Malabrigo March Wrap Up

I didn't do a kick off post, which I'd wanted to but couldn't find the time for amongst all the knitting! But, I decided I still wanted to do a wrap up post anyway, so here it is!

I love Malabrigo yarn. My favorites are Silky Merino and their Lace yarns, although I also have some Worsted in my stash. I love how soft they are, and how vibrant the colors are. 

Finished projects include my Caribenos Clapotis, another Montego Bay Scarf and my Cliff Diving @ La Push Cowl (expect the FO post very soon!)

Not quite finished projects include my Lagoon Hemlock Ring Blanket, a surprise gift lace cowl I barely cast on for and my Purple Mystery Hanami Stole - that I didn't even get the time to add one stinking repeat to! Which is crappy, because I cast on for it way back in 08! Damn, time flies! Hehehe...


One Yard Wonder Deadline Extended!

I was very excited to read this morning the deadline has been extended til April 11th, 2010 for One Yard Wonder's latest book. I do occasionally still sew, and I'm totally interested! I hope to submit this round, but we'll see if I can get my lazy butt into gear! Hehe.

I'm especially excited because I'm toying with the thought of using one yard of my own fabric design - yeay!

From the authors -
Our focus continues to be on unique, fantastic, and original one yard projects. While we are showcasing fabric choices and options, the book itself is really all about 101 great, diverse, and unique projects, which we know you have up your sleeve! Please keep in mind that your project should use nearly the full yard of fabric (no quarter yard projects please, unless they are part of a group project which takes up a full yard).

You are certainly welcome to submit more than one project.

On the Road to Spring - Week 4 - postponed!

This was the most intimidating part for me, as I'm kind of obsessive about keeping the lines all straight and together. I kept telling myself that I'd have to accept some mistakes, as they can't all be perfect; but I still procrastinated this step for days! Consequently, I have to take a week and postpone this one's update! I hope you'll all stay tuned with me, ans I try and work through my fears and finish my quilt!


Quick Craft - Suede "Chain" Bracelet

Another cute project on Craft:'s blog, I knew I had to make one for myself. The only question was, leather or suede? And then, what color??? I have bunches of scraps in some very delicious colors, so the choices were tough.

After it was all said and done, the magenta pig suede was the winner. I had a bunch of small pieces of it, and in suede - it was an experiment to see if this would even work! The real issue is, that the original links in the pattern are 3" long, but I knew I wanted something smaller; I wanted to make a bracelet, and I have freakishly tiny wrists. So, I re-sized the links to 2" long total (meaning they'd be 1" after folding.)

Suede Chain Magenta

At first, they seemed much too floppy to hold up. Not nearly enough structure for this project, I thought. So, I put it down for a few weeks. And then, I had the thought that after folding they should have more structure than they seem to! And I was right! A few links later I was finished, and that makes this one of the easiest jewelry pieces I've made in a long time! I used a doll-sized belt buckle to anchor the top, and it finished much prettier looking than the bottom (with no anchor.)

Suede Chain Magenta - Back

It was mentioned one can finish this project in one evening, but I'll give you this caveat; if you're using really sharp shears, like Gingher's - that I did - you'll probably want to space this one out a little more. I have a death grip on mine for some strange reason, and so I can only cut so much before my right thumb gets a dent in it from the scissor handle, and hurts - alot!

I love easy and quick projects, so I'm going to try and showcase more of the ones that inspire me the most! I'm also planning on more leather chain projects, this was so fun & easy I couldn't stop at one! Haha! Stay tuned in April for more of this same project, as well as a few of my own twists on it!

What are your favorite easy projects? They can be just fun or functional, and if they're both, I'll swoon. I love when form marries function!

*Fancy lettering from Daily Drop Cap - so fun & addictive!


Aurora is on FIRE!

Fire 1You know when one of these is parked outside your house, it's not good...

But, as you can see, from the view outside my backyard...

It's ON FIRE!!!

Holy Crappers, I hope my local Fire Department can handle this, it's the worst fire I've ever seen

The entire grass land has ignited, and it licks ever closer to houses!  

Fire 4

Fire 3I have many thanks and gratitude for this guy, the fire fighter closest to my house! 

I can hardly believe it's come so close to not just my house, but so many others, as well. 

You should see the crowds gathering to watch the prairie burn behind my house.

Frakking unbelievable... please wish us well! 

