Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hello Spring!

The winter silence has been broken with chirping birds, chattering squirrls and peepers. With spring in the air I never imagined I would still be clicking the sticks on my sweater. I had set a goal to be done by March 31st which would have been 6 weeks total. I did not anticipate how slow the center cable design was going to be for me. As I approach the 8th week I am pumped with confidence and motivation. I was able to try it on for size this weekend. Fits just like it was made for me! 
After I took the above picture I trimmed all of the loose ends and added the collar band. I wished I had gone down a needle size. This is more preference than anything else. Once this sweater is blocked it does become more refined in appearance as the fibers relax. In the end, the collar will be just fine.

Sleeves, here I come. Realistically, with the warmer weather here I will give myself 3 weeks for each sleeve. 
On the jewelry side of things I had a first time buyer from Lillesand, Norway. They purchased three pairs of earrings and a bracelet. I received word from the buyer that the package arrived in 4 days. That is quicker than some of my packages to the south or west. I received a kind note from the buyer which made me look up the exact location in Wikipedia. Lillesand is a seaside village with a population of approximately 9,500. The pictures were absolutely charming and they surely resembled a New England seaside port.
I received an inquiry today for a pair of earrings resembling berries. The buyer did not commit yet, but since I had a little time this evening I quickly assembled a pair. They are delicious looking.
I also have a pair of Spinners available in battleship gray. These are a shorter dangle than the original design. About 2 inches total from the ear wire to the curly cue wires on the end. This has got to be one of my favorite designs.

Enjoy the weather this coming week.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Bead One Knit Two

I am thinking about changing my blog mission statement to Bead One Knit Two. Combining my interests seems to make more sense than writing two blogs.

First mention is a navy blue and ivory bracelet I designed this past week incorporating beaded beads. I really like the mixed materials and I hope they are well received.  

March is a perfect time to take inventory and prepare for spring and summer color pallettes.
As promised in my prior post I have work in progress photo of my sweater. Remember, I had to frog the first attempt because my third stitch pattern was flawed in count. I hope to finish 5 inches more of the current stitch pattern this week. Once complete I begin transitioning to the 4th stitch pattern as well as the shaping of the armholes. 
I have seen half a dozen finished sweaters of this design by  other Ravelry members.  I am happy to know the pattern has been thoroughly tested before me. Seeing their completed projects keeps me motivated to finish as quickly as possible. My goal is to be done before April 1. If you want to see the Tarian by Thayer Preece Parker go here. It has glorious detail and I love the sleeve option. I am not quite sure if I will add the thumb hole yet, but it is a good possibility.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Patience Gives Me Strength

When there is something I want I will patiently persist. I will ignore that little voice that says you don't have what it takes.  I will break down the task and do it again and again. The last sweater post picture was unraveled and reballed because when I got to the third pattern sequence the stitch count was off. I had no recourse but to frog it and start again from the beginning. I was fortunate to find someone on Ravelry making the same sweater pattern. I sent Molly an email and she answered me right away with the solution. It's really joyful to find another passionate knitster who quickly responded. Well, I started again and when I got to the point of contention the first time around my anxiety level rose because if it happened again I might not have recovered. I am pleased to report that Molly had steered me right. Relief set in immediately. I am humming along with the third pattern change. I will show that progress later in the week.  Stay tuned. 

In between the frogging of the sweater I repeated the watercolor cowl. It was a peace keeping project in the midst of a crisis.  Different from the last version I eliminated 20 cast on stitches giving this one a more snug fit. I am super happy with the result.

And last, but not least is a mention of my neglected beading :(  For this familiar beaded bracelet design I inserted one of my beloved beaded beads. I may have mentioned 100 times prior that I love bling. I think that is why I like including silver on everything. This idea came about unexpectedly.  I was only planning to string up only the black pearls. My beading mat is usually an embarrassing mess of half completed ideas. There in the corner lay a few of the galvanized silver beads. Wait a minute ...why have I never thought of this before.
This blinging beauty is a size 7 and it will be up for sale just as soon as I can shoot the pictures in the daylight this week. On the tails will be dark blue pearls with an ivory beaded bead. It will be laced with the galvanized seed beads and the same clasp. Oh yes, size 7.  I have a few 8 inch of this design in my shop, but I am finding this size not to be in demand.
Stop back for the sweater progress post!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Forgotten Heart

I crawled out from under a pile of yarn today to give a forgotten jewelry design a shout out. This copper heart was photographed, but never posted. I thought it was timely to add it to my shop. The beads are ivory with a gold core and a deep red/brick red. This bead appears to have a brown hue when the bright light shines through the beads. I have posted the heart in my Etsy shop today.

