Thursday, March 25, 2010

Button, button, who's got the button?!?

At no point in my life did I ever imagine I would give a flying fig about buttons. Sure, I enjoying having buttons on my clothes--without them, life would be rather drafty--but for most of my existence, buttons have been purely functional.

This no longer seems to be the case. Suddenly, I just cannot get enough buttons.

I visited etsy to look for some buttons for my Wicked Rib Eyelet Vest--the button selection at the local craft store leaves much to be desired.

My vest is a mossy green (hence the colorway, moss), so I wanted wooden buttons, but with a bit of flair.

And, I found these beauties:

And I thought they were just perfect. But these looked a bit lonely:

So, I offered to take them into my home too. And then, these managed to jump into my cart as well:

Sigh. I got all of these lovelies from Natural Resources. They shipped from Hong Kong, so they took a few weeks to get here, but for a total of 30 gorgeous wooden or coconut shell buttons (12 each of the little ones, and 6 of the biggies), I paid $10, including shipping. I think that's a darn good deal.

And I did, as planned, use some of them for my vest:

Pattern: Wicked Rib Eyelet Vest
Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style in moss
Needles: I forget. 5, maybe?
Size: Small, 35"

I started this project a looooooooong time ago, and then got distracted by shiny objects and other things. Actually, I finished the back pretty quickly, then got the crazy idea of working both fronts at the same time on one needle, which turned into a tangled, confusing mess, and sapped all of my enthusiasm for the project. So I tucked it away in my WIP basket, never to be heard from again--until I decided to do some WIPs-dancing for Ravelympics. And was pleasantly surprised how quickly the knitting went once I made the intelligent decision to tackle each front separately.

This was easy knitting. The shaping got a little tricky, since you're shaping both sides of each front while trying to maintain a pattern--so you're trying to count rows, stitches, and pattern repeats simultaneously. But I made sure to make notes on the first front so the second front would match, and it turned out near-perfect, I think.

I finished this up several weeks ago, and have just been waiting on these gorgeous buttons. I don't particularly like sewing on buttons (trying to get them to line up with the buttonholes = exercise in futility), but was so eager to don the vest I did it with minimal griping, and finally got to wear my vest to work yesterday:

Note: I am not actually at work in this photo. I am sitting on my bed, after getting dressed for work, waiting patiently for the self-timer. I also have not brushed my hair.

In another news, I've reached 10% of my fundraising goal, but I've still got a long way to go. So keep those donations coming, and get your chance to win fun yarn-y prizes!
And in that vein, the Lovely Leann, who's donating a prize for this raffle, tells me she's changing things up with her etsy shop and heading to this address, where she'll have some yummy fiber-y treats up soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

Friday, March 19, 2010

But wait, there's more!

The Lovely Leann and Delightful Deirdre have offered up two additional prizes for the raffle. That brings the total up to 5, and we're still 2+ months out from the drawing!

Leann is the dyer behind the Enchanted Hues Etsy shop, and has offered to donate something from her shop to a lucky raffle winner. She has some gorgeous stuff there, makes me want to try dyeing.

(Sometimes I accidentally type that "dying." I definitely don't want to try that anytime soon!)

Deirdre, the purveyor of the newly-opened and fantastically awesome Flocks of Yarn is offering up the Transition Gloves pattern and the yarn to make 'em.

Thanks so much to Leann and Deirdre!

And for these two wonderful women, as well as everyone else who donates cash or prizes for this fundraiser, I've created this cutie little badge to put on your blog, ravelry profile, or wherever:

support badge

This is my momma, circa 1973. Cute, huh?

So, once again, for every $5 you donate, your name will go into the hat for a yarn-y prize, and you've got until June 4 to pony up your hard earned cash. And spread the word!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Team Mary Kate

Good Afternoon Knitters and other Fiber Enthusiasts! Today I am going to talk to you about a cause that is dear to my heart. And then I'm going to tell you how you can win knitting-related prizes for supporting said cause. Pretty good deal, huh?

The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding a cure for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The Foundation funds cutting-edge studies at major medical institutions, nurtures investigators at the early stages of their careers, and finances underdeveloped areas of research.

My mother was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 1975, a time when very little was known about the disease, and even less about how to treat it.

But times are changing, and the more support the Foundation receives, the more effort and funds can go into researching new treatments and perhaps one day, finding a cure.

Two years ago, the Foundation began the Take Steps, Be Heard walk for Crohn's and colitis. With 100 walk sites nationwide, in those two short years, the Foundation has raised over $13 million for Crohn's and colitis research.

My sister has signed up for the Baltimore Take Steps, Be Heard walk (June 5, 2010), and asked me to join her team, Team Mary Kate, to raise money in honor of our mother, who has now been battling Crohn's disease for 35 years (I hope to walk as well, but may unfortunately be out of the country).

I know knitters, crocheters, spinners, and dyers are a generous bunch, so I'm asking you to support my sister and me in our fundraising efforts.

And to thank you for your generosity, I'll be raffling off some fibery prizes! What are they? Well, this raffle is a bit of a work in progress--and the more donations we receive, the more prizes I'll add to the pot. But to start, you could win:

Norah Gaughan Vol. 1


a skein of Sundara sock yarn in Adobe, from the Santa Fe collection


a skein of Shivaya Merino Lace (from the now-defunct but much-loved Shivaya Naturals)

Leann, the dyer behind the Forbidden Woolery Etsy shop, and has offered to donate something from her shop to a lucky raffle winner.

