Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ready to be knit up

Remember the yarn I spun on Sunday? Here it is, all skeined and ready to be knit up. To be honest I have no idea what I am going to knit with it. Maybe it will become the yoke of another Cerise Baby Sweater... maybe mittens, or a hat, who knows...

For now, I am going to enjoy looking at it. It will sit on my bedside table.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tying up Loose Ends

This morning, I woke up with the worst back pain. No painting walls for me today. My problem is I hate being idle, in particular when I am determined to accomplish something.

I had to find something to do that would still relate to making the house nicer. About a year ago, I finished a quilt top. It had been sitting on the chaise in my room, ready to be finished.

Now that was a project that tied in well with the house, and would be fun, and satisfying to do.
I grabbed a ball of left over red yarn, and sitting comfortably started tying little bits of red yarn at the intersections of the fabrics.

No heavy lifting while hand-quilting, and before I knew it, I was done.

This back pain was a great thing after all, it forced me to sit long enough to finish the quilt top, and led me to choose the simplest way to finish the quilt. Mind you, I really love the minimalist look of the yarn ties. They add a touch of color and texture, but do not distract. The fabrics still are the center of attention, and are both physically and metaphorically tied together.

After the tying was done, I guess I must have relaxed while doing it, my back felt a little better. Nothing like tying loose ends!

Monday, June 28, 2010


This morning, I forced myself to walk to downtown Jamaica Plain to the post office and to the paint store, because I really had to. The heat has been incredible today. It is sit and sweat weather.

I reached downtown JP, soaking wet. After I was done with my errands, I stopped by Goodwill and and was about to leave the store when tucked in a corner I saw something ...
I walked over, drawn by the lovely jadite color, knowing full well, that once I got close there would be no turning back, I would have to buy this gorgeous vintage Singer Sewing machine with its cute little table.

I got closer, gently touched the 1958 Singer 185J , and looked for the price sticker, hoping it would not be too expensive. You see, it would be difficult for me to justify buying yet another sewing machine. I am not a collector really, but I happen to have 2 Victorian sewing machines in their gorgeous tables, one of them a Singer in mint condition, then a vintage Necchi in its table as well, a modern Brother, and a modern Janome. I did not really look for them, I just happened to find them on the street, sitting there all lonely, or at a garage sale. The Janome is the only one I really ever bought, until today...

I made up my mind, marched to the counter, debit card in hand, ready to scream, "I saw it first"! I paid, and picked up the machine.

It did not matter to me that it was swelteringly hot ouside, that I would have to carry this piece of furniture all the way home, walking, for about 20 minutes.

Now something amazing happened, which convinces me that this was all meant to be. As I was carrying the sewing machine, a gentleman asked me if I needed help. I told him I had to walk for about 20 minutes, but  he said he was on his lunch break, and would help me. He carried it to the cross street nearest to my home. He talked gracefully all the way, inspite of the heat, and inspite of the heavy table. In the process, he said he was a  software engineer, so I told him my husband ( also a tech guy) and I  would take him out for lunch to thank him.

I have carried lots of very heavy and awkward pieces of furniture in my life ( not knowing how to drive), but nobody has ever offered to help. In my eyes, this was a sign that buying the machine was the right thing to do since the heavens smiled on me.

The other thing I have not told you is that we have been thinking about moving to a 1950s house in Natick. Should I read finding a 1950's sewing machine as a sign? When I told Mr SockPixie about the adventure, he said " Next, you are going to tell me that we need a house to match the syle of the sewing machine!" I think he knows me too well!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Spinning

I like to spin on Sundays. Spinning seems to go so well with the relaxed pace of Sundays in the SockPixie family.

Spinning is the opposite of work, it is the opposite of hurried, it is the opposite of busy, it is the oppposite of quick, it is the opposite of a duty. Spinning feels like a vacation on a beach, slow, bright, soft like the sand running through one's fingers, it is sweetly musical, like the gentle ocean waves...

I have a chest full of rovings. I never really pick randomely which one to spin. I stand and look at the colorful display before I pick, until one roving draws my attention. Today, the deep reds and aqua with a touch of sunny yellow caught my eye.

I spun my favorite worsted weight singles, effortlessly drafting, relishing the play of colors on the winding bobbin.

Today's spinning was like taking a stroll in the hills of Trouville in Normandy, with brightly colored red and yellow flowers along the roads and being surprised to find, after a turn in the road, the aqua sea.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In Betweens

There is something about that time when I am in between projects. Yesterday night, very late, I finished work on the Cerise Baby Sweater. This morning I felt I needed a rest from knitting, but of course, as I sat there sipping my coffee, working with Mr. SockPixie on the design of the blog, my fingers slowly started to itch.

Swatching, I told myself is not really knitting. So off I went to my craft room, I picked up a periwinkle skein of Cotton Fleece, some size 6 needles, sat back down next to Mr. SockPixie, knitting and talking.

The first swatch: a P3 K1 rib.

Then a second swatch, same P3 K1 rib, but then came the fun, smocking with a contrasting red yarn.

I love the result. I am so excited to be working again. I guess my in between rest is finished. Off to work on a classic design...

