Sunday, February 15, 2015

the never-ending boyfriend blanket

Hi guys! 

Today I'd like to show you the biggest knitting project I have ever done-- a Vivid blanket for my boyfriend.  Now that we've exchanged gifts and I won't ruin the surprise by showing photos, I'm so excited to be able to share this labor of love!  It got its name, The Never-Ending Boyfriend Blanket, because I started knitting on it in early November and kept knitting on it until the end of January!  I guess objectively that isn't a particularly long time to be knitting a blanket, but when you knit exclusively in 4 colors, all of which are shades of grey and blue, for three months... well, it seems like a while.  I went to Vogue Knitting Live while I was in the midst of knitting this blanket, and in rebellion against the grey and blue, I bought oodles of pink and purple sparkly yarn and fiber.  But more on that at a later date. 

I didn't want my fella to have to worry about hand-washing this blanket, so I knit it out of Berroco Vintage.  The fiber content is 50% acrylic, 40% wool, and 10% nylon.  I'm not generally a fan of blends including acrylic, but the Vintage was lovely to work with.  I'm actually planning another Vivid for myself in the same yarn!

tin can knits vivid blanket berroco vintage 
The Vivid squares traveled with me everywhere, including on the trip to my mom's house in Pennsylvania.  This was a very cozy day, knitting in front of a fire and listening to audiobooks.  

tin can knits vivid blanket berroco vintage 
In the end, I knit thirty squares.  They filled my entire bathtub when I soaked them in preparation for blocking!  My current blocking board situation only allowed me to block 8 squares at a time, so there may have been some creative drying methods to speed along the process.  A hair dryer was, perhaps, involved, as well as an intricate arrangement of blocking boards around my bedroom radiator.    

tin can knits vivid blanket berroco vintage 
I finished the blanket the night before Christian arrived in New York.  Bucky became very attached to it.  He was not pleased when I took it away!  It's not like he is lacking for blankets, either.  Every blanket that is supposed to be for me gets claimed by the cats as it is!  But of course, all other blankets paled in comparison to the only one he couldn't have.  

tin can knits vivid blanket berroco vintage
The finishing touch on this blanket was a little copper heart charm, a very tiny one so that only Christian will know where it is.  

The best part of this whole project was Christian's reaction when I gave him his blanket.  He melted my heart by choosing it over a fluffy hotel duvet when we snoozed after a long walk.  Mmhm, he is most definitely knit-worthy.  

Project details!
Pattern: Vivid by Tin Can Knits
Yarn: Berroco Vintage 
Yardage by Colorway: 1302 in Cracked Pepper, 325.5 in Smoke, 271.25 in Gingham, and 271.25 in Tide Pool.
Total Yardage: 2,170 yards total (!!!) 

Friday, January 2, 2015

o christmas tree

Happy New Year!
I don't know about you guys, but I am still in the holiday mood.  I still want to deck the halls and walk in a winter wonderland!  To that end, I'd like to share a little video of some of my favorite Christmas ornaments!

(Please set the quality to 480p! The resolution went way down when I uploaded to youtube. womp wommmmp.)

The etsy seller I mentioned in the video is VintageBarnYard.  She is on vacation right now, but it looks like she still has a lot of vintage Christmas stuff!

vintage christmas ornament glass acorn christmas ornament vintage pinecone christmas ornament vintge christmas ornament lantern flower christmas ornament
Now it's time for me to make a cup of tea and curl up in front of my tree with some knitting.  Yay!
I hope you have all had the coziest, sweetest holiday season!

Friday, December 19, 2014

holiday favorites: music!

Hi there!  Today I would like to share some of my favorite holiday music.  These are the songs that truly make me feel like Christmastime is here.  Speaking of which...

Alison Sudol'a voice is so beautiful, and I love her take on 'Christmastime is Here' from A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Actually, the entire Oh Blue Christmas album is lovely and definitely worth listening to.  I especially love it for snowy, stay-inside-wearing pajamas-and-drinking-hot-chocolate kind of days.

