Altered Art Necklace

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My friend Patti pinned this similiar smashing necklace on Pinterest and asked me if I could help her with the jewelry part. She is an accomplished (published!) artist in altered art, so I was tickled to help her with the project.

We bought the chain and findings, but everything else either one or the other of us had from back in the day. Isn’t it great? Thanks to Mandipidy for the idea.

I almost “forgot” to take it off after modeling for these photos.

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The Wonder of Goal Setting

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I am one of those people that gets a little anxious when I don’t follow through with a commitment. No matter that it was a breezy, passing goal I made on a blog in January. It kept gnawing at me. So, true to my word, I have completed three sweaters. I am now very tickled with myself, both for being a Good Girl and for having added some much-needed warmth to my wardrobe.

For the first round of photos, I was playing with my new iPhone 4S camera, which is supposed to be better than the plain ol’ iPhone 4. Hmpff. You be the judge. I just got the phone two weeks ago when my perfectly serviceable Palm Treo (yes, I know, laugh it up) finally started acting funny. Husband convinced me to get the 4S due to the improved camera (and because he wanted to ask Siri ridiculous things, like, “Where is the nearest bordello?” Turns out there is one in Holland, MI. Who knew?) Anyway, I’m not in love with the camera, but here goes anyway.

Sweater one: Miette. Love, love, love. And blogged here. I will redo this one in another color, maybe changing up the lace. I forgot to note in my previous post that I used Berocco Comfort yarn in “Teaberry”.

Sweater two: #28 Buttoned Cardi. Oh, so love this one. I made many, many mods, based on my experience with Miette. I used Galway by Plymouth Yarn, in color 156 (sorry, discontinued). I didn’t love this yarn, but it’s ok. I will be wearing it over other things, so softness is not the highest priority.  I read that it felts readily, so I will have to be careful with it.

“Better” iPhone 4S camera. Right.

Ok, maybe not fair to complain about the camera, considering my boy took this photo while looking up from his videogame. But still.

Cable detail. Lovely!

Sleeve detail

Sweater three: Jewels. My, how lovely. Great pattern. I had a yarn emergency with an oddball color. Same dye lot, but it did not match. I had to make do with three little skeins, so it is a bit short. I like it though. I used Sheep Shop Yarn Company (out of business, see review here), in Sheep Number One weight, color A078. I want to love the yarn, but I am annoyed about the color. The last skein really isn’t the right color either, but it is better. Also, it seems like it will felt in a heartbeat. Maybe even with regular wear.

Short rows to the rescue

Bottom third still looks funky. I might have to frog. Grrr.

I had been avoiding knitting sweaters, hence the goal. I had a streak of bad luck in the fitting department. So I knitted a bunch of lace shawls, consulted friends, thought about sewing constructions, and did a little research. Using Ysolda Teague’s fabulous book, Little Red in the City, I learned to design and knit short rows. What a difference.

Catching a Cerulean Warbler

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Today I got up at the crack of dawn to stalk a threatened species of bird, the Cerulean Warbler. The things we do for love, no? My husband is an avid birder who is a volunteer bird bander through the Kalamazoo Nature Center. As such, he was invited to watch (and assist) a research team in their CW banding project.

By the time we left at 10 am, we had caught one Cerulean Warbler that was already banded (caught first last summer), and we coaxed one new bird into the net. Very exciting.

The bird is a stunner, and just as tiny as can be. Look sharp to see him in some of these photos!

I was afraid he would get away, so I held him close at first.

 

Male Cerulean Warbler, as docile as can be.

 

Hard to get good sun while standing in a forest

 

Beautiful, right?

 

My Magenta Miette

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I have been playing along with Me-Made-May, behind the scenes. I didn’t take the pledge, but I have been participating. A few days ago I kind of forgot about the event and thought, “Oh shoot, I meant to wear handmade this month” but when I thought back, I realized I had been wearing Me-Made anyway! I guess that says something about the contents of my closet and how often I choose handmade instead of store bought.

This morning I finally got to wear my lovely Miette. It is on the way to 81 degrees outside, so I am no longer wearing a sweater over my t-shirt. But I looked damn good for two hours there, and I got a great compliment, so I’d say Miette is a keeper.

