Monday, January 19, 2015

Looking Ahead to 2015

Since I did a redux of 2014, I think it's only fitting to tell you about some of the plans I have for 2015! I have a ton of projects lined up and can't wait to start them. Hopefully, there will be lots of knitting and sewing this year.

On the knitting front, expect a relapse of Ysolda Fever. I already have Emily, Wee Envelope, and Poklon on deck and I wouldn't be surprised if a few other Ysolda projects make their way onto my needles. I'm particularly excited to make the Emily capelet; I've been saving 2 skeins of MadTosh Merino Light in Tart for a special project and what could be better than a pattern I've been ogling for years?

The other goal for 2015 it to do more sewing, especially with knit fabric. I'm getting comfortable with wovens so it's time to branch out. Fabric has already been purchased for three different patterns (a dress, a top, and a swimsuit). I'll keep you posted on how things are progressing once I start sewing!

Even writing this out makes me want to make All The Things. I hope 2015 will be a great one!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review

It's the time of the year to look back at what's been in preparation for looking forward to the new. It's been an awfully quite year at casa BrineyDeep (I scaled back at the end of 2013) but I'm looking forward to hitting my stride again in 2015 as my biggest 2014 project is getting awfully close to completion (yay!).

2014 was a big year for me between the new house, the new puppy, and the new sewing machine. I'm happy to say that I'm still in love with all three.

The new sewing machine translated into quite a lot of sewing this year, a theme which I expect to continue in 2015. Sewing highlights include a slew of mini charm bags and my favorite project of 2014, the bad passwords dress.

On the knitting front, I knit one Ysolda pattern this year and found a new obsession - Fiber Optic gradients. I finished a gradient shawl and, most recently, a gradient sweater and am looking forward to using more of my small stash of gradients in 2015.

All in all, it's been a good, though quiet, year. I'm looking forward to gaining more free time in 2015 and working through my to-do list of knitting and sewing projects. Here's to a great year ahead!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


It's been a wee bit crazy around here the last few months but I'm very happy to say that one thing did come off my needles: my Fiber Optic gradient sweater. I showed you the start of the sweater in this post from September and I'm happy to say that the final sweater is just as lovely as I envisioned.

Two gradient packs was the perfect amount of yarn for this sweater (honestly, I'm just lucky I'm not a larger size). I ended up with about 10 yards of yarn leftover and a bunch of 1" scraps. I'm rather proud of this efficiency.

The one thing I don't love about this sweater is that the ribbing at the sleeves and hem flares and flips up. It does not look nice and drives me a bit crazy. I need to figure out if I can stabilize it with a ribbon backing or if I have to rip the hems out to redo them. The sweater is currently in my "need to think about" pile (yes, I have one of those and it's not small) until I figure this out.

Other than the flippiness, I'm very happy with the final sweater. I admit that the yarn is doing most of the heavy lifting here. This is in no way curing my obsession with Fiber Optic yarns.

The good news is that I have two more Fiber Optic gradient packs on hand, one in ebony to holly and the other in smoke on the water. I don't know what I'll do with them but I'm leaning toward using them together as stripes. Won't that look lovely?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Charm Bags

Even though I don't have a lot of crafting time at the moment, I still must admit to being on a sewing kick. The new sewing machine is one reason I'm sewing more and the other is quilting pre-cuts, particularly mini charm packs. It's amazing how quickly pre-cuts can be sewn up into something cute. I made two small bags (onetwo) in the springtime and just finished a few more.

"Color Me Happy" (top) and "Sweet Serenade" (bottom), both from Moda

From start to finish, I can whip up one of these little zippered pouches out in just over an hour, which is super gratifying. These two bags are made of a 4x5 grid of mini charm squares and lined with another 4x5 grid (see last photo), which uses up 40 of the 42 squares in the pack. The result is a lovely 5"x8" bag.

