Thursday, December 9, 2010

happy holidays

wishing you and yours the very best this holiday season.
warmly, melana

wreath made with yarn, ornaments, lotsa glue, and totally inspired by starbucks' wreaths of 2008.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

find & go seek

i know you visit sheepishone to help me to celebrate my adventures in knitting, and you may have noticed that the adventures have come to a near halt.

after agreeing to knit a february lady sweater for a friend, i learned that a profession in knitting is not something in which i'd be successful; when knitting as a love-to becomes knitting as a have-to, all of the enjoyment goes out the window. especially when i have to twice.

it's possible that a less burdensome project may have led me to be more productive this year, but there is another reason my sticks and string have been sitting untouched: my friend and i have embarked on another sort of adventure. while it's very exciting to be in business for ourselves, and the website is up and running at long last, it's required a lot of sleuthing and sweat equity!

our site,, is sort of a social catalog of family-friendly things to do and sites to see in california's central valley. art galleries, theaters, museums, and organized activities abound. and while not really metropolitan itself, modesto, california, is so perfectly situated that within a couple hour's time, you may find yourself lounging on the beaches of the pacific coast, hiking along a creek that winds through the sierra nevada mountains, exploring the rich agricultural history of the area, or enjoying the sophisticated city life in san francisco.

it is our hope that the site inspires our fellow central valley residents to get out of the house and do, see, and learn new things, all the while spending quality time with their children.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

watch me unravel

what i spent free moments in august doing: knitting a february lady sweater for pay.

what i did in 20 minutes today: frogged it, and sang a song while i did so, just so i can re-knit it in september.

Friday, July 23, 2010

knitting for the near future

when fall arrives, i will squeal with delight and pull on my recently-completed sweater.

a lot of my modifications were listed here, but even if you made no changes to this pattern, you would find yourself just as happy as i.

the pleating and the slightly puffy sleeves make me giddy...

no pockets on this one. i wanted to be sure that all attention was drawn upwards, upon better assets...

i had found some lovely amber faceted buttons on etsy, and had even as i was sewing them on, i thought, "these are too teensy. the buttons will slip through..." i wore it for only twenty minutes before the first two buttons came undone. as a result, the tortoiseshell buttons i bought as a plan b were then used.

pattern: manu
yarn: just under six skeins of the plucky knitter merino lite dk in honey wilkes
needle: body knit on a US 6, but i also used a size 5 and size 7 for cuffs, bands, etc.

Monday, June 28, 2010

summer daze

another month has gone! i cannot fathom that we are halfway through with 2010. seems like just yesterday i was posting about holiday cooking and crafting, and i suppose that has much to do with the fact that i only have four blog posts under my belt for 2010.

i am still plugging away, turning a gorgeous pile of merino wool into a gorgeous sweater [both are ravelry links]: manu has been slowly worked. between all of the highs and lows of another school year closing, then the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a very short summer, and having succumbed to a great book series, there really hasn't been much time devoted to knitting.

i managed to hide away and tink back then re-knit the pleated section last weekend... there were stretched, hole-y stitches right at the pleat on the right side of the sweater, while the pleats on the left side were tight and closed properly. i tried to rectify the holes early on, but couldn't seem to find a way, then plunged onward; the dissatisfaction crept up, though, and i carefully had to work my way back and through the perpendicular construction of the side edging. by knitting slowly and deliberately, i am happy to say that although they're not perfect, the stitches are a lot less loose.

the pattern has taught me a lot. i haven't deviated too much from it, though i have made the sleeves shorter (three-quarter length); mirrored the pleats so that they do not all go in one direction; and removed one row of purling entirely, so that the pleats fall directly from the neckline; i will not be including the pockets, as much as i adore them on other manus i've seen. what awaits me now is applying an i-cord bind off. finding the perfect button is also at the forefront... any recommendations as to where to head for those?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

in which good things are celebrated

good things. they are all around.

the enticing fragrance of sweet peas.

the promise of a bounty of sugar snap peas.

the simple perfection of stockinette.

the unmistakable allure of coffee...

... just about everywhere i go.

