Abundance

Life with Fiber and Fiber Arts

In Case You Missed It… January 16, 2012

Filed under: how to,New pattern,Yarn Pics,Yarn review — Hannah Cuviello @ 8:17 pm

About a year ago, I think that I made some foolishly brash comment about blogging more frequently in 2011. I suppose that I should have known better. I have the best intentions…really I do.

I think that this year, I will make no such empty promises. Instead, I will start off the year (or the third week of it anyway) by posting some of the picture tutorials that made it into my newsletters (note that this is a link to where you can sign up to receive said newsletters).  Some of these may exist in a previous blog somewhere, so if there are repeats, I’m very sorry!

What follows is a modest collection of technique tutorials for knitting and crochet.

Crochet Puff Stitch

From the Summer Newsletter, this is a fun little stitch I used in the upper border for my Sun People Market Bag.

The finished product in context looks like this:

Shortly thereafter (several weeks actually, since I send out newsletters only slightly more frequently than I post to my blog), I put together a little how-to for Thrumming (totally fun and ever-so-cozy, if you haven’t tried it before).

Thrumming: The Basics

Step 1 is the preparation of the Thrum.

Step 2 is the inserting of the Thrum into the knitting.

I used this technique in my Thrummed Scraper Mitt, an item for which I have been extremely grateful in the past several weeks (no snow on the ground since October, but plenty of ice encasing my windshield).

Speaking of snow…

In December, I began to have temper tantrums about not having any snow on the ground and put together a little pattern in honor the the snow I did not have. This pattern used…

The Picot Cast On

This was the edging for my Snowflakes that Stay cowl.

Incidentally, I used a lace weight, sequined mohair blend for this cowl and I love it quite a lot. I’m not sure how to feel about that, since I normally avoid sequins if at all possible. It’s just so shiny. So sparkly…

Still on a cowl kick in the middle of December, I proceeded to post this cowl, again using a fun and interesting cast on.

i-Cord Cast On

And here it is in action.

The yarn I used here is Mirasol Sulka, which I love. We had just recently received several new colors, and this pattern was a little celebration in honor of them.  Also, I was very cold. In fact, I don’t know that I have taken that cowl off since then.*

*Actually, I have taken it off. Once or twice.

For the record, we still do not have snow on the ground, and they have been promising it all week. Even Portland has snow. Portland!

I feel like I must be missing some tutorials, so I will be digging around in my computer for more and will post them (some day), when I find them.

  For the immediate future, look forward to a shocking tell-all confessional regarding unfinished and recently started projects, the goal of which will be to shame me encourage me to finish some of them.

 

1AM in the Abundant Yarn Household May 21, 2010

Filed under: designs,Yarn Pics,Yarn review — Hannah Cuviello @ 8:26 am

Getting ready for the cotton-knitting season, I have been rephotographing most of our summer yarns. This last weekend was spent primarily on Cascade Sierra. For those of you who may not have worked with this yarn before, it is a worsted weight  80%cotton/20%wool blend from Cascade, most notable (in my opinion) for its wide range of colors and satisfying, weighty drape. Having immediate access to all these pretty colors means playtime for Hannah.

Fast forward to 1 in the morning on Saturday, with me sitting on the floor, quite happily arranging colors and imagining the afghans and sweaters I could knit. At least it’s cheaper than going out to a movie, and it provides infinitely more entertainment. I am fairly certain that, if there were a job called Professional-Afghan-Color-Picker, I would be perfectly content working at it  40 hours a week. If I didn’t have roughly 4 dozen other projects in the works, I’m also pretty sure I would be casting on an afghan right now.

Oh yeah, I took pictures too.

Corals

The thing I love most about Sierra is how subtle the color variations are. Most people I have met have at least one of those chevron afghans that go through a gradient of a particular color (most often Green or Brown, I think). That is what I kept seeing in my head when I was playing with the Sierra.

Sierra Blue

I probably shouldn’t include all the pictures, because it would reveal to the world just how much time I spent on the floor playing with yarn, but I figured that I should at least pick my favorites. Who knows, maybe someone out there is struggling with just the right color combination and these pictures will help. I might mention that I am always both willing and available to offer my opinions on yarn combinations. Of course, asking me to spend more time looking at yarn is some kind of enabling, like asking a chronic gambler which horse to back.

