Thursday, February 28, 2013

My First Venture into Fair Isle Knitting

Hello, readers!

Things have settled down in my Etsy shop lately (phew), so I have been taking advantage of the lull to work on some "for fun" knitting projects.  My officemate, Jassia, gave me some lovely dusty blue Debbie Bliss cashmerino yarn for a Christmas present, and I coincidentally had most of a whole skein of gray (also Debbie Bliss cashmerino!) left from  a brain hat, so I decided I would put them together and try my hand at Fair Isle knitting.  It is surprisingly easy!  I am knitting the Fair Isle Hat from Lion Brand Yarn's free pattern database, and it is going quite quickly.  I have finished row 13 of the pattern:

Fair Isle hat - my first attempt at this technique!
Fair Isle hat - my first attempt at this technique!

I am going to try to have this hat finished by the end of this coming weekend.  I really like it!  The yarn and the pattern are both gorgeous.

I also have quite a few pregnant lady friends (congratulations!), so I have been knitting baby gifts for them.  I would post photos, but then it would spoil the surprise!  I will just tell you that I have so much lavender, pink, and white yarn in my apartment, it looks like the Barbie aisle of a toy store after a bomb hit it.

And, last but not least, a bit of stitching...

I finished my first model sampler for Deb at The Stitching Bear, so as soon as it is published (March 4), I will post a lovely picture of it here!  She is sending me another piece to work on soon - it is from her "God and Chocolate" collection.  I can't wait to get started!  It sounds delightful.

That is it for my quick update - I have a busy day in lab today and have class this afternoon, but I will be in touch!  Thank you for stopping by!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Quick V-Day Update from Boston Airport

Hello, readers!  Happy Valentine's Day!

I am posting a quick update from Boston Airport, because I am heading to Houston to spend the weekend with my fiancé.  We have been together for three years, but the first time we have ever gotten to spend Valentine's Day together, so I am pretty excited.  :-)  Tonight, we are going to dinner at a French restaurant in Houston, and then we are going to spend the long weekend relaxing and enjoying each other's company. <3  I am a lucky girl.

Thank you to all of you for your well wishes over the blizzard weekend! :-) We got about 30" of snow, most of which is still piled on the sidewalks.  Unfortunately, I did lose power, so my stitch-a-thon wasn't quite as productive as I would have hoped (stitching by candlelight gives me a wicked headache), but I did manage to almost finish the bottom left quadrant of Celestial Dragon, and I finished my last brain hat and mailed it yesterday.  I will post pics of Celestial Dragon next week after I finish that quadrant! I also finished and framed the owl from my last post; now, I just need to get him photographed properly and listed on Etsy.

I do have some wonderful stitching-related news!  Sunday, I signed a contract to work as a model stitcher for The Stitching Bear, a really awesome cross stitch pattern design company based out of Missouri. Deb, the designer, sent me my first design this week, and it arrived yesterday. I can't post any pictures until the design is published in March, but it is a very cute pattern called "4 All Seasons Sampler Part 1 - Spring." Aside from getting paid to stitch a really pretty design, I also get to keep the beautiful leftover threads from The Gentle Art for my stash!  There are 23 colors in all, so I will be looking for a fun project to use the rest of the floss in.  The colors are all shown in the bright and beautiful photo with this blog entry.  :-)

Well, my plane is boarding soon, so I have to run!  Take care, everyone, and have a great Thursday!


Friday, February 8, 2013

First Finish of the Snowpocalypse - "Wise Owl"

Well, I have completed my first finish of the snowpocalypse - "Wise Owl" by Sandy Orton. Here he is, all stitched and framed!

"Wise Owl" by Sandy Orton - first finish of the snowpocalypse!
"Wise Owl" by Sandy Orton - first finish of the snowpocalypse!
We are getting some serious wind and snow here - including a few flashes of THUNDERSNOW!  It is pretty intense.  There are about six inches of snow on the ground, with more coming down by the minute.  I went outside and took a picture so you can appreciate just how serious "Nemo" is!

Snowpocalypse 2013 - Wollaston, MA
Snowpocalypse 2013 - Wollaston, MA
I hope you are all staying safe and warm - I will be back tomorrow to check in!  Next up on my stitching list is a few hours of work on "Celestial Dragon."

Happy stitching!


Snowpocalypse Stitch-a-Thon - and a Free Snowflake Pattern!

Brrrr, readers!

Here in the blustery Northeast, we are battening down the hatches for a good old snowstorm.  The snow started coming down at about 11:00 this morning, and it is already starting to accumulate on the ground!  The weather forecast says we should get about a foot of snow by tomorrow morning, with more to come tomorrow.  Gov. Patrick has declared a statewide emergency, there is a run on bottled water and batteries at the local Stop & Shop, cars are sliding all over the roads, and Beantown is in a general state of chaos.

So what does this mean for you, my loyal readers?

Well, my office is closed for the day, and the MBTA will shut down at 3:30 this afternoon, so I am officially snowbound!  That means... STITCH-A-THON!!!!!  I am quite excited, because I am building up half-finished projects more quickly than snow is piling on the sidewalks below.  So, I will be spending the weekend happily stitching away, by candlelight if need be.  I want to finish the owl and finish my current quadrant of Celestial Dragon, as well as finish the last (pink) brain hat in my order queue.

So, in the middle of this winter storm, if you need a new project, or if you are looking for an excuse to start something fresh, I have even put together a little free snowflake pattern to help you on your quest.  :)  Here it is!