Monday, March 22, 2010

in which tea is served

the cool winter weather had me inspired to knit sweaters. the last one of the winter was bound off and finished last week, just in time to wear (at least once) before spring had sprung.

pattern: tea leaves; yarn: cascade 220 heathers in "irelande" (2429); 36".
more details -- including a few minor modifications -- over at

the ruched yoke is certainly my favorite part, although the garter stitch cuffs come in at a quick second. the stockinette was a little mind-numbing, but really, it moved so quickly, i couldn't even bring myself to complain.

i'm trying to figure out what to cast on next. maybe these in this? this pattern with this yarn? in since the sun is out and we'll have very few days below 70 from here till october, i'm sure i'll be likely to knit socks, socks and more socks. however, the garden (here's the start of last year's) will be keeping my hands busier than the yarn, and embroidery is (hopefully) going to keep me employed... i'll pop in when there's something exciting to report.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

in which i dream of pastures and farms

it's raining. again. last time i posted, it was raining as well, and for several solid wintry storms to come so low as sunny california in so short a time is pretty atypical. dreary weather has swallowed us up. and i love it.

if it weren't for winter and its precipitative nature, how would i sustain my garden come summer? last week, i ordered my warm-weather seeds. i'm anxiously awaiting their arrival. living in a USDA zone 9 affords a long growing season; i'll start some seeds in cell packs as soon as i can. propagation methods will not differ greatly from last year's, but the varieties of seeds i selected do. my choosy tendencies come into play here!

though our garden plot is not large by any means, i do feel like a real, grown-up gardener when things are growing well and producing. growing and nurturing the garden makes me appreciate those farmers that work on larger farms, or those farmers who didn't have the modern conveniences we do today...

i suppose that maybe the daydreams of warmer days and turning soil was already in my head when i started scouring ravelry for a new knit project. i had a skein of malabrigo worsted in glazed carrot in the stash -- one i'd bought last summer when i saw the lone skein of it sitting in the store. i'd been feeling that a cowl in that orangey color would be perfect in all of this gray weather, especially since i walk about in a charcoal gray jacket, jeans and dark shoes most days. i came across gudrun's crofter's cowl and cast on immediately. the cowl is unlike any other i've knit, with a unique construction: you knit two halves then graft them together. the three-repeat pattern for each half is a shetland lace, which is beautifully showcased with the single ply, lofty malabrigo.

this project definitely required stitch markers, though i believe it was due to the fact that i was watching heavy doses of HGTV while knitting and staying dry inside. i worried that my kitchener's stitch was too tight and created a visibly invisible seam, but i think that what looks like a seam is more the cause of the color variegation typical of malabrigo. in any case, when the cowl is all slouchy on the neck, the midline is the least visible part...

in other knitting news, my modified annikki is almost done. yes, really! the sleeves were done last week, i cast off the back last night, and am halfway up the left front. besides the most basic mods i noted over here, i have also made further changes mid-knit. i've been certain to take notes and hopefully i continue to make progress in the right direction. once i finish, you'll be the first to know, of course!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

frozen needles

on this rainy winter morning, i am finding my mind ever drifting to thoughts of knitting. there is laundry and cleaning to be done -- when is there not? -- but all i can think about is cozying up with some yarn and coffee, the preschooler nestled up against my side.

it's a romanticized view of what will, in all honesty, be a source of stress to me, because once again, i want to knit a sweater, but also want to modify the pattern significantly.

the yarn is here. the pattern booklet is finally here. now i just need to find my courage.

annikki is a long sweater coat. the design of the top half is what i adore: the ribbed polo collar; the modern, snug fit. but i simply cannot fathom wearing a handknit sweater coat. firstly, this skirt feature would only accentuate areas i try to mask on a day to day basis. secondly, i live in a temperate climate, where even wearing a waist-length sweater all day long is not always a possibility. thirdly (and lastly, though i could probably drone on and on), i can just imagine snagging the skirt part of the coat each and every time i sit. i'm not especially clumsy, but i would figure that the wear and tear on this knit would be evident first in its bum region. (see point one.)

so what to do? how to begin planning the adjustments needed? i think that this blog post has been a good start. airing out my grievances makes it feel as though it's a necessity to modify the pattern. other people have successfully altered the design. surely, i can, too.

are you one of those daring knitters, jumping right in and figuring the modificatons as you go? are you able to pick up a pattern, then pick up a yarn in a gauge other than listed and just go to it? or do you refuse to deviate from the pattern -- yarn, stitch count and all?

or are you like me, and take weeks to research possible substitute yarns in the same weight, and in what color, and carefully knit a gauge swatch, only to see -- again, in plain sight -- that your gauge is too tight [obviously! c'mon, you've been visiting here a while. you must know by now that i'm tightly wound, ergo my gauge would be tight!] and you've got to go up not one, but two needle sizes? and once you've got the gauge right, do you then wait another week before you can cast on, just to be sure that you really can and want to commit to this garment? no? then come over. i have coffee. i need to borrow your fearless knitter's confidence.