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Friday, June 25, 2010

The Cerise Baby Sweater Pattern is Ready!

The Cerise Baby Sweater pattern in sizes preemie to 24 months is ready (Link to the pdf at the bottom of this post)!

I love that it is a touch retro with a little Japanese inspiration...I love that it looks like a cherry against the pure, blue sky...

I love that the yoke looks so bold, like the coat of a precious little emperor...

I love that Cerise is as simple as it looks... I love that it is worsted weight... I love that it knits up so fast...

I love that $3 will be donated to March of Dimes for every $5 pattern sold...

I love that together we can make a difference in a baby's life... Thank you...

Click on the Buy Now button to purchase the pattern and immediately receive an email link to download the pdf file. (You do not need to be a Ravelry member, nor do you need to have a Paypal account.)

If you experience any difficulties downloading the pattern, or have a question about the pattern click my picture in the top right column to contact me.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cerise Baby Sweater

You remember a few weeks ago I created a little preemie baby sweater. I have reworked Cerise since, and it is now ready to be published as a pattern which I will be offering for sale for $5 and will be donating  $3 for every pattern sold to March of Dimes an organization that helps babie start healthy lives.

Here are 2 little twin sweaters I knit for a friend who is expecting a boy and a girl in the fall. I love to test knit with a pupose.

Cerise knits up really fast using worsted weight yarns, one in a striping pattern, and the other a solid. The pattern will be offered in sizes from premie to 24 months. Easy garter stitch and thoughtless stockinette as well as no seaming will make this project a breeze no matter how close your deadline is! I have to warn you, though, these baby sweaters are addictive, I have already knit 6 of them, and am working on a 7th one using some handspun for the colorful yoke.

The pattern should become available tomorrow evening. Mr SockPixie will help me set things up so that you can download the pattern easily after purchase. I can hardly wait to show you the particular sweater I selected to be in the pattern's pictures. Same easy pattern but a completely different feel... Shall I say that I am crazy about it?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Though I have been quiet in the blog world since my return from Paris, I have not been idle. I have been spinning a storm.

I have fallen in love with spinning worsted weight singles. I love that the colors retain their brilliant contrast.
Though I love plied yarn, I find that the colors are attenuated by the plying.
With singles I get to spin a usable yarn in a shorter amount of time, and the colors delight me. Imagine an hour and one half of relaxed spinning and a glorious skein to show for it.

Here is one of the many singles skeins I have spun. It is spun out of a Blue Face Leicester I hand-dyed a few months ago.

When spinnning singles you intend to use as singles, it is important to not overtwist. I set my wheel on the largest whorl in order for less twist to be put in the yarn. I also set the wheel so that it will have a fast uptake. I also make an effort to treadle slowly (I usually put apeaceful music on with a slow beat, somehow that helps remind me to go slowly.) I try not to hang on to the yarn too long, but rather let it slide quickly between my fingers.

The result is a beautiful, soft, yarn that holds together well. I do not full my worsted weight singles as there is enough fiber in them for them to hold well on their own.

I usually let the freshly spun singles sit on the bobbin for at least 24 hours, and then set them. To set them, after winding them into a skein, I soaked them in a lukewarm bath with a little soap. I let the skeins soak for about 30 minutes. I then rinse the skeins in cool water. I gently squeeze the water out, I thwack them, and then hang them with a weight at the bottom.

Et voila! Delicious yarn to be eyed, petted and knit up!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Meet the Trouvillaise in Petite Purls

I have been unduly quiet, I know, but I am back. Thank you for checking on me.
I am coming back to my blog with something I am really proud of.
I am so happy to share with you my secret project laTrouvillaise, a classic looking bathing suit I designed for the summer 2010 edition of Petite Purls.

I wanted it to have the feel of my childhood holidays in Normandie, I wanted it to be fun, cheerful, and easy to wear, perfect for playing...

To knit a bathing suit, there is no better choice than Cascade Yarns' Fixation. Just the right amount of stretch for a perfect fit. I picked the colors after the color palettes so often found in the early 50's. The possibilities are endless though, and why not a 2 color palette...

I designed the bathing suit to have a comfortable fit, with wide shoulders to protect them from the sun, and nice legs to avoid the bathing suit riding up with even the most emergetic games.

I am sure you all recognize Miss SockPixie as the model. We had so much fun together taking these great pictures of her wearing La Trouvillaise. We were so lucky, we only had a short window of time to take the pictures, and the heavens smiled on us. The weather was incredible that day.

Miss SockPixie is in love with the bathing suit, and has been wearing it secretly around the house only since this was a secret project. She can hardly wait to go the beach and wear it.

I won't hold you any longer. I know you will want to go check this wonderful new issue of Petite Purls. It is full of beautiful projects for our little ones. Happy Summer Knitting!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cerise Baby Sweater Pattern

Click on the Paypal Now(you do not need to be a Ravelry member, nor do you need to have a Paypal account) to purchase the Cerise Baby Sweater and download it easily.

If you experience any difficulties downloading the pattern, or have a question about the pattern click my picture in the top right column to contact me.

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