Elle Melle (again!)

Standard

I started this new, bigger Elle Melle cardigan for M back in April, and then got distracted by my own projects this summer. But now it’s finished, and it’s a great replacement for her first Elle Melle, which she outgrew years ago!

New sweater, new kitty

New sweater, new kitty

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Elle Melle (with some modifications)
Yarn: Harrisville Shetland in “Aubergine” and “Plum”
Needles: Size 2 and Size 4

About the pattern modifications: the main one relates to the collar, for which I made the same adjustments as I did in the original Elle Melle, and in my “me-sized” one. I first did a couple of extra rows of raglan decreases, in the first 4 rows of garter stitch, and then I did a few short rows to angle the collar:

Elle Melle, close up of the short-rowed collar modification

I just think it looks nicer that way!

Elle Melle, investigating the decaying leaves on our deck

I knit the sweater extra long, because my kiddo keeps growing like a weed! I probably should have made the sleeves a bit extra long, too, but it’ll be easy enough to rip them back and reknit the ends of them once they start getting too short; I’ve got a decent amount left on each cone of the yarn!

Elle Melle, back view

I’m half-tempted to pick up another cone of each color, too, because when I finished the sweater, I decided I would try it on, and y’all, the sleeves are way too short, but otherwise? It basically fits me! So now I’m wishing I had one in purple, too!

M’s new Elle Melle is all finished and blocked, and y’all, other than the sleeves being way too short, it fits me. My kid is getting so big!!! (And also I’m kinda tiny.)

(Forgive the absolutely filthy mirror – today’s cleaning day!)

Tis the season for reknits of sweaters I’ve made for M when she was younger…can you tell which sweater is up next?

So many things in one photo!

She’s just such a fantastic knitwear recipient – always happy to wear (and model!) what I’ve made for her, and truly appreciative of it, too. It’s so worth it!

From above :)

She’s wishing HARD for some snow, now that we’ve reached November, and who knows, maybe next week she’ll get her wish! And at the end of the month, she’ll be EIGHT years old! Can you believe it? I hardly can!!

Ta-da! Elle Melle is finished!

Happy November, everyone!

Halloween 2019!

Standard

Happy Halloween from Banana Girl!

Banana girl + banana phone!

Taking a call on her banana phone

That’s right, my kiddo wanted to be a BANANA for Halloween. The word “banana” has been her very favorite “verbal stim” – if you’re not around neurodivergent people much, you might not know what that means, but basically, it was a word that felt really good to say, and she’d say it over and over as a way of creating pleasing, calming sensory input for herself. Banana banana banana. When I asked her, much earlier in the year, what she wanted to dress up as for Halloween, she replied, “banana banana” and I wasn’t sure whether she was just stimming, or whether she really wanted to be a banana, so I asked and the answer she gave me was “both!” (She was in fact THRILLED with the idea that she could actually BE a banana!) And once she decides something, it is DECIDED, so we’ve stuck to the plan. So yes, my kiddo is dressing up as her favorite verbal stim for Halloween!

Maddy took a picture of me cutting the fleece for her banana costume. (Yes, she’s going to dress up as her favorite verbal stim word for Halloween!)

Because both M and I have “engineering brains” and find this kind of thing quite engaging, we spent quite a lot of time working together to develop a plan for the banana costume – our “banana planana“. (I mean, she’s not wrong – that IS fun to say!) We discovered that bananas are pentagonal, and the design went from there!

Sewing the banana!

It took quite a bit of thinking to figure out how to place the zippers so that they opened the way they needed to, but thankfully my new sewing machine made the actual construction pretty easy – I’m *so* glad I got this machine!

Banana girl!

I’m pretty darned pleased with how it turned out – my sewing machine skills are still pretty rudimentary, but it looks pretty much exactly like what we were imagining!

 

Zipping herself up

Zipping herself up

 

Banana girl licking her own peel?

Tasting herself – turns out, fleece doesn’t taste like banana

Banana girl + banana

Banana girl contemplates banana

Our Halloween is going to be VERY wet (so much rain!) and my friends in the upper midwest have snow, but I hope everyone has a wonderful Halloween, anyway! Or if that’s not your thing, I hope that you have a great Thursday!

Banana Zombie?

It’s a Banana Zombie!

leftover legwarmers

Standard

I had some bright green Cascade 220 Superwash leftover from my Tric cardigan, and I had an idea: I always need knee-high socks to wear over my tights in the winter, so that my tall boots don’t shred the tights. I also like having a pop of color that coordinates with my outfit, but finding knee-high socks in the right colors is hard! But if I can make little boot-topper/legwarmer type thingies out of my leftover sweater yarn, then I can have those coordinating pops of color easily! (I mentioned this idea in this post, awhile back.)

