Wednesday, September 2, 2015

On My Needles || Imogen Tee



I tend to stick to fairly simple sweater projects, partly because I tend to prefer bold colors over ornate stitching, and partly because I just like the ease of sailing through a stockinette body after a long day at work to help me unwind. The motif on the Imogen Tee pattern is just so pleasing to the eye, however. I believe I first saw it through my Instagram feed and knew that I had to find the pattern. That's how it is with me and knitwear patterns.  There's no wishy-washy indecisiveness of "well, I guess I'll start on this...." It's always more like "THIS!  It without a doubt HAS to be THIS!"  And so it goes, and I end up with 5 things going at once, but at least I'm enthusiastic about all of them.  I digress...

 This design is by Carrie Bostick Hoge for Quince & Co. I opted for Knit Picks Lindy Chain over the Quince & Co Tern. I've had some curiosity about Lindy Chain since it was debuted and decided to try out the Celery colorway. So far, I've not been disappointed. My motif is a little more open than the garment shown on the model. I will need to wear a camisole underneath it once it's done, but I think the stitch definition will pop once it's blocked and it will make a nice, cool, summer sweater. One that I will finish just in time for fall to get here. 

Around the time I began Imogen, I was somewhat hesitant about starting a project right then that required enough attention to follow a chart on every row, but it hasn't really required much concentration. The motif section is very short, so I zoom through the round, slow down a bit to reference the chart, and then pick it up again after a moment or so. As I'm writing this, the project is nearly halfway through the raglan decreases (it's knit from the bottom edge and up) and I'm hoping to have it done by the end of the month.  It will be a perfect addition to my spring capsule wardrobe (have any of you gotten on board capsules too?) and will give me something to look forward to other than, obviously, spring in general.  Until then, I'll be looking forward to fall...

  imogen

Monday, August 17, 2015

12 x 12 Preview



I'm very excited to be participating in Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition's 12 x 12 Art Fundraiser this year!  The image above is a detail shot of my piece, "Velvet Toothed Polypore", inspired by a fungus of the same name.  See it in the preview exhibition at Bank of Oklahoma's Leadership Square Gallery in Downtown Oklahoma City until August 31st, or catch it at the 12 x 12 event on September 11th at the Science Museum of Oklahoma.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

June Garden



All the rain we've had this summer has really helped the garden take off.  It was a little slow to start, because it was, well, underwater... but after a little compost and some sunshine it's pretty thick!  With whatever space I don't take up with my veggie plants, I like to plant zinnia and cosmo seeds, and also allow all the basil germinate from plants that bolted in the garden last fall.  





Fennel is a new one for me, to grow and to eat.  This bronze fennel is really striking in the garden though, and I'm excited to harvest both seeds and the bulb before long.




My reasons for loving zinnia are pretty much apparent here - there is so much color variation!  Each new bloom is a pleasant surprise with an unexpected hue.




At our previous house, I had a butterfly milkweed plant growing in my flower bed that just randomly germinated in a gaillardia plant I brought home one year.  Every time I drive by that house I'm sad that I didn't bring it with me, along with the purple coneflower that I moved back from Austin with.  Both are huge and nicely established now, covered in blooms all summer long.  Hopefully they are being enjoyed by the new tenants and passersby!  In any case, I planted a few different types of milkweed throughout our yard with hopes of enjoying these plants once again.  The one above is tropical milkweed.








My niece helped me build this herb bed in the spring.  It needs to be weeded, but is otherwise flourishing.




First little pumpkin of the season!  (first one ever, for me)






Last year's oregano made it through the winter and decided to bolt (along with the sage and parsley) this past month.  It's huge and smothering the peppers at the moment, but the flowers sure are pretty (and pollinators are loving them)




Along with the milkweed, I sowed an entire packet of coneflower seeds in a small flowerbed I made on the side of our shed last year.  Nothing came up last season, but I probably had about 8 coneflower plants come up this spring!  They are taking quite a while to start flowering, but are finally starting to produce heads.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Indigo Milky Cap in the Shop + 15% Off Until Saturday



Remember the mystical indigo milky cap?  It's one of the many mushrooms that prompts the phrase "I can't believe that this exists!" to exit my mouth.  Or at least run across my brain, momentarily.  I felt like knitting up a couple of these tonight, and have just added them to the shop!  And it gets better!  There's currently a summertime 15% off sale going on - be sure to use the coupon code "summersolstice" (all one word) at checkout to redeem your discount.  Grab em while they're hot!






Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Off the Needles || Twenty Ten Cardigan

dress - Old Navy; brown flats - Target, head scarf - thrifted


It feels good to be finishing up some projects again!  Things have been a little hectic around here, and I have a couple of projects going that still need to be shared.  This is one that I finished a few months ago and just recently sewed the buttons onto.  It may finally be worn instead of draping over my studio chair looking pretty!  The pattern is Twenty Ten Cardigan by Veera Valimaki, knitted in Knit Picks Billow yarn in the Turmeric colorway.  The finished garment turned out a little large, but I expected it to be a little oversized since the gauge of the yarn I used was slightly larger than that of the yarn the pattern called for.  By the way, everything I said in my previous post about Billow-- I still mean it.  This cardigan is so soft, and the moss stitch pattern has beautiful definition. I would love to use it again for a different project, especially with all of the gorgeous colors available.