Of course, the classic Bruce Springsteen version of 'Santa Claus is Comin' to Town' had to make my list.  In fact, this is the song that officially kicks off the holiday season, as far as I'm concerned.  I don't consider it to really be Christmastime until I hear this one!  This song always reminds me of my dad-- every year, my brother and I would pile into his station wagon and around looking for the best Christmas lights.  My dad would turn on the radio and we'd bop along with all of our holiday favorites while ooooh-ing and ahhhh-ing over the elaborate displays (and concocting stories for if we were caught slowly driving up and down private roads!).  Sometimes our mom was with us, and sometimes she was 'too busy wrapping presents for the cousins.'  We fell for that line for years, and somehow, we never suspected that she was, in fact, wrapping our Christmas presents.  Even when my dad would go check if we could come inside yet.  Zach, why didn't we think anything about that was suspicious?!

Mannheim Steamroller's 'Deck the Halls.'  So 80's-tastic and fun!  There's no deeper meaning behind this one-- I just enjoy some synth-y Christmas music.

Oh, Clarice.  'There's Always Tomorrow,' from the 1964 version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer gets me every time.  In an increasingly cynical, technology-driven, and lonely world, sometimes we all really need a concentrated shot of idealism and innocence.  I tear up every time I hear this song or watch this part of the movie.  And let's face it-- who doesn't need an occasional reminder to 'believe in your dreams, come what may.'

Also from Rudolph, 'We Are Santa's Elves!'  It's so catchy, I love the little elf outfits (definitely going as one of the girl-elves for Halloween next year), and it has that iconic line:  "WE DON'T LIKE TO BRAAAAAAAG."

Let's finish up with something cozy and calming.  I was lucky enough to see Cherish the Ladies live a few years ago, and this performance of 'In the Bleak Midwinter' sums up everything that I love about them.  Joanie Madden is an amazing musician and a captivating storyteller.  Also, I just can't help loving a Christmas song largely featuring an accordion.  I know accordions aren't everybody's favorite, but to me, they sound so home-y and cozy.  Watching this video made me want to curl up under a blanket and sip some tea in front of a Christmas tree-- which, conveniently, what I've been doing all day today.

I hope all of your holiday preparations are going well!  Mine have been put off a little bit by a poorly timed bout of strep, and the only festive thing I feel up to is wearing Christmas pajamas.  Womp wommmmp.  Luckily I made it to the doctor early enough that I should be completely fine by The Big Day!  Yay!

I'm always on the lookout for more Christmas music-- what are some of your favorites?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

friday favorites v.6

Hi, and happy Friday!  
Here are a few of my favorite things this week.
edit: It's now Saturday.  It turned out that my schedule yesterday evening was already full of important things, like knitting for ten minutes before falling asleep on the couch.  Whoops.

In a World Lake Bell
The movie In A World... is now on Netflix, and it's fantastic.  I've always been interested in speech patterns, which this film explores a bit, and it's an interesting look into the voice-over industry.  It also acknowledges a small but niggling annoyance that I encounter constantly on the train: the 'sexy baby voice.'  As a girl with a relatively high-pitched speaking voice and a baby-face myself, I definitely understand that sometimes, it's just who you are.  Buuuuut other times it's a really bizarre and irritating affectation.

Milkweed sweater carol sunday
This is the Milkweed sweater by Carol Sunday-- and I am absolutely crazy about it.  Flatteringly shaped cables and a moss stitch portrait collar?  Yes please!  I am itching to cast this on... but it will have to wait until after Christmas because my list of people to knit or craft things for is out of control.

Serial podcast
Ew, I wish the logo for this podcast was less gruesome-- but don't let that put you off, because it's the best podcast I've listened to in years.  Serial is hosted by Sarah Koenig, formerly of This American Life, and she explores one story through an entire season of podcasts.  The first season is an in-depth look at a murder case, including the possibility that the man serving jail time after being convicted is actually innocent.  New episodes come out every Thursday and I can't wait for the next one!

