Wednesday, July 30, 2008

sweaters!

Still no photos of the finished sweaters to show you. Actually, Snow White hasn't even been blocked yet. I blame the weather. If it was cool enough to wear it, you bet it would have been blocked and on me as quickly as possible. It still doesn't feel like summer here, but 65 degrees is still too warm for this one. As for the camisole, I have no excuse other than lack of inspiration to do a photo shoot. I haven't been idle, however.


This is the pile of the currently most-active projects. The purple is Mina's sweater, the sock-looking thing is not a sock but a long, lacy fingerless glove, and the teal is one of my recent sweater obsessions, the Cowl Pullover from Knitting Nature. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk that I've had forever. I actually need to frog a failed sweater attempt and rescue the rest of the yarn. I think it is a fairly good match for this pattern, although I am nervous about the steeking part, even if it will be machine sewn.

Speaking of sweaters, I'm in the throes of my pre-fall sweater obsession, which this year seems to have come hand-in-hand with a Norah Gaughan obsession. I picked up Norah Gaughan Vol. 3 at the LYS on Sunday, and can't decide which of two sweaters to make first. I also re-discovered an Erika Knight book I bought about a year ago, and have a serious love for these sweaters (drat, I can't find a photo of the second one. Oh, wait, it's on the cover of the UK edition). And let's not even speak of the new fall magazines coming out. No, I'm not thinking about Riding to Avalon or the New Pea Coat. Of course, there is yarn in my stash for several completely different sweaters and none of it will work for the shiny new patterns. Of course. Any suggestions for faster knitting and ways to ignore all other responsibilities in order to knit are appreciated.

Friday, July 25, 2008

air atc's

My partners have finally received their ATC's for the Project Spectrum 3 Air swap, so I am safe to show these off now. I don't like to ruin surprises!


The method I used for my Earth atc's was so much fun and I liked the result so much that I wanted to do something similar. This time the embroidery pattern came from Stitchy Britches. I chose three birds from this border and traced them with a heat transfer pencil, then arranged them on my atc outline. I used the same cotton/linen fabric as last time. Although I loved the earth labels I made before, adding a label to these seemed too heavy for air, so I just went with a freehand swirl in silver thread. I also added tiny seed beads for the eyes, because I still haven't mastered the french knot.

Embroidery is very slow for me, each stitch much slower than knitting, and sometimes it is a welcome change of pace. The rhythm is different, the sound is different; it feels comforting, somehow, and I love to watch the design emerging at my fingertips. I have a few small projects ready to work on (kitchen things, mostly), but I am trying to come up with something larger and more unique.

Last night I finished my Snow White - all that is left is to graft the underarms and weave in the few ends that I didn't finish before my mandatory midnight bedtime. I had to try it on, of course, to assure myself that it fits. My yarn relaxes and stretches out after a good soak, and I had to remind myself of that because oof, is that sweater tight right now! Hopefully it will go into its water bath tonight and be camera ready by Sunday, which means that I have two sweaters to photograph this weekend! Time to choose which one to knit next.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

breaking radio silence

Hi there. It looks like I've been taking an unplanned blogging break, so I'm just popping in here to say hello. The blog has been quiet but life has not; I have plenty of things to share once I get some photos taken and edited. I've been doing lots of knitting, some embroidery, and even beading, along with the usual summer activities - farmer's market Saturdays, walks with the kiddo, family days at the park or taking drives, as well as plenty of relaxing.


This is a test knit for Sam of Knitquest. The Pacific Diamond scarf pattern should be available on her patterns page soon. The yarn I'm using is Socks That Shine merino/tencel blend from Some Assembly Required/Socks that Fit. I think it is perfect for lace - very subtly variegated, smooth, and shiny.

I've also finished my bamboo camisole. This is a horribly blurry picture, taken just after grafting the shoulder straps but before adding the picot edge to the neck and finishing.


I'll get some help with good photos hopefully over the coming weekend. The picot edge helps the neckline a lot, and blocking opened up the lace at the bottom. Bamboo stretches a lot though, and after a few hours of wear my cami is no longer fitted like it appears in this picture. It's now quite loose and flowing, which is still a good look. But it's a very, very good thing that I wore another camisole underneath it when I left the house on Sunday afternoon.