Making legwarmers

So, what I did was cast on 64 stitches using the backwards loop cast-on – this is not the cast-on that I would normally use for 1×1 rib, but I had a reason: I like the loops that the backwards loop cast-on creates for creating folded hems; they’re really easy to pick up and knit with the stitches on the needle. But before I knit the hem together, I sewed up a ring of sport elastic, and held it between the layers:

Making a folded hem with elastic

I actually made a YouTube video to show what I was doing – it’s not great, both because the camera didn’t want to focus very well, and because my kiddo interrupted a few times, but I’ll share it here in case it’s useful:

 

Now that I’ve got the elastic knit into the folded ribbed hem, I’m switching to brioche rib, and I’ll knit the main part of the legwarmer in brioche, decreasing a few times as I get further down, before ending with plain 1×1 rib. If this plan works, I’ve got lots of single skeins of worsted weight that I’ll be turning into legwarmers!

Making legwarmers out of leftover yarn from my sweater!

I got new glasses today, can you tell?

it’s a scarf!

Standard

Turns out, if you just keep knitting…scarves do eventually come to an end!

Trying (and failing) to get the entire length of the scarf in a photo with the self-timer.

Trying (and failing) to get the entire scarf into a photo using the self-timer on my camera

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Paris’s Brioche Scarf
Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in “Whale’s Road” and Fibre Company Canopy Worsted in “Quetzal”
Needles: size 4
Time to knit: 3.5 months

All done!

I’m really thrilled with how it turned out – the colors ended up working out so well together. I’m especially in love with “Whale’s Road” color on the dark side!

My daughter is also pretty thrilled with how it turned out, and begged me to let her model it for photos.

Modeling my finished brioche scarf

It does look awfully great on her!

She's such a ham when the camera is out!

She’s such a ham when the camera is out!

mama, take a picture of me laying down!

She’s begging me to knit one for her, too – I don’t have any of the light color left over, but I do have an entire skein left of the Malabrigo Rios in “Whale’s Road”, so if I can find a good contrast color for it in my stash, I’m thinking I might try to make a cowl version – it would give me a good reason to figure out how to do 2-color brioche in the round!

All folded up!

It’s like 2 scarves in one!

I learned a LOT from this project; before I started, I’d never done 2-color brioche, and had just started experimenting a bit more with double-knitting. Now both techniques are pretty automatic in my hands, and I have a much deeper understanding of the stitch mechanics and geometry, and how the two types of knitting are related to each other. So I definitely got what I wanted out of using this project as my entry in the Fruity Knitting “Scary New Technique” knitalong; and not only that, I got a beautiful, warm, squishy scarf!

So happy with my finished scarf!

This is definitely going to get a lot of wear this winter!

this is the scarf that never ends…

Standard

It's so long...and yet not long enough!

Yes it goes on and on my friends…

I started knitting it not knowing…

….anything about 2-color brioche, and though it took awhile to get the hang of it, at this point, it’s become basically automatic for me, which is awesome! (Ok, I gave up on making that fit the song!)

The trouble is…there’s still more scarf to knit. Because scarves? They need to be LONG. When I fold this scarf over at what I think will be the middle (because that’s where I ran out of the first skein of the light blue), it looks like I’m just over 3/4 of the way done, so I’m getting closer, but gosh, this is a good reminder of why I don’t often knit scarves…even one as beautiful and engaging to knit as this one just gets old after awhile!

I am still just madly in love with the way this “Whales Road” colorway of Malabrigo Rios looks in this scarf, especially in natural light (like when I was knitting while waiting for M’s bus to arrive).

I am still madly in love with the way that the Whales Road colorway of Malabrigo Rios looks in this pattern, though, and the promise of the beautiful, squishy scarf that will be mine once I finish keeps me going.

Getting closer...

Getting closer, but still so much more to knit!

september sewing and other fun

Standard

Whew, what a whirlwind these last few weeks have been – the start of a new semester, followed by my daughter’s first day of second grade, plus a whole lot of evening workshops that I needed to run…it’s been a lot! But even though I’ve been too busy to make much happen on the crafty front, I do have a few new things to report. First of all, we finally set up my new sewing machine down in the basement!

my sewing area!

Not the most beautiful sewing space, but it works!