Kate Davis, super-cute upright bass player and singer, recorded this acoustic version of Katy Perry's song 'Roar' for the New York Humane Society.  I love the song (go ahead and judge me if you feel the need) and Kate has such a sweet voice.  And obviously, the cats.  Oh, the cats.  I want every single one of those little babies.

              Peggy Collins chipmunk tea party
Peggy Collins takes adorable photos of her chipmunk, Chipper.  This 'Tea Party' photo is one of my favorites.  Also, hi, of course I want to have tea parties with woodland creatures.

I hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

cozy weekend snaps

Hi guys! 

Today I'd like to share some photos from my cozy weekend.  It was rainy and cold outside, so it was the perfect time to snuggle up with my kitties and stay in.  ...Although I did have to go out once, because I bought all the ingredients for lasagna except pasta sauce.  Duh.  Thank goodness for the random selection of food items at Walgreens.

Bucky siamese cat 
I was all ready to watch a movie on my laptop Friday night... Bucky wasn't super into that idea.

autumn leaves rain 

orange berries 
Even though I was not excited to go out in the rain on my pasta sauce run, the saturated autumn colors looked beautiful glistening with water droplets.

stitch markers knitting 
Knitting is always more fun when I'm using cute stitch markers, and these are two of my favorites!  They're from beadpassion on etsy.

bucky siamese cat 
The heat in my building has been a little sporadic lately-- I think it only comes on during certain hours until it gets colder outside (although as I write this, I am toasty).  So two certain kitties have been enjoying getting tucked in constantly by their over-protective cat-mom.  Bucky really likes it.  Look at that face!  I'm almost certain of it.  Heh heh.

siamese cats cuddling
Cocoa loves any excuse to snuggle.  This is how they spent the majority of the weekend.

I hope you had a cozy weekend, too!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

endings and beginnings

So, it has been a little quiet around here lately.

Totally silent, in fact.

Do you ever have those weeks (or months, as the case may be) where everything just happens all at the same time?  Well, that happened to me about a month ago.  In a span of about three weeks, I volunteered to make all of the flowers for my best friend's wedding (more on that next post!), applied for a job, interviewed on the phone and in person, completed an application project, and stayed up to all hours of the night making the wedding flowers.  After many hot glue gun burns, occasional cursing, a lot of help from my mom, and a lot of tea, the flowers were finished and my mom and I went careening down the highway to Pennsylvania to deliver them.  

We had to pull over so that I could take a call, and somewhere on the side of the road in Pennsylvania, I accepted a job offer!  Then, after some cheering and lots of hugs, my mom and I were back on the road.  The flowers arrived intact, my best friend and her now-husband and I played Mario Party, and I collapsed on their couch and slept the sleep of the totally exhausted.  The wedding was wonderful-- but that deserves its own post.

tea party  
On my last day at my previous job, my coworkers threw a going-away tea party!  It was so thoughtful and sweet and I was absolutely blown away by the amount of effort that went into making this celebration happen.  

tea sandwiches cucumber 
One of my coworkers' husbands has a catering side business, and he made the most delicious cucumber and watercress tea sandwiches, as well as radish and cream cheese sandwiches and tiny peanut butter and honey sandwiches!  
Another coworker, Lindsay, made mini-cupcakes!  My friend Stephanie spear-headed the party planning and she knows how much I love miniature foods-- I think tiny foods are so cute!  Steph knows me so well.   
teacup doilies 
Of course, there were teacups and doilies and lots of varieties of tea to choose from.  
white roses blue hydrangeas
My coworkers also presented me with a beautiful bouquet of white roses and blue hydrangeas-- my favorite flower!  

I was absolutely floored by the wonderful send-off from my coworkers.  In case any of you guys stumble across this, thank you so much!  I still smile every time I remember this incredible party.

As for my new job, well... I absolutely love it.  I wake up every day excited to go to work and contribute to the amazing team that I am lucky enough to be part of.  I have been in my new position for almost a month-- I can't believe how quickly the time is flying by!  