And Deirdre, the purveyor of the newly-opened and fantastically awesome Flocks of Yarn is offering up the Transition Gloves pattern and the yarn to make 'em.

I also picked up a skein of Creatively Dyed Calypso yarn at Sheep and Wool, just for you guys!

For every $5 you donate, you'll earn one entry into the raffle ($5 = 1 entry, $25 = 5 entries, etc.). I'll keep the raffle open until Friday, June 4, and announce raffle winners on Monday, June 7 (unless, like I said, I'm out of the country--then it will be just a few days later!).

I know times are tough, but if you've got $5 to spare, please consider donating to this cause! Check out my fundraising page here, and if you do donate, please send an email to kristen dot jancuk at gmail dot com, so I can get your contact info, and make sure your name is entered in the raffle.
And hey, if you want to donate raffle prizes, I'd love that too, just shoot me an email.

And before I forget, please SPREAD THE WORD. If I can get just 50 people to donate $10 each, then I'll reach my goal of $500. I know I can do it with your help!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

On my needles

Nope, couldn't come up with a better title than that. But, I'm posting twice in one week, so that should count for something.

In addition to finishing a pair of toe up socks, I started and made, in my opinion, good progress on a number of projects over the last month or so. Here's what I'm currently working on:

A Springtime Bandit scarf/shawl type dealie, in a color I just adore (that's Dream in Color Classy in Gold Experience):

However, I managed to screw it all up last night when starting the 5th repeat of the body chart. I'm a stitch off, and have no clue why. Now I've got to rip out 4 rows. I do love ripping. And by "love," I mean "detest."

Still plugging away at this Tweed Baby Blanket:

Do you suppose it's just a coincidence that so many Jared Flood patterns look like shapeless jellyfish blobs until they're actually done? This one's been on the needles for quite a while, but I finally finished the boring square part and even managed the tedious task of picking up 440 stitches around the edge. But now I've got to knit 24 rounds with those 440 stitches--this one will be looking like a blob for quite a while, I predict.

And an Every Way Wrap in some snuggly Malabrigo:

Reversible cables=the devil's playground. Or the devil's work. The devil's something, anyway. This project got off to a terrible start that lead me to believe some wires inexplicably got crossed in my brain and I could no longer read charts or work cables without a cable needle. Turns out, there's errata for the pattern. Of course. And quite inane errata too--the chart was published with the key backward, so the instructions in one column actually match up with the icons in the other column. Sigh.
Since this discovery though, it's been smooth sailing. That is to say, no screw ups. But working reversible cables is fiddly, and I don't think I'm a fan.

Now, the plan is to finish all three of these month.

No, really.



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

hello . . . is there anybody in there?

Hello to anyone left out there reading. I decided to take the month of February off from blogging because I had a lot I wanted to accomplish in a very short month, made even shorter by the fact that I took the last few days off for vacation.

But now I'm back and hoping to get back into the blogging swing of things. And I'm starting off with a bang. Check these out:

These, ladies and gentlemen, are my very first toe-up socks. And I knit them in just ONE MONTH. That's right--whole pair of socks, new technique, one month.

Do you think there's some kind of illness you can get that makes you knit faster and more productively? I hope I'm never cured.

Now, on with the FO post:

Pattern: Lace and Cable Socks by Wendy Johnson, from her fabulous book Socks from the Toe Up
Needles: Size 1.5, Addis
Yarn: Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! in Smaller Yellow Ant

As I said, these were my first ever toe-up socks. I opted for Judy's Magic Cast On, and boy do I love it. So simple! Almost foolproof. Quick to start and creates a gorgeous, comfy toe. Highly recommend.

Other than the cast on, the socks were rather uneventful--the pattern is clear, the yarn was a DREAM to work with (just look at that color!), and I can't report any problems that were not my own stupidity. Such as, I made the feet too long, so the socks are actually a bit big for me.

I finished the first sock and immediately cast on for the second before Second Sock System could take hold. But when I got to what should've been the end of the second sock, I realized I had a lot of yarn left. So I added another pattern repeat. Which means I had to go back to the first sock, rip back and add another pattern repeat there too. It was daunting--I tried that technique where you pick the stiches up first, then rip out (as seen in the third photo here). It wasn't without its errors, but I managed to get all the stitches back on needles and continue on my merry way. I'm quite glad I did, as these socks are the perfect length.

For that tricky cuff bind off--want to make sure it's stretchy!--I tried Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind off. What do you think?

Looks pretty good, huh? A sewn bind off is also quite stretchy, but it doesn't look nearly as good in my opinion. This actually has a bit of an arty flair to it. And it lives up to its name, plenty of stretch.

And now I'm itching to cast on for another pair of toe-up socks! I've wound some Madeline Tosh sock yarn so I can get started, but unfortunately the pattern calling out to me is cuff down. What to do, what to do?

I have a few other projects to show you guys, most importantly my completed Wicked Eyelet Rib Vest that I started forever ago and completed for WIPs-dancing ing Ravelympics. But I'm waiting on buttons, so we'll save that for another post.