Over Labor Day weekend, I attempted to sew my very first project on the machine: a Strata Top with some double gauze that’s been hanging out in my (very small) fabric stash for quite a long time.

sewing!

My new sewing machine (a Singer Quantum Stylist 9960, which I got for half price!!) is an absolute DREAM to sew with. I had thought that maybe sewing just wasn’t for me, because with my old machine, it nearly always ended in tears of frustration. But this machine?

sewing!

No tears, just smiles!! I do still have quite a bit to learn about sewing, though; I really screwed up trying to sew the sleeve hems, so I ripped those out, and then when I was doing that, realized that in attempting to create french seams, I’d inadvertently eaten up WAY more than I was supposed to in the seam allowances at the top of the shoulders. Here’s what the partially-finished top looks like on me:

Strata Top in progress

It’s maybe a bit hard to tell, but even if I *can* get the sleeves hemmed properly, the sleeves are going to be too snug; I needed that extra material at the top of the shoulder! I might try to rip things back, but given how many layers of stitches are there (e.g. the neck facing), and how fragile the double gauze is (it was hard enough to rip out the attempted sleeve hem without tearing it), I may need to just accept that this one didn’t work out. I might try something a little simpler next. I mean, I know the Strata Top is a “simple” pattern, but it’s so simple that the instructions are quite minimal, and I’m not experienced enough to roll with that..at least on something that is supposed to fit me in the end!

In these last few weeks, the only thing I’ve consistently made time for every day (other than my teaching and parenting responsibilities) is violin practice. Inspired by Hilary Hahn, I decided to start my own “100 days of practice” challenge, and I’m now on day 28! (If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I’ve been sharing a 1-minute long video excerpt from every practice session!)

I'm 28 days into my "100 days of practice" challenge!

It has been so rewarding to hold myself to making sure I do at least a little bit of practice every day. Challenging, too – I often end up practicing in the basement (right next to my sewing machine!) with the heavy practice mute after my daughter’s in bed. It’s also just a lot of fun! And I think what I’m getting from it is something that knitting has taught me well – I can’t expect to finish a project in a single sitting, but if I keep at it, sometimes just a row or two a day, eventually I will finish the project. And the same is true with practice – I can’t play the piece I’m working on right now (the Chaconne, from Bach’s d-minor Partita) all the way through, and it’s not even reasonable to expect myself to be able to do that, but if I chip away at small sections of it, with consistent practice, I really CAN learn it!

It's getting longer!

Speaking of chipping away at things piece by piece, or row by row, look how long my brioche scarf is getting! I’ve been knitting a row or two in the car on the way into work (I’m not the driver!) and occasionally I can even sneak in a row while my students are doing some in-class writing or group work! And look, it’s long enough now that I can even knit it while wearing it!

I can knit it while I wear it :)

This is going to be such a warm and a delightfully squishy scarf – and so pretty, too! Happy September, everyone!

Knitting while wearing :)

progress report!

Standard

When I finished Tric, I promised my daughter that I’d finish a sweater for her before I started another one for me, so I’m making good on my promise. Look, I finished a sleeve!

Look, I made a sleeve!

I’m hoping I can have this Elle Melle finished in time for it to be part of the “Something to Wear” portion of M’s Fall Equinox gifts. I think that should be doable, except for how classes start next week and I’m going to be a VERY busy bee!

Now I need to remember how to make another sleeve!

I also need to remind myself how to knit the second sleeve; I know that I always have problems with this pattern if I follow the written directions as I understand them, but I think I made a few notes to myself when I knit the first sleeve, so hopefully that goes ok! Then there’s the neckband and the button bands, and then it’ll be all done. I’ve got 1 month. Can I do it? We’ll see!

The other project that I’m making good progress on is my brioche + double knit scarf. I’ve really internalized the pattern at this point, so can knit it without carrying my iPad around with me, so it comes with me in my purse pretty much everywhere I go.

It's getting longer!

It’s getting long!

I’ve still got a long way to go, because that’s just how scarves are. I’ve definitely not yet reached the halfway point, because I’m still working from the first of the two skeins of each color. I’m not in any real hurry to finish this, other than that I’d like to finish it before the end of the Fruity Knitting New Technique KAL (which is running until at least the end of September, last time I checked).

Dark side!

Dark Side

Light side!

Light Side

Every time I think it’s looking long, I wrap it around my neck and realize that nope, scarves don’t work if they’re not almost as tall as you are!

Showing off dark + light side.

So that’s what’s been on my needles since I finished Tric!