"Mirabelle" fabric from Moda

I also tried out a flap version of the bag, but I like it less than the zippered version (the zippered bags are bigger and the flap isn't  a nice smooth closure)). The good thing about this version is being comfortable enough with the concept of making bags that I know I can modify the design. Sewing skills, I have them!

I have one more mini charm pack on hand and I have a feeling that it too will end up as a bag. The bags are just too cute, I can't not make another!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Color Progression Progress

I bought a bunch of Fiber Optic gradient yarn at Wisconsin Sheep & Wool and just cast on a project that will use two of the gradient packs: a Sugar Maple sweater. I admit to falling in love with this pattern after seeing the Fiber Optic dyer wearing her version using a different gradient colorway. I think the sweater is going to look sharp in the onyx-to-crimson progression.

The pattern itself is pretty straightforward - it's a tweaked top-down raglan - but the hard part is dealing with the 30 mini-skeins that form the two gradient packs. I need to keep the skeins in the proper order, do joins, and take care of ends, but it will all be worth it to see a smooth and subtle color progression in the finished object.

I'm using a couple strategies to make the yarn wrangling easier. The first is joining by magic knot, as shown in the video above. I'm not usually one for joins using knots (they distort the fabric a bit), but this was the easiest way to waste as little yarn as possible and avoid the added density of woven-in ends.

The other thing I'm doing is joining as I go, as it seemed easier to deal with yarn from one mini-skein at a time. To keep everything in order, I strung all of the mini-skeins onto a spare bit of yarn (shown in the first photo) at the beginning of the project and secured the yarn with a slip knot. Now, it's really easy to grab a new skein whenever I need one.

I'm pretty happy with my systems for dealing with the mini-skeins and I can't wait to show you more of this sweater as it progresses!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

WI Sheep & Wool

Its September in Wisconsin, which can only mean it's time for Wisconsin Sheep & Wool! This year's trip was lovely as I again met up with some Ravenclaw friends from the Ravelry Harry Potter House Cup.

Row 1: stacymarie, NoNeinNyet, Piper, MariaCrafts
Row 2: jayannell, CathyCake
Row 3: isisonearth, OneNeedleKnitting, Xamonster
Row 4: BrineyDeep (me), semperfila, bandbabe
[Photo courtesy of CathyCake]

I honestly spent most of the time at the festival hanging out with these ladies and catching up. It's always wonderful to meet in person and I wish we could do it more than annually. At least we have Ravelry for the rest of the time.

Besides hanging out and knitting (or in my case spinning) we saw some of the sheep dog trials, which are always a favorite. We also caught the walk and knit competition which is a walking relay where teams get points for both speed and the number of stitches finished. Very fun.

On the shopping front, let's not talk about the damage I did at the Fiber Optic booth. I am still totally gradient obsessed.  We'll see if I can knit everything up before next year's Sheep and Wool, although I am ready to cast on one large gradient project.

And finally, as is customary, I end my post with a sheep photo. Sheep!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Actual Knitting

I was looking through the last few months of posts the other day and realized this blog has pretty much been all sewing all the time since I got my new sewing machine. You can't fault a girl for being excited about a new toy but, seeing as this blog is nominally a knitting blog, we're definitely due for some yarns goodness.

Happily, I finished and blocked two knitting projects this past month: an Orchid Thief shawl and a second pair of Twiglets mitts (first pair blogged here). The Orchid Thief shawl has been on my to-make list for about a year now. I specifically remember buying the MadTosh Merino Light for it at the 2013 Sheep and Wool festival. There's a nice symmetry in finishing this shawl just in time for this year's Sheep and Wool (but it may be more of an excuse to buy more yarn because I used up last year's haul).

The other project I just finished is a pair of Twiglets mitts. I really like these mitts because they are quick to make and the lace pattern is easy to memorize. This is my second pair and I can definitely see myself making more.

So there are the latest knitting adventures: beautiful gray lace. My next yarny adventure? Wisconsin Sheep and Wool!