Free Snowflake Pattern

Free snowflake pattern.  (c) Erin E. Turowski, 2013.  For personal use only.
Free snowflake pattern.  (c) Erin E. Turowski, 2013.  For personal use only.
30 squares wide x 30 squares tall
14-count: 2.1" x 2.1" (5.4 cm x 5.4 cm)
16-count: 1.9" x 1.9" (4.8 cm x 4.8 cm)
18-count: 1.7" x 1.7" (4.2 cm x 4.2 cm)

You can stitch this in any color you would like, although I think whitework would look quite nice.  For the "dots" in the pattern, you can either use French knots or seed beads for a bit of shimmer.  You could also add some blending filament (try Kreinik #032 in Pearl!) for a bit of extra sparkle.

So... stay safe, stay warm, and happy stitching!  If anyone else is stuck in this wonderful winter weather, please feel free to link to your own stitch-a-thon below!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Updates on WIPs

Happy Tuesday, readers!

I have been a busy bee, as usual.  I wanted to update you guys on everything I have been working on lately (hint: it is a LOT!).  I have been getting back into cross stitching as well as maintaining my knitting workload - the benefit to knitting being that I can do it on the train on the way to and from work without looking like that crazy lady sitting in the corner, sewing, pants speckled with cat hair.  :-)

So, without further ado...

1.) "Celestial Dragon" by Teresa Wentzler

"Celestial Dragon" by Teresa Wentzler
"Celestial Dragon" by Teresa Wentzler
The cross stitches in this quadrant are almost finished - I just need to fill in some more turquoises and yellows.  It is such a lovely piece!  The picture really doesn't do it justice - there is so much SPARKLE in it due to all of the blending filament.  I will make sure to get some great macro shots once it is finished and beaded to really show off all of the bling.  I should have it finished in, oh, about three years at this rate.  :)

2.) "Wise Owl" from "Hold that Thought Bookmarks" by Sandy Orton

"Wise Owl" from "Hold that Thought Bookmarks" by Sandy Orton
"Wise Owl" from "Hold that Thought Bookmarks" by Sandy Orton
I am stitching this one again because my fiancé bought the pillow ornament from my shop and now has it hanging in his apartment in Houston, and I have been meaning to re-stitch him for a while to restock.  I found a tiny little whitewashed white frame at Goodwill that will be the perfect size for him!  I will be sure to post pictures once he is framed and mounted.  You can never have too many owls sitting around!

3.) Knit dishcloth in "Playful Plaid" pattern

Knit dishcloth in "Playful Plaid" pattern
Knit dishcloth in "Playful Plaid" pattern
This pattern is a variation on the traditional ball band dishcloth pattern.  The plaid pattern is created by wrapping the yarn around the needle three times and then dropping the stitches in the next row, then you slip the loops in the next six rows thereafter.  It is a lot easier than it looks!  You can find the pattern over at Ribbed for Your Pleasure.  For this piece, I used Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn in Sunshine (MC) and Batik (CC) on size 8 US needles, and I really like how it turned out.

4.) Cashmere brain hat - now with improved packaging!

Cashmere brain hat - wrapped to look like a surgical pack
Cashmere brain hat - wrapped to look like a surgical pack
I have been knitting these brain hats since about November now (this was my twelfth one), and the buyer for this one is a human (MD) neurologist (I have to clarify, because I know more veterinary neurologists than I do human ones).  He requested that I knit his hat in cashmere yarn, so I knit it using Debbie Bliss's Cashmerino Aran yarn in silver.  While I was packaging it up for the mail last night, I had a great idea - I would wrap it like a sterile surgical pack!  I used tissue paper instead of surgical draping, of course, and I borrowed two strips of autoclave tape from our stockroom and filled in the indicator lines with a Sharpie (autoclave tape turns black under sterilizing heat and temperature conditions, so you know that whatever you autoclave is sterile until you open it).  I hope he appreciates the humor - I think I am going to wrap all of my brain hats like this in the future!

I had some yarn left over from the brain hat, and coincidentally, my officemate also got me another skein of the same kind of yarn in a different color (dusty blue) as a Christmas gift, so I am going to be working on learning Fair Isle knitting so I can knit myself a two-color cashmere hat!  Stay tuned for pics of that project - hopefully I can finish it before spring!

I also have a lovely little pink pair of baby mittens that I am working on getting ready for my Etsy shop (because God knows I have enough pink yarn in my stash from those brain hats).  :)

So... there you have it - a little peek into my WIPs and a couple of knitting finishes!  I hope you enjoyed it.  Thanks for stopping by and for all of your wonderful comments - I hope my new readers are enjoying my blog!


P.S.  If you have a minute, go check out Heather's Stitching Story - Heather is having a giveaway for some wonderful Little House/Country Cottage Needleworks patterns!  Country Cottage Needleworks is the company that published the pattern for "A Day at the Beach" by Nikki Leeman, which I finished back in October.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cupcake Keychain - GYB Giveaway Winner!

Hello, readers,

Just a quick update to all of you out in blogland!  First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who joined my blog after the Grow Your Blog party - it looks like there are about 30 new faces on my followers list!  I definitely enjoyed checking out all of your blogs and visiting a bunch of others through the GYB party.  I will post a quick WIP update tomorrow once I am settled in at home, but I just wanted to post the lucky winner of this cupcake keychain while I am thinking about it.

One of you lucky readers won this lovely cupcake keychain!

And the winner is...

Rai Rai from Rai Rai's Stitches!  Congratulations!

I will check back in this weekend with some pics of my WIPs.  I hope everyone had a great Friday!