my first knit hat

As I mentioned a little while ago, I am now a knitter.  An awkward, slow knitter but a knitter nonetheless.  And to prove it, here is my very first knit hat!  A little wonky, sure, and maybe a bit too thick and floppy when you see it from the back, but overall?  It's a hat!  An actual knit hat.  The possibilities are endless now that I know how to click around two knitting needles.

I followed the Simple Pleasures Hat pattern from The Purl Bee and used Patons Classic Wool Tweeds in Paprika.  If I had used the recommended yarn weight instead I think I could have avoided the excessive thickness.  I did end up omitting a few rounds in order to keep the floppiness in check, but I probably could have left out a few more.  Once I got the hang of my circular needles, this pattern was pretty straightforward and simple.  Which is not to say that I didn't start it over about 9-10 times, but that's merely an indication of my very rudimentary knitting skills and not the pattern itself.

For any other beginner knitters out there, here are a few resources that I found particularly helpful:
Sooo, do you think I can convince people that the knitted gift they receive for Christmas this year is totally different than the crocheted gift I gave them last year?  Because it will be.  Totally, completely different...

    ooh la la evening shawl

    I started this shawl a few weeks ago with a wedding in mind, but ended up wearing a cardigan instead.  I'd had the pattern in my favorites on Ravelry* for months and finally succumbed to my curiosity.  I mean, this has a SLEEVE!  A shawl with a single sleeve.  How does that even work?  I love it.

    The pattern called for six balls of Paton Silk Bamboo.  I ended up using just a little more than four of them in the Plum colorway, which is perfect because two of the balls of yarn were from a different dye lot and consequently slightly off-color.  This 70/30 blend of bamboo and cotton is perfect for the shawl;  smooth, silky and a little bit decadent.

    I picture it with a Little Black Dress, pearl bracelet and a vintage hair comb holding back perfectly coiffed curls.  Or skinny jeans and a tank top.  Either one.

    You can buy a PDF of the pattern on Ravelry here or on Etsy here.  It is clear and easy to understand, but for some reason I was having a tough time keeping the stitches consistent.  I'd count each one, but somehow at the end of each row I'd be a little off.  Or the stitches in each row wouldn't quite line up with each other.  But the end result looks correct, so maybe it was just a figment of the imagination.

    I'm a cardigan girl through and through, but shawls and wraps are so classy I may have to make a few more of them this season.

    * I've been a member of Ravelry for a few years but never thought to mention it here.  Think of it as a social network for yarn junkies, the Facebook of Knitters and Crocheters.  You can find me on Ravelry by clicking here, or you can log-in and view the project page for this shawl here.

    cotton produce bag

    I crocheted up this produce bag using the linen grocery tote pattern from the purl bee.  Instead of linen yarn I used up some cheap-o cotton yarn I had laying around. I ran out of the primary color just as I was about to start the handles, so I did those in a yellow cotton.
    No modifications to the pattern this time, but if I give it another go I think I'll crochet a tighter mesh so that skinny cucumbers and zucchini can't make their escape so easily.  They have a tendency to poke out of the bag in a very obscene fashion, and I'd like to put an end to that right now.  I also might make the next bag a little bit shorter-- it has so much stretch that when it is full it hangs down practically to my knees.  Cute pattern overall, seems sturdy enough for a modest load of produce.

    One more day, kiddies.  Click here to enter to win a copy of Lunch Bags! 25 Handmade Sacks & Wraps to Sew Today or your own handmade lunch bag.  Giveaway ends tomorrow, August 12 at 8pm EST.

    kimono-style robe

    I made this bathrobe TWO YEARS AGO.  Almost exactly, I think.  When we first moved into our apartment, I didn't have a job yet and so had about a month or so with lots of free time.  A sweaty, anxious month to in our brand new apartment until I started my current position.  I did a fair amount of sewing, and this was one of the projects I completed.  I can't believe I haven't shared this sooner, because it gets the most use out of almost any of my sewing projects.  I wear it every day in the warm weather.  I think I initially didn't share it because I wasn't too sure about posting pictures of me in my bathrobe.  A little too much, ya know?

    The pattern is from Amy Butler's In Stitches, and although I sewed it awhile ago I do remember really liking the pattern and finishing it in just one unemployed day.  The sleeves are long for me so I cuff them once.  I think I also took a few inches off the hem as I do to most patterns made for regular-height adults, but the pattern produces a very short bathrobe anyway so I probably didn't need to.  If you are looking for more coverage, take that into consideration and buy extra fabric.  I absolutely love this print, and think it's most perfect for a kimono robe.

    sweatpants, or are they pantaloons?

    I had some bright blue fleece-y material laying around and a few episodes left on Season 1, Disc 1 of West Wing so this happened. I made sweatpants/golf knickers/pantaloons.

    I used the "Pajamas for Everyone" pattern from Weekend Sewing, modifying the length and adding elastic at the bottom hems. I've been seeing this capri sort of style around recently and thought it was pretty cool, but now I'm not totally sure. I think I still like them. I definitely love the pattern I used, the fit is perfect and it was super super easy. The sort of sweatpants you can whip up before lunch.

    Pattern review: Weekend Sewing is one of those books where all of the patterns are printed on just two sheets of paper, so you need a roll of tracing paper to copy the correct pattern and size. Just account for that time, because it can be kind of a bummer when you want to get started on a project right away but you need an extra 15 minutes or so to trace out the pattern pieces. Other than that, it was great. Clear directions, simple sewing, good fit. It called for a woven cotton, but I lived dangerously and used a thick knit. And even though I suck a little at knits, and I don't have a serger, it went totally fine as long as I used ballpoint needles and the awesome stretch stitch settings on my machine. Which are so sweet, I may have to dedicate a separate post to them.