Lastly, I feel like I just need to say something about this wall.  Wow!  Part of me felt like I was standing beside Frida Kahlo's La Casa Azul (or at least I was wishing it was), and the other part was feeling nostalgic for sidewalk chalk from back in the day.  I've been eyeing this building for a while, wanting to get FO photos there and the contrast with the turmeric shade was just right.  

That's the final pattern from my Veera Valimaki project rule of threes!  Which designer should I move on to next?









Thursday, June 18, 2015

Living Wall || Mounted Staghorn Ferns




I first became acquainted with staghorn ferns when living in Austin - a good friend who was also a coworker had one in our office, but it had unfortunately seen better days by the time I arrived there.  I tried to revive it, but really didn't know much about the plant despite my otherwise green thumb.  All I knew was that one of my favorite garden centers down there, The Great Outdoors, had a giant staghorn hung from an old live oak tree, and there are few non-tree plants that have had that kind of impact on me.  Every year, the Zilker Botanical Gardens host a garden festival, which was where the office plant originated from.  I picked one up that year only to experience the same failure and disappointment at my inability to get one of these interesting specimens to thrive.  Now several years the wiser, I have realized after many house plant casualties the phenomenon of "loving a plant to death".  Too much water, folks.  It's one of the main reasons that people kill indoor plants!  Once I learned to be patient about plant care, I found that I had much greater success with long term health of indoor greenery.

Living walls have interested me for a number of years now.  With the exception of my studio, much of our house is pretty dim during the day.  However, the living room boasts a large window facing the east, and the room is bright in the morning hours and lit indirectly in the afternoon.  The wall facing the window is long and from the get go I saw it covered in plants when envisioning our new home.  Last year for my birthday, J gave me a birdnest fern, mounted on a tree cross section by a local business, Ghostcat Botanical.  This winter I found a couple of stag horn ferns in 4" pots and finally found a couple of pieces of wood to mount them on at an antique mall over Memorial Day weekend.  One is a box built from old barn wood, and the other is a hand carved panel, presumably from some type of cabinet door.




Mounting staghorn ferns is actually pretty simple.  Supplies include a mount such as a board or tree cross section, sphagnum moss, nails and hammer (or screws, your preference), and fishing line.  Staghorns are epiphytic plants, which means that they do not actually need potting medium - the roots will just attach to the surface that they are mounted to.  Since mine were started in the 4" pots they did have a little soil around the roots, which I wrapped with moist sphagnum moss.  I then set the root ball on the mount to determine where to place my nails.  Using about 6 nails around the perimeter of the root ball, I drove them in about an inch from the edge of where the root ball would be.  You can mark these spots and remove the plant while hammering.  Once nails are in place, position the plant again and make sure the moss is covering all surfaces of the soil.  Tie the fishing line to one of the nails and bring it over and around the root ball in a clockwise direction to a nail on the opposite side and wrap the line around it a couple of times.  Be sure to take the line underneath the flat fronds at the base of the plant and be careful not to damage or remove them, even if they are brown.  From here, take the line clockwise across the root ball again, to the nail just past the first one you tied on to (in the clockwise direction).  Wrap a couple of times, and take the line clockwise to the nail just past the second one you wrapped.  Continue to wrap, bringing the line just past the opposite nail that was previously wrapped until you have gone around the whole root ball a couple of times.  It doesn't necessarily matter exactly what pattern you wrap in, as long as the line is consistently supporting the root ball on all sides.  I wrapped around the base a couple of times as well, before tying the line off to the tail of line where I started and tucked both ends behind the moss. Gardenista has a great tutorial on mounting staghorn ferns as well, which I definitely recommend checking out if you're interested in trying it.

I know it's not exactly what one would call a living wall just yet, but it's a start!  I can't wait to keep adding to it over time and watching these babes grow.  On another note, I'm in the process of harvesting spores from the birdnest fern and plan to try my hand at propagating them.  I'll let you know how it goes!





Saturday, May 16, 2015

Shop Update || Knitted Accessories



I'm in the process of updating the shop with ready-to-wear knitted headbands, made from my original pattern the Urbanite Garland.  If you've been eyeing the pattern but are not a knitter, these are for you!

Perfect for keeping your hair out of your face on a windy day or seeking an effortless style when going out with friends, the Urbanite Garland is the ideal summer accessory. I created this design originally to get the utility of a bandana-- just dressed up a little... and I pretty much live in it on weekends. 

It features a wide band across the top of the head (about 8" wide) and tapers on the sides to a 3/4" band on the back. Subtle cable details accent the wider portion, while the thin part of the band has a more pronounced cabled or twisted appearance. The headband may be worn with the maximum width spread across the top of the head, or scrunched up a little for a different look. 

Originally just available as a knitting pattern, I'm excited to list the Urbanite Garland as a ready-made accessory, no knitting required!

Check out the available colors here - more to come soon.





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