Sierra Greens

Sierra Yellow-Orange-Brown

Well into the evening, I came up with a fun little game for myself; I pick two colors from opposite sides of the color wheel and transition from one to the other. For example, I would start with Orange and Purple…

Step 1 of game: Orange and Purple

And then pick colors that blend from one to the other.

Orange to Purple

Or…I would start with Sherbet and Olive (two fairly light colors)…

Sherbet and Olive

Olive to Sherbet transition

I think that I actually will be making an afghan out of this one. Mitered Squares, I think.

Olive to Sherbet afghan

Is that a bit dated? I think it’s dated to a time I never actually experienced, which means that I never got sick of that combination. Good to know; I guess that’s why we plan these things out. I may still go for it. Although I was also really fond of the Black to Olive transition.

Black to Olive

Black to Olive Transition Afghan

Well, um…maybe I will make them both.  I think I had better stop now. As much as I may have time to sit on the floor and play with yarn, I just don’t know if I have time to knit much more than two afghans. Besides, I still owe everyone two entries in my “Ways of Knitting” series. I am, in fact, working on swatches for it. I promise that I am not sitting idle (except for the playing with yarn thing). You see, I am just trying to placate you all with pictures of pretty colors. Ooooh… look at the pretty colors…..

 

Gratuitous Yarn Pics December 13, 2009

Filed under: Yarn Pics,Yarn review — Hannah Cuviello @ 11:16 am
Tags: , , ,

I have just spent the last few days taking pictures of Lorna’s Sock Yarn. Now, I have to admit that I was not as efficient as I could have been. I may have gotten distracted here and there. I may have taken more pictures than were  completely necessary. I may have played around with different color combinations and pretended that I was going to make argyle socks or colorwork mittens out of them. This is the reason that yarn junkies never should always should be in charge of yarn photoshoots.  I hope you enjoy the outtakes.  (Incidentally, you can link to this yarn in the store here.  I didn’t want to make all the pictures links, because that would be annoying.)

Goldhill. Raise your hand if this is your favorite Lorna's color.

Blackberry. I had an extra hard time with the really red purples.

I’m going to start with the singles and then move on to my favorite color combos.

Baltic Sea. Lines, Contrast, Depth. This is me getting used to the camera settings.

Bittersweet. Hard to really get the vibrance without making it too saturated.

Didn't work for the website, but Gosh that is pretty.

Something about the lines and colors in this reminds me of the Jetsons.

I love this picture. Just love it.

I love this color so much it gets two pictures.

And now for some group shots. A nod to Lorna's beautiful array of solids.

Pow! Pow! I'm not suggesting that these colors should be knit together in something, just for the record.

Shh...the baby's sleeping.

I think this is a very handsome combination for a man's Argyle. Let me qualify that. I don't normally tend toward gender bias when it comes to colors, but I have spent years answering the question "What are good Guy colors?"

...and fielding odd glances when I suggest this. Incidentally, I would knit these for my husband...and he would wear them.

I don't even know if I want to knit this one. I just want to look at it. OK, I do want to knit it.

 

Recipes for Happy December 2, 2009

Filed under: designs,New pattern,Yarn Pics,Yarn review — Hannah Cuviello @ 7:57 pm
Tags: , , ,

It’s well into the busy time for fiber enthusiasts. The weather is getting colder, so we knit bits of warmth for ourselves and our loved ones.  The gift giving season is upon us, so we knit for others. This year, I’ve had so many huge projects on my plate that my “for warmth” knitting and my “for gifts” knitting have both lagged frighteningly far behind. It’s so bad that I actually just bought 2 sweaters (Don’t tell Grammy)! I haven’t gotten so hard up as to purchase a scarf or hat yet; I think I would sooner just wrap the yarn around my head (OK, maybe I would do that anyway).