I've also started a sweater for Mina and picked up Snow White again. I attached the sleeves last night and began the shoulder shaping, so I should have a finished sweater soon. Hopefully very soon - I've become obsessed with patterns for several other sweaters and a skirt, but must finish a few things first!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

summertime

The long, slow summer days are here, which for me means more time spent doing summer things and a bit of a slowdown with crafting and blogging. Here's a little bit of what I've been up to, presented in fragments since that's how my mind works right now.

My first overnight trip without Mina - first time away from her at all other than to go to work. It was surprisingly easy for both of us.

My sister's 30th birthday bash (hence the overnight away) - I stayed up way too late and had way too much hefeweizen. The next morning, staggering down the street toward coffee, I saw one of the Ride the Duck vehicles, empty of tourists, go careening at high speed around a corner, driven by a guy in a pirate hat, sunglasses and crazy grin, blasting "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" at maximum volume. I just stood there and stared, open-mouthed. Wow.

Trips to the farmer's market and lots of fresh veggies. Also, this week, handmade soap!

Summer food, which for me means lots of fruit and vegetables, yogurt, bread, sun tea, and nothing too heavy. Lots of Mediterranean-style food, and mostly vegan meals. There were garlic scapes at the market again this weekend. Last night's dinner was sauteed scapes, yellow zucchini, tomato, and peas with white beans. Perfect.

I've been embroidering. I can't show one project yet because the recipient would most likely see it here. The other project I'll show as soon as there is something to see. Hint - it has to do with the soap up above.

Slow knitting on the stockinette body of my bamboo camisole, while staying up way too late watching episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer online, a show I missed entirely when it was actually on TV. I rate it fairly high on the amusement scale now, though.

Reading The Living, by Annie Dillard, a book I've been meaning to read for many years, since it's a historical novel about the beginning of the white settlements that became the city I live in. Reading the descriptions of the land in this book, I can place where the characters must be standing and know what it looks like to see what they are seeing when they look out over the water toward the San Juans and the Olympic Mountains, or over the land toward Mount Baker. I try to imagine what it was like when my neighborhood was thick with 17-foot diameter douglas fir trees, so close together you had to turn sideways to walk between them.

Trips to local parks with Mina - exploring the mud flats at low tide, watching kids playing in the spray park or on the slides. Mina is too timid to join them. She is tall for her age, as big as the four-year-olds, but at two and a half isn't ready to run through the water or brave the slide like they do. I got concerned on Sunday when other girls, not realizing Mina was younger, made fun of her for being scared. She does enjoy her "splash pool" though, and sat through her first movie in a theater with her Dada yesterday.

Late nights and early mornings - the days are so long! The light creeps through the blinds around 4:30 a.m. and doesn't fade until after 10:30 p.m. I always forget how far north I live. Until reading The Living, where this is mentioned, I didn't realize that we are farther north than Nova Scotia and most of Ontario, which is counterintuitive, since the border with British Columbia is north of here, though not by much.

Hopefully there will be something craft-related to share in a few days. Until then, I'll keep moving slowly and enjoying the season.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

an introduction

It seems a little funny to be putting an introduction here, two years into my blog, but also kind of nice, since I know there are actually people out there reading now. Besides, this is Project #1 for the Farmgirl Hencircle, which I'm pretty excited about. So here we go.

First of all, what is a farmgirl? Eliza has answered that very well right here, so I'll refer you there. And why do I want to nourish my inner farmgirl? To me, the idea of the "farmgirl" brings together a lot of things I've been thinking about lately as I try to create the sort of life I want to live and share with my family. Back when I started this blog, I wrote about my purpose and hopes for it, and that short description is still 100% true today:

What is Everyday Autumn?

Every year in the fall I get energized. I want to make things, write things, cook, and bake. I start lighting candles and brewing tea. I have a million new ideas. I research, plan, scheme, and do. I learn new crafts and skills. But why just in the autumn? I want to bring more of my autumn self into my life every day, and here is where I will share it all.


And who am I? I'm Megan. I live in Northwest Washington, in a place where land meets water, where the natural boundaries of mountains, ocean, and streams divide the land, and an arbitrary political boundary divides countries. I haven't always lived here. I grew up in North Idaho, in a family full of sisters, on a small plot of land in a small town. I was a 4-H kid, always working on projects in sewing, cooking, sheep raising, spinning, quilting, cross stitch, photography, and anything else that caught my interest. Our family had a huge vegetable garden and small orchard. I can remember bountiful summer days when we sat down to dinner and realized that everything on our table was the product of our own gardening or gathering. It wasn't always like that, but the memories are good.