ETA: Looks like the Aurora Fire Dept. has it under control, but wowsers! that was scarey!

Fire 2


FO Friday - Yet Another Hemlock Ring Blanket

I can't believe I've got another Hemlock Ring to show off this week, as I wasn't planning on posting this one til next week, but such is life!

Hemlock Ring Blanket w/ garter ridges!

I really, really enjoyed knitting this blanket, both because I added the traditional garter ridge found in the feather & fan pattern (not found on the original Hemlock pattern,) and because this yarn was like butter to knit with! So soft, and just the right amount of stretch to it. I almost wish I'd made it bigger, but I hate blocking these buggers when they're done - it's always such a chore!

Hemlock Ring - Closeup


WIP Wednesday - Lagoon Hemlock Ring Blanket

Lagoon Hemlock - Closeup

I've been wanting to knit a Hemlock Ring blanket for myself, for what seems like forever... It's a pattern I've knit several times, although not for myself until now! I love it to begin with, but in Malabrigo Silky Merino - it's positively delicious! The turquoise color did transfer a bit more color onto my hands than my Clapotis, ok a LOT more, but I hope since I won't be laundering it often that it will end up being a minor concern about the finished object.

Lagoon Hemlock WIP
I got a ridiculously good deal on this yarn at Webs, and although I do enjoy supporting the smaller yarn shops - you can't beat a great deal on yummy yarn! And this yarn is soooo yummy! Soft and really enjoyable to knit with, much less the amazing fabric it makes knitted up!

This blanket sat on the needles (is still kinda sitting!) for a long time, but I get bored with this pattern once it starts getting big, plus I got so distracted with gift knits! I just hope I can finish it soon, even though the colder weather is finally starting to leave Chicago, (just wait, it'll snow again! Haha!)


On the Road to Spring Quiltalong - Week 3

On the Road to Spring Quiltalong
Alright, so I really shouldn't be complaining, because I did get a fairly quick start on this project, and it's my very first real quilt (although I'm done a small amount of piecing and patchwork before.) But, I am reluctant to admit that I've only made a bit of progress since last week - putting together the remaining 6 strips to total 20 finished quilt strips.

I'm a tiny bit nervous about the next step - piecing the strips together to form the top... as the squares might not all line up quite right (and if you read my blog, you'll know how anal I am about that sort of thing!) I hope to get at least half of the strips together by next week, and if I'm really going for it, maybe the entire top! (That's reaching, I know, hehe.)


FO Friday - Caribeño Clapotis

Caribenos ClapotisWhen I saw this yarn on sale at WEBS, I knew I had to have it. 51/49 silk & merino means it's super soft, and the colors are just gorgeous! It transferred just a bit of blue dye to my fingers while I was knitting it, but not excessively so.

So, normally, the yarn this pattern calls for would cost you 120$ (maybe more plus shipping...) I KNEW I didn't want to spend that much, even though I love the Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb. So, I waited. And waited some more... A few years later, this wonderful substitute comes onto the market, with even more colors than the recommended yarn. Yeay! So, I bought 5 balls - for a grand total of 45$ and I got the shipping free (because of course I had to order more yarn than THAT! Hahaha!)

I was hoping to have it done in two weeks instead of three, but sometimes you just don't feel like a smurf. Hehe. It was fun to knit, though; and even though I'm onto more complicated projects now - I wish I still had something simpler like this one, going at the same time.

Caribenos Clapotis - Closeup

The only changes I made to the pattern were adding one extra width repeat, and 5 extra length repeats. The third ball striped really nicely through the middle, but all of the other ones flashed and pooled like I expected a hand-painted yarn would. Huh?! I like it, though - and that's all that matters!

Specs: see it on Ravelry!


WIP Wed - Cliff Diving @ La Push Cowl

Cliff Diving Cowl - WIPI've been kicking around the idea of designing a knit pattern for myself lately, and I knew it needed to be made with Malabrigo Lace yarn. I had a single skein of the most gorgeous yarn, in their Whale's Road colorway - a rich mix of blues, greens and indigo (all beautiful jewel tones.) It's enough for a small thing, but not a large garment...

So, I went to my stitch dictionaries and found this great Fishtail pattern that I loved. I swatched a few times, first on larger needles then smaller, to pull the stitches a bit closer together. The most fun part was when I started knitting, I realized I could do more with it - so I'm super excited about the next (secret!) part of this project. Yeay!