With all I have to do, I have actually gotten very little knitting done (for me).  This is worrisome because I am not only trying to develop several patterns at the moment and trying to fulfill all my knitting obligatoins (as in, I promised someone a garment and have yet to deliver), but mostly because knitting equals sanity, as I’m sure you all know. I have found that the amount of knitting I do on a daily basis is closely linked to my problem solving skills and ability to cope with stressers in my environment.   In the absence of actual knitting, I have had to find other little things to help me maintain my overall optimistic and happy nature and prevent me from prevent me from downward spiralling into new and frightening depths of crazy.  Here are some of the things that have made me particularly happy in the last couple of weeks and for which I am very thankful:

Of course, Ice cream. This, however is not just any ice cream; these are perhaps the two best flavors of ice cream ever. On the right, we have Bone Chunks: Lemon ice cream with chunks of chortbread and white chocolate and chocolate covered sunflower seeds. It’s as bright and happy in your mouth as it is in the bowl.  On the left is Circus. I love this ice cream because it is thematically consitent. Cotton Candy ice cream with Mother’s Circus cookies (the white and pink one with the sprinkles). You might go into a little bit of sugar shock eating it, but it’s well worth it. They come from a local creamery in Spokane (Brain Freeze) and can be purchased, among other places, at The Scoop, my new local ice creamery.

Sloot Prototype

Some of the knitting I did manage to get done turned into a prototype for my new favorite garment, the Sloot – that is, Slipper Boot.  This is a child’s size and I have already cast on for the big one (my size!).  The ripple pattern makes this extra comfy and cushy. Doing the prototype gave me some very useful insight into changes I will have to make for the full sized version.

Sloot Side view- Have to change the increases

For one thing, I will do the calf increases along the center back, rather than on the sides, which will give it a less drastic increase while still being symmestrical. Other than that. I am thrilled.

Not my size.Kitty may be less impressed.
At the risk of seeming like more of a crazy cat lady than I really am, here is something Saffron (aka, kitty) wanted to add to the “Makes me happy” list.

Saffy's recipe for Happy

This consists of a soft place to sleep, a sunbeam, and something lacey to sink the claws into.  Coincidentally, this picture also makes me very happy. I distract her with curtains so she stays away from the knitting.

Lacking much knitting time myself, I was thankful to find a willing knitter to finally finish my second cabled fingerless mitt. While I’ve had this pattern written up for awhile, I have just never gotten around to knitting the second mitt.

If I do say so myself, I am quite pleased with these mitts. They are simple, but have nice little touches, like symetrical, off-center cables.  As of a day or so ago, they also have…

An afterthought thumb gusset.

This makes me soooooo happy. Many people who knit these fingerless mitts when I first printed up the patter didn’t care for how wide the thumb hole is. Admittedly, it is very wide, but I was aiming for maximum maneuverability. Now, everyone is happy. I have revamped the pattern, added directions for the thumb, and put up on the website for free download. I’m hoping people will take advantage of this; they’re really a ridiculously quick knit and perfect for the season (being both warm and good gifts).

Click on the following picture to go to the download page. Enjoy!

Finally, when I don’t have time to knit, the next best thing is to look at pretty yarn. So here we go (with commentary, since all the people in the room with me now are not yarnies and look at me funny when I talk to the pretties, but I have to let it out somehow.)

Meet Mericash.  This yarn is almost at odds with itself; so light and ephemeral it’s hardly there at all, but with colors so vibrant they seem to fill all the space around them.

Look at this.

It’s like “POW” right in the eyes, but the most refreshing, beautiful pow ever and I just keep going back for more.  It makes my hands itch. I’m feeling major cast on urges!

Some yarns, I’m sure you have noticed, have real personalities.

Pearl is a total Diva. Look at her, all dressed up and ready to go out. She’s sultry and elegant, and colors always look better on her. She’s almost a little too perfect.

At the store, we had completely sold out of our Pearl, and I have to admit that I was feeling a bit safer not having that kind of  temptation.Then we got in these new colors.

I just want to scrunch my fingers in them!

"I'm Ready For My Closeup..."

Some people who have spent time with me while I was talking about yarn (hmm, redundant maybe)  may have heard words to the effect of “my favorite yarn” escape my lips. These words, I’m a little ashamed to say, could have referred to any number of yarns of which I was enamoured at the time. Now, I’m not fickle, I just have much love to give. When it comes down to it, though, there is one yarn that I have stashed more often than any other, and from which I have made more items. And…we got in new colors. Please welcome Lorna’s Shepherd Worsted.

Observe it’s suppleness.

Note the delicate transitions from one shade to the next, the colors that evoke serenity and peace.