One last little note-- as you may have noticed, I've redesigned my blog!  I'd love to hear any comments about the new look!

What's new with you?  Any exciting news in your life recently?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

24 before 25, part two

Hi there!  I hope your week is going just swimmingly.  Today I am sharing the rest of my 24 Before 25 list!  If you missed the first half of the list, you can find it here.

13. Successfully grow herbs in my apartment.  I have tried this a few times, and it usually goes pretty well because I have a perfect spot for growing things.  The top of my refrigerator is out of the reach of nosy cats, and it gets plenty of sunlight.  However, the last time I was growing a rosemary plant there, I had unknowingly bought it from a garden store with a bug issue in their soil, and it contaminated all of my potted plants.  Ew.  This time, I am going to try water-rooting some basil, rosemary, lavender, and mint, then planting them in potting soil myself to avoid any unfortunate six-legged hangers-on.  

14. Spin new-to-me fibers!  I would like to branch out and try spinning some fibers that I have never spun before, like Cormo, Rambouillet, and Targhee.  I will be attending two fiber festivals in the next few months—those should be a great opportunity to start on this goal!

15. Keep flowers in my apartment more often.  Flowers sometimes seem like a frivolous purchase, but they make me so happy every time I see them in a pitcher on my kitchen table, and that has to be worth something.

16. Be less self-critical.  Like most people, I think, I sometimes find myself mentally beating myself up for something that really isn’t a big deal.  It isn’t a productive or helpful behavior, and I would never hold anyone else to the standards that I hold myself to, so I am trying to curb that kind of negative self-talk.

17. Sew more of my own clothing.  This blog is called Julie Rose Sews, for crying out loud.  I haven’t done a ton of sewing for myself since I graduated from FIT two years ago, but I have a lovely fabric stash and I work in the New York City garment district.  I’m certainly not lacking in materials—I just have to make the time.

18. Knit more from my Ravelry queue instead of looking for new patterns.  I really like everything in my queue, so it should be the first place I look when I am trying to decide what to do with a skein of yarn.  I’d like to knit through at least 10 patterns from my queue before I turn 25. 

19. Speaking of which, I would like to knit at least 15 hexipuffs a month for my Beekeeper’s Quilt so that I have some hope of finishing it soon!  This shouldn’t be too hard—I can knit about 1.5 hexipuffs a day on my commute to and from the city.  I just have to resist the temptation to put a shiny new project into my bag instead!

20. Spin at least 4 oz. a month.  Originally I had wanted to spin 8 oz. a month, but I don’t think that’s realistic given that I like to spin teeny tiny yarn.  If I spin 4 oz. a month, I will have spun through my almost my entire fiber stash by my next birthday!   Aaaaaah!  Must supplement the stash!

21. Give only handmade or vintage gifts for Christmas, whether made by me or by someone else.  I usually make most of my gifts, but this year I would like to fill in the gaps with gifts purchased on Etsy or from craft fairs or flea markets.

22. Get back to learning French before I forget all of the French that I learned in college.  I really enjoyed learning French, but it kind of fell off my radar after graduation.  According to my professor, I picked it up very quickly and easily, and I still have all of my French books. 

23. Knit/spin through my yarn/fiber stash so that nothing sits in my yarn cabinet longer than a year and a half.  I feel guilty about accumulating new yarn and fiber when I have beautiful things just waiting at home, and I do truly love everything that I already have.  My lovely yarn and fiber shouldn’t be neglected just because it’s not shiny and new.  

24.Spend more time with friends. As an introverted person living in an extraverted world, it can be hard for me to give up some of my precious alone time to go spend time with other people.  Whenever I do rally myself to go hang out with friends, I am always so glad that I did.  I am happy with being an introvert, but everyone needs to push a bit outside their comfort zone sometimes. 

Well, there you have it!  I have ten months and nine days to accomplish these goals.  Do you have any goals to achieve before your next birthday?  I would love to hear about them!