “Greetings from the Knit Cafe”

Yarn: Ella Rae Shibu in Pink (color 05), 8.5 skeins

Needles: KnitPicks Options, US size 5

Start: August 2, 2008

Finish: September 10, 2008

Thoughts: I love this skirt, but even more so that it looks good on someone, even though it’s not me.  I made the size medium, even though my gauge was off. Don’t remember my gauge numbers or why it turned out small, even when I’m the loose knitter.  The yarn was beautiful to work with, and I omitted the ribbon through the eyelet row to tie the bows at each side. I like it less fussy that way. I know I’ll tackle another skirt some day because I really like the two that I’ve made. If you haven’t tried knitting a skirt yet, I really recommend it!

 

A Whisper of a Cardigan

Whisper is done, done, done and done. And blocked and being worn, as I type this second. I guess I was a bit excited about this little cardi. See, here I am wearing it right now.

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Sweetie Girl snapped some pics of it for me this morning on the soccer field. These might give you a better idea of what it actually looks like.

  

Project: Whisper Cardigan by Hannah Fettig

Yarn: Malabrigo Lace in Blue Surf, 2 skeins

Needles: Knitpicks Options and Classic Circulars in US sizes 2, 3, 4 and 5

Start: March 30, 2009

Finish: May 14, 2009

Thoughts: I love the lightweight-ness (if that’s a word) of this cardi. Whisper is the perfect name for it because it’s so airy. Believe it or not, it was actually too warm to wear on the soccer field this morning. Probably in the ’80s out there on the pitch, so it may only work for early mornings and cool evenings during the summer days. I started with the size 5s and after the sleeves-not-the-same-length snafu, switched to size 4s because my gauge had obviously grown so. The 1×1 rib wasn’t so bad, neither was the picking up the 200+ gazillion stitches. The worst part? When I handwashed it in cold and the sleeves felted a teensy bit. Gah! I didn’t agitate it greatly. I didn’t swish it around. I squeeze out the water after several rinses.  I rolled it up in a towel and pressed down on the towel. I did what I usually do for any knitted item. So sad, but at least it’s wearable. The felting has made it not quite as soft but it’s still soft enough. I love mmmmmMalabrigo with a passion, but this has cooled my love for it just a teensy bit.  Definitely a great knit, and I’m planning later this summer to Hannah Fettig’s Featherweight Cardigan with a linen/rayon blend from Elann. But please be super gentle when washing that Mal Lace!

Yarn Crawl ’09

Our knitting group recently went on a mid-week yarn crawl to Twist Yarns of Intrigue in Manhattan Beach, and it was a hit! The reason for the yarn crawl, you ask? Not that we need a reason for a yarn crawl, but it was a celebratory jaunt in honor of May birthdays. Twist has been described as our mecca for luxurious yarns, and it really lived up to its reputation. A wall of mmmmmmmMalabrigo in every color made, toss in Shibui, Handmaiden, Dream in Color, and Blue Sky Alpaca, we had it made! Cathy, owner extraordinaire of this LYS, is a wonderful hostess and even opened the shop for us an hour early to accommodate us moms who had to be back before the school bell rings. If you haven’t been to this store, it’s an absolute must!

There were a few firsts for us. First yarn crawl for some. First taste of mmmmmmmMalabrigo for others (Can you believe it?). First ball-winding too. 

Happy Birthday Annette and Patty!

Mary, virgin mmmmmmMalabrigo lover and ball-winder. *snicker* I just used the words virgin, lover and ball all in the same sentence. *snicker*

Proof that Nicole is born to be a Yarn Snob.

 Ain’t nuttin’ better, is there, Marie

Linda with her trademark blue yarn. 

Patty looking so happy with her Shibui.

Everybody had a good time, especially Madge and Annette! 

A great day could have been better if we had time to sit around and knit, but that wasn’t to be. While the moms jetted back home to pick up the kids, the second car went to their second destination in search of koigu. Alas, I wasn’t in that car, but I believe someone has already posted pictures of the loot she scored.

So you think I haven’t just been buying yarn, I have actually been knitting and making forward progress on the Whisper Cardigan. I’m particularly pleased that it actually is starting to look like a sweater. I’ve picked up around the collar and knitted the 1×1 rib. Now I’m doing straight stockinette down the back and have only a few more inches to go before bind off. Can’t wait!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms out there. The Sweeties took me out for breakfast this morning to celebrate Mother’s Day. Then it was a hot day in the sun at the LA Sol game (Women’s Pro Soccer league). It was a slow game, but Sweetie Girl really enjoyed it and asked if we can go again.  Definitely! And I don’t think it was the frozen lemonade and kettle corn that was talking!

All in all, a lovely Mother’s Day with my Sweeties. Hope yours was wonderful too!

 

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