There are just too many beautiful colors from Lorna’s.  They have to be stopped. It’s not fair to us knitters; how can we possibly knit all the beautiful colors.

OK. I have to go knit now.

Next time …

Scenes from the Lorna’s Shepherd Sock photo shoot! (about 60 colors in stock- I just counted).

 

Next Up… November 10, 2009

Filed under: designs,New pattern,Uncategorized,Yarn Pics — Hannah Cuviello @ 4:35 am
Tags: , , ,

I have finished a pattern. It’s done. seedling hat

I typed it up, added pictures, made a chart (with much technical help), put it all together and converted it to a pdf. I have now officially exhausted my technical abilities. That’s all I’ve got- it’s guess-work from here on out.

I am going to try uploading it to my blog. Here goes (remember…guess work).

hmm.

See the empty space? Yeah.

Well, luckily, I have access to someone who has much more computery knowledge than I have. My father has successfully uploaded the pattern to the store website, where it is now available for free download!

seedling side

Click here to go to Download Page

With all this awful computer nonsense accomplished, I think I’ve earned some knitting time! “What’s next?”, you may ask…

Some of you may remember the 5 beautiful, naturally dyed colors that Stevanie at Abundant Yarn (now at Pico Accuardi dyeworks) developed for Cascade.  Cascade colorsWe hosted a color naming contest for these during Sock Summit, and Cascade chose the names a month or so ago.  From left to right, we have Seattle Blues, Sage Honey, Wild Honey, Desert Adobe, and Briar Rose.

I am working on sock patterns for each of these colorways, inspired by the names.

As you can see, I’ve been hard at work.

sock plans

Clearly, I tend towards the technical in my pattern development.

It can’t all be work, work, work, though (go ahead and feel jealous that I call drawing pictures of socks “work”). I actually have some personally fulfilling projects started, the most exciting of which is a new pair of slippers. Now, to understand what this means, you have to realize that slippers are an institution in my family.

Let us start at the beginning, though. I had a knitting Grammy. She was the foundation of all the fiber experiences of my life. Among the many patterns that were her signature creations (well, I don’t know if she really came up with the patterns- they could be everywhere- but she sure knit a lot of them) were a particular pair of slippers.  These slippers were simple and quick to knit, and were among my own first projects.

Grammy slippers

Every year at Christmas, every member of our family would receive a pair of knitted slippers. Such was the voracity of Grammy’s slipper knitting. Pictured above are perhaps the last extant pair of Grammy-knit slippers. I love them, but I want more. Now, of course I could just knit another pair of slippers and have them done in a relative snap. When I say “more”, though, I don’t just mean more pairs of slippers, I mean more slipper in each pair.

I’m going to make Slipper Boots! Sloots! Sloops? sbippers? Whatever.

You see, it is ridiculously cold in Spokane, and I am not used to this. The more of my body is covered with wool, the better. If the wool just happens to be knit in a ridiculous, puffy stitch, well even better still. I’m so excited! I’m knitting them right now, in between letters (is that why my blog posts take so long?).

New slippers

The choice of yarn here was, of course, key. I knew I wanted a worsted weight wool. Working from my stash naturally narrowed the options (OK, so it didn’t actually narrow them that much). I had to choose between Cascade 220 in Green and Gold, Lorna’s Laces Shepherds Worsted (my favorite yarn to knit with- yes, I have a favorite) in some dark variegateds and Imperial Stock Ranch 2Ply in “Black Cherry” and “Heathered Teal”.

When I came down to it, though, the choice really made itself. I already have a couple of projects in Cascade 220 green and gold (one of which happens to be slippers), so that was out.  I have a weird, covety thing about the Lorna’s in my stash (saving it for the perfect sweater), and I just couldn’t let it go, even for such a worthy project.  It came down to the ISR.  Really, this is a perfect wool for the project. It is remarkably light and lofty, while still holding its shape, the colors are lovely, and it come in rather large put-ups. Plus, ISR is an amazing company and I enjoy supporting them.

That said, I have a warm cup of coffee and some knitting waiting for me…

Spokane Cup

Cute novelty cup that I found in Seattle, of all places. It only holds about 4oz of coffee, but it is one of my favorite possessions. Plus extra getting up for refills just means that I work off another slice of pie, right?