I went away to college, here, and spent a lot of time in my 20's trying to hide my Idaho roots and show how urban and sophisticated I really was. My craftiness was limited to making Halloween costumes, theme party decorations, a small backyard garden, and my journal. At the same time, I was majoring in environmental studies and literature, so I spent a lot of time thinking about global sustainability and individual expression and trying to work out ways to combine what felt like disparate things into one identity and purpose.

In late 2001, feeling angry and disillusioned with the world, I did two things. Well, three. After reading every fantasy novel in my house during September and October, I taught myself to crochet and I started transforming my written diaries into art journals. The crochet didn't stick, but the art journals did, for several years. Then in January 2005, I learned to knit. Knitting has since become my primary craft love and obsession. However, I also sew, embroider, crochet, and do a little paper art and bookbinding now and then.

Since moving back to Bellingham (for the third time) four years ago, I've come to a clearer realization of how I want to live my life and especially what I want to share with my daughter. I identified the following list in my journal several months ago, as sort of a culmination of what I've been thinking about over the last few years. It just so happens that my list fits very nicely with the philosophy of the Farmgirl.

  • sustainability, green living
  • creativity, art, craft, the handmade
  • good food - vegetarian, organic, whole, local
  • community - supporting local businesses, making connections
  • family
  • learning
So, there it is. Why I want to be a farmgirl. I'm excited to meet the rest of you and see what kinds of amazing things we'll do.

Summer days just fly by, don't they? We've finally had warm weather here, so much time has been spent relaxing on the back porch, taking walks, and trying to keep the house cool. We're fortunate to almost always have a cool breeze blowing in off the bay, so aside from high humidity and allergies that come along with it, I don't mind summer heat one bit.

My camisole obsession hasn't abated. I wanted another cool fiber to knit when my hands are hot and another cute summer top to wear. I've had two balls of SWTC Bamboo in my stash for a couple of years, originally purchased for the Lotus Camisole from Spring 2006 Interweave Knits. I couldn't get gauge for that project and decided I didn't like the shoulders so much after all, so the yarn sat and sat. Just this weekend I realized that it should work for the Silk Camisole pattern in Last Minute Knitted Gifts, a book I've had for even longer than the yarn. Both of them just sitting there for years, and I never put two and two together.


This is the old version of SWTC Bamboo, the chain construction, slightly scratchy kind. I like how it's knitting up though, and I think once blocked it will show the vine lace at the hem beautifully. The color is a bit warmer, more plum, than it appears on this monitor (funny, because it looked accurate on my laptop). It is actually a near-perfect match for this:


This is the wonderful swap package I received yesterday in the Veg*n Summer Swap, through the Veg*n Craft*n group on Ravelry. My swap pal Celeste/anotherveganknit did an awesome job of putting together a package that is just perfect for me! There was some confusion and Celeste thought she was supposed to send to someone else. I was worried because no secret pal had contacted me. It all got straightened out at the end though, and my pal couldn't have done a better job, even if we had been emailing back and forth all month. The yarn is Hemp for Knitting Allhemp6, something I've been wanting to try for a long time, and the color is one of my favorites, almost exactly the same as the bamboo I'm knitting with right now. The cute zipper bag says "veggies are dope" and has a Cowhugger Clothing Company button attached. The pewter peacock is a necklace on a long chain (I'm wearing it today!), and the book is a blank journal with a tea leaf reading theme. There's also a canister of mango ginger iced tea, the kind in silk pouches. Yum. Thank you so much, Celeste!

Other than slow knitting on my bamboo camisole and time in the sun, I've been spending way too much time on Plurk. It's fun and addictive - I love keeping up with what my knitting pals are doing all day and participating in the conversations that are always going on. I don't have a real life stitch and bitch, or even a group of friends in my town, so this is the next best thing. I'll be back later today (hopefully) with my farmgirl introduction post for the Plurkette Hencircle, one of the best things that's happened through Plurk (or anywhere else) so far. Go visit the link if you want to know what the heck I'm talking about - it's pretty cool. And if you want to look me up on Plurk, please do! My username is the same as my blog and Ravelry name. I'd love to chat.