In case you are wondering I did not make this cashmere scarf. It was a gift and a lovely choice for me who loves soft, cuddly yarns.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Upward Challenge

I might as well climb Mt. Everest. The self inflicted challenge of knitting a sweater has me sweating with perfection. I am at the point of the pattern where I need to do a 2 stitch cable front and back. The stitch is easy, but slooowwww. I realized two-thirds along the first row that a few of the stitches did not look right.  I could have made the correction and kept going. Who would notice? Me! My eyes would forever be drawn to that row. So, I did the right thing. Knitted my way backwards and started the row again. For a knitter, these moments of realization make you want to scream. However, we compose ourselves and tend to the task with a feeling of satisfaction when the correction is done.  I have had the same moments in beading too, so I am no stranger to this helpless feeling of having to lose precious time and energy on a correction. 

In comparison to my prior post it does not look like I made much progress. Because I am knitting in the round both the back and front are completed at the same time. This technique adds to the production time. 

An update on the watercolor cowl in the prior post. I gave it to my son's best girl.  I had enough yarn to do it again, so I am repeating that cowl while I work on the sweater. It's my in between no brainer project. A knitter always has these project working along side the complex projects.

This package will be mailed out on Thursday due to the winter snow storm upon numerous states. We should have 12 inches in my area today by dinner time. Spring, get here fast!

Stay warm!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Too Cold For Beads

Beads have been on the back burner since the holidays. To use an appropriate figure of speech in light of the polar weather lately they are on ice. My focus is on anything cozy and warm.  In my last post I showed the start of a cable and lace cowl knit in the round. It came out more beautiful than I imagined and this Red Heart Boutique Treasure yarn surprised me in quality. Nothing against Red Heart. It is just suitable for certain types of projects, especially afghans that require durability for washing an drying.

When it comes to what you wrap around your neck to feel cozy I am a yarn snob and acrylic contents don't always measure up to my expectations. I like comfort yarns like cashmere, wool, bamboo or silk.
Kudos to Red Heart on this combination of 70% acrylic, 30% wool, called Watercolors. Love it!
Next on the needles is a sweater for me. I have not done a sweater in years. It was time for a challenge of the mind because it takes a mathematician when it comes to fitting a sweater from a designers pattern. Gauge, gauge, gauge it. If you skip this tedious exercise you may never knit again. I think I did about 5 swatches using various needle sizes above and below the recommended size 6 circular. I ultimately decided to stay with the size 6 and adjust the cast on stitches. My needles are crossed that my calculations are correct and I can post the finished sweater with pride.
Here is a sneak peak of the yarn. Natural color made of 50% Alpaca, 50% Wool.
Keep warm! We are having a little snow here in upstate NY today. Hopefully, just a few inches which makes having it cold whole lot prettier.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cheers 2014

I am always happy to see a new year come. It opens doors to life experiences and opportunities to learn. I have been taking a winter break from making jewelry other than a few gifts . I made this pair for myself. The copper delicas really make the interior colors pop.

I am all about yarn in the winter months I have been experimenting with how to write up my own pattern. While working on a new knitted cowl project this week the mind tends to wonder. I thought about how I have been knitting for 44 years and never completed a project with cables. I have made numerous sweaters and hats, but none of them ever had cables. This year, I am going to incorporate lots of cables! Here is my first project just getting started. This yarn has some gorgeous shades of pink, teal, orange and red that will reveal themselves in each round.

This week, I finished this gorgeous crochet infinity scarf made with baby alpaca and merino wool. It is so soft you would never know there was 30% wool.

As much as I love it, I am putting it up sale in my PJSAnnex shop until I decide whether I should just use this shop for seasonal items or pursue another Etsy shop dedicated to yarn works. 
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dabbling In Beads

I am compulsively busy with yarn lately, but I took a time out from trying to finish the last scarf that will be gifted to a friend. These blue tassel earrings came about while experimenting with a custom order request. The buyer wanted something similar to the Oscar De La Renta beaded tassel earrings (small picture). Here is my interpretation of a tassel design with a sterling silver filigree bead. 

Long Beaded Tassel Earrings, Violet

The next pair of earrings were an attempt to use the triangle foundation to form the cap to the tassels differently. The idea went south, so I just kept on with the pattern to finish them in the traditional triangle beading pattern. What I like about these earrings is the combination of the silver and copper delicas.

Both earrings will be for sale in my Etsy Shop. There is a 20% holiday coupon available to the end of December.