The white is a provisional cast-on; I'm planning on grafting it together at the end, to make it seamless. For a while there, I was totally feeling the 3-needle bind off; but now that I've learned Kitchener stitch*, it's really my favorite way to finish a knitted item. 

What's your favorite method of finishing off your knits/crochet?

*To find the video for Kitchener stitch, you'll need to scroll down to finishing tips, the first listed under seaming is Kitchener. (Also, sorry for the awful picture. Even though the light is great in Chicago today, I sadly don't have the window treatments to be able to control it properly.)


On the Road to Spring Quiltalong - Week 2

I wish I had more progress to show off this week (and pics!,) but I've only managed to finish piecing a few more strips (I only have 14 of 20 completed. Bummer!)

Next, I'm onto sewing them all up together to form the top; but, I'm starting to wonder just how long that will take me! Haha! It is a fun project, working with my own fabric though! Just not a quickie project, although what decent sized blanket (handmade, people!) wouldn't take some time and effort to complete.


S'mores at Home!

S'mores from the oven!

My husband was coming home from a long business trip on Friday, so I thought I'd whip up something quick and tasty we could enjoy, both as desserts and snacks! We both love s'mores, but we don't camp very often anymore, so I thought I'd try these at home, and see how they came out.

First, line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, and layer the bottom with graham crackers (approximately 18,) just like my sister's Peanut Butter Chocolate Bark. Then, melt 8oz of milk chocolate and spread over the graham crackers, taking care to cover them as evenly as possible.

Next, cut a whole bag's worth of marshmallows in half, either length or width-wise. (This is just so there's not super too much marshmallow in each bite, your tastes may vary!) Place the marshmallows evenly across the top of the chocolate, covering the whole surface. (You may need an extra bag, just sayin'!)

Broil the whole pan in the oven, on high for about 3 minutes. Alternatively, you could use a butane torch to toast the 'mallows. Place top halves of graham crackers on top, and break the bottoms as evenly as possible. Go ahead and try and stop yourself from eating one during the process. I dare you. Grin.

That's it! I didn't even think I needed pics to show the whole process, but if you'd like - I can go back and make another batch to add them! :)


On the Road to Spring Quiltalong - Week 1

Quilt Strips - Closeup

Wow, what a week! I broke half my craft table last Monday night, unfortunately before I'd cut the corduroy squares (but thankfully after I'd managed to get the yardage ironed!) So yeah, it wasn't looking like the easiest week ever, piecing all the strips together on one half my regular work space...

So, I only managed to get 7 strips pieced together so far, but here they are!

Quilt Strips - Layout

It's a little tricky keeping the nap of the corduroy going only in one direction, but the print is a little easier to manage, I'm trying to keep the pattern intact. So, instead of just turning the strips around when I piece them together, I'm assembling them differently. 

Half get the regular treatment of rectangle then square (5 times for each strip,) and the other half start of with a square patch, and then I add the rectangle. I tried to be clever in my construction because I'm so obsessive about details on the back end of finished items (that is to say later, when I'm using them/looking at them!)

Big thanks go to DH, who fixed my craft table for me last night! Yeay!  Here's links to my first post about my quilt, and the inspiration - Randi's Quiltalong.


FO Friday - Solitude Scarf

... aka Yet Another Malabrigo Montego Bay Scarf, this time with fringe! (Here's the first MalaMontego Bay I made, for my MIL!)

Solitude Scarf - Malabrigo Lace Montego BayFor the last bunch of months this yarn was half of a Flutter Scarf, but I just wasn't feeling the ruffle end out of this yarn - 100% merino wool. The ruffles demand a drapier fiber content, something like silk, bamboo or alpaca; and to be truthful, they looked a little awkward. They just hung there, instead of draping nicely; so I never finished the second half.

The reason I picked Solitude for the name was two-fold. First, my husband and I'd just received a Peter Lik photo of the same name* we'd bought for his new home office, and the colors are to-die-for gorgeous! Secondly, I've been a fan of Nina Simone for a very long time, and the song Solitude seemed to really fit with what I felt at the time I knit it.

Solitude Scarf - Fringe Ends
When I started this scarf, I was really hoping to get the job at Lorna's Laces. It didn't work out for me this time, and so I decided it was okay to be selfish, and knit something just for myself. (I have a bunch of gift knits going right now.)