Bust Dart

 

Note bust shaping

I didn’t work short rows, I just used the pattern instructions for the bust darts. However, I started the shoulders in a size small, then kept increasing under the bust to a larger size. I decreased again for the waist, and increased out again for the high hip. I should have moved some of the hip increases to the back, because the increases I did in that short area between waist and hem made the sides stick out funny. It’s fine if I keep the sweater buttoned, which I guess I will always do!

I love this sweater and took lengthy notes so I can make it again. I plan to use the same basic shaping but change the lace pattern to mix things up a little. Oh, and next time I’ll put the buttons on the correct side.

#28 Buttoned Cardi

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Bad name, good project. I would call this Wheat Chaff.

That is one crazy cable.

I started this a few days ago with Galway yarn, which is too heavy, stiff, and scratchy, yet I am plowing onward. I don’t really know why except that I was on a long work assignment and had only that project in my bag, so I just kept knitting it. I am a driver, and I get paid to sit and wait while my passenger does her job. It was either knit this, or nap in the car.

The #28 Buttoned Cardi is from the Fall 2009 edition of Knit Simple. I made a lot of modifications to knit it in one piece, remove ease and give it some waist shaping. I may not be thrilled with how it all works out, but then I’m not afraid to frog and start over.

The cable is unlike any I have worked before. On the row below the cable (purl side), you have to slip 2 stitches where the cable is centered. On the right side, you then hold three stitches to the back and then work one of the slipped stitches, then the three held stitches; then you hold the next slipped stitch to the front, knit three, then knit the held stitch. It is one tight little cable, let me tell you. You stack four of those babies for this sweater. One of them is right on the front edge of the sweater, so I’m not sure how that is going to block flat, but we shall see.

Left front, stitch marker for side seam, and part of the back.

I had a goal, way back when, of completing three sweaters this year, not including the Dahlia, which was probably 7/8ths finished when I made my goal. I finished my Miette for the first, though I still need to find it some buttons. #28 Buttoned Cardi will be the second. I’m still contemplating the third. I have several pullovers in my queue, but I find that I prefer cardigans these days because, for the first time in my life, I get too hot. Suddenly. Intensely. I think you can see where I am going with that. I’m 45, after all. I can’t be trying to strip a sweater off over my head before I turn all red, get sweaty, and puke. Buttoned cardis it is! #28, even.

Man’s Shirt Refashion

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I saw this plaid shirt in the Eddie Bauer ad this week. For $69.

3/4-Sleeve Pattern Button-Down Shirt

Jah, what? $69?

I remembered I threw one of my son’s old plaid shirts in the “Do-Something-Interesting-With-This” basket in my sewing room, so I pulled it out and went to work.

I put it on, and pinched out vertical darts in the front and back.

Back darts

Front darts, tapered at pockets and hem.

After first try on, I lengthened the dart to the hem.

Then I pinned out about an inch of fabric all along the sleeve, from the underarm tapering to the cuff.

Finally I pinned up the length about 2 inches, minding where the bottom snap would end up. I ended up cutting off the hem and making a narrow hem.

The sleeves are a little long, but I didn’t want to ruin the cuff and placket. I thought about removing the length at the shoulder, but I didn’t want to destroy the topstitching. Instead, I decided to just leave them as is, and roll the sleeves up like the model. Cuz I’m fancy like that.

Turned out pretty cute, no? For a plaid shirt.

Now I have my eye on a chocolate brown number the Boy never wears.

Malukalong

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Unblocked Maluka

You know how it is when someone in your knitting group makes something great, and you all gush over it? A few weeks ago Lisa showed up with a Maluka. MMMMMmmmmmm! So pretty. She said it was really fun to knit. We all passed it around the table and petted it. Several people started writing down the name of the pattern so they could make it, so I said, “Let’s do an -along. A Maluka-along. NO! A Malukalong!”

It IS fun to knit.

You cast on and knit just 20 stitches, working the border first. After you make the 30-something 12-row repeats, you will have a lovely, long sawtooth edge. You pick up all along the top, smooth edge of this band, and knit short rows to complete the stockinette upper portion. It makes a very pretty crescent arc. This is a shawlette, really, though I suppose you could easily knit more teeth and then increase the number of stitches you pick up.

I am using Plucky Knitter yarn. Oh dear, so beautiful. Go see.