And then, the Ravelympics hit me, or rather I got obsessive and couldn't hold myself back from them. Fast forward a couple weeks, and here I am now - with a finished scarf and a blanket that's a quarter done. Hahaha...  
That's how I roll, folks - always unpredictable, even to myself!

Solitude Scarf - CloseupSpecifications - see this scarf on Ravelry!
*To see Solitude on Peter Lik's site, you'll need to visit the horizontal panoramic gallery (linked above and here - and click on the piece 5th from the left and all the way at the bottom (Wg197 Solitude) - be careful! His photos are a total time suck, even more so in person! Don't say I didn't warn you when you end up finding an amazing photo you totally love! LOL


    My Fourth Blog-iversary!

    Wow. It feels so surreal to type this. I feel like I've traveled so far over the last bunch of years, and I haven't really gone anywhere! Haha! When I first started writing, I had no idea what I wanted to get out of it. No clear picture in my mind, just a hope that I could share my creativity with a community. Even though my ride has had it's ups and downs, I really hope this next year I'll be able to find my niche. I know it's there, I've just struggled to find it for a while. Wish me luck!


    WIP - Bauhaus Throw Blanket

    When I caught the Ravelympic bug, I knew I wanted to pick a large project... and I'd been kicking around this idea for a beach-ey, by-the-sea version of this Bauhaus blanket for a couple of weeks. So, I decided I was going to knit a whole blanket, 4 pieces with seaming and all, in 16 days. 

    I know, you're sitting there saying to yourself, "Kari, why on Earth would you think of such a thing?"

    Bauhaus Throw - First Square

    It's because I'm a masochist, or at least that's as close I've been able to come to an answer on that one! Theoretically speaking, it would have been accomplish-able... that is, until I decided to dye my yarn, and didn't bother getting around to it until halfway through the Games - whoops!

    Ok, so now I'm going to try a new approach - I'm going to keep posting about this one until it's finished, and hopefully I'll want the damn thing done so bad that'll be enough! Haha! It is an easy enough project, I just need to keep at it, and I hope my fellow bloggers can help keep me motivated!

    Right now, I'm a quarter done with it... only knit one square. I really hope I have more to show off next week! Cross your fingers for me!


    On the Road to Spring Quiltalong - The Start


    I read Randi's blog regularly, so when I caught in my RSS feed that she was organizing a quilt-along I knew I wanted in. And then, the Ravelympics hit me, and I set super high expectations for myself... I think it was a good lesson in juggling my biggest craft priorities right now, and I'm really pleased to share with you my very first quilt ever - and the first progress pictures of it! Yeay! :)

    I decided to use the fabric I won in Spoonflower's first contest. The colors weren't quite right (which is odd, because I'd proofed the printed fabric before that, and hadn't made any changes to my pattern file;) and it's been sitting around my craft room ever since. So, when I read how much fabric I'd need for this quilt my mind immediately jumped to the 2 pieces totaling 5yds of my cocoa squiggle stripe print. It was a bold decision, to use only one print fabric, instead of the ten different prints as suggested. But, I have a very good visual brain that helps me to see things in my mind, almost as clear as pictures - and I knew my concept would work. (Not trying to sound arrogant, it was also the novelty of making a quilt with my very own fabric print!)

    The keystone to my plan was to keep the neutral squares plain in color, but texture-rich; the chocolate fine wale corduroy works beautifully, and I had about a half-yard of this teal denim. It's smoother than the corduroy, but the color worked so well with my print, and I love a bit of bold contrast thrown into the mix! Plus, only having a tiny amount of the teal gave me a great design challenge of exactly where I'd place the teal squares!

    I had to back my own print with muslin, it was too transparent next to the other, thicker fabrics. Good thing I had a bunch of it in my fabric stash! It was a lot of extra work to double the HUNDRED rectangles I'd already cut; but in the end, I think it'll be worth it - when I'm not nit-picking about how I could have made it better - to death!

    So, there's my fabric picks (I wanted to photo them all done & cut, but I still need to pre-wash and cut the corduroy.) I haven't quite decided on the backing fabric, but I have a few options (including more of my own cocoa squiggle stripe fabric, yeay!) I'll also need to decide on binding, but I figure I can make both of those decisions a little farther down the road, hahaha!


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