Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Welcome to Fiber Space

Believe it or not, things have finally been moving along on the basement renovations (I know, we've been taking our pretty little time).  I'm getting to a final reveal point, but you'll have to wait just a little longer.  After my baby shower, we didn't clear out all the tables and chairs; they are sticking around until the end of October after the next baby shower. So, a reveal of a newly finished basement with seating for over 50 just doesn't seem right- so it will have to wait.

There is fortunately one corner of the basement set up that I have somehow been able to keep free of baby shower debris- and today is the day for a sneak peek!

That's right, I believe it is time for a stash-sharing photo!  I know, I know- I haven't even been blogging for a year yet, maybe it's too soon- maybe I'm moving too quickly in this online relationship, but sometimes its just hard to hold back. 

In this smaller cabinet (again, thanks IKEA... another great Expedit), you will find my plant fibers- cottons, bamboo, corn.  Although cotton is not my favorite to work with, it does make a nice baby gift fiber. 

And in the larger cabinet, you will find my knitting books/magazines and animal fiber.  I would like to say that this contains all of my wool, alpaca, bison, cashmere, etc- but that would be a lie.  There is also a whole closet filled with Paton's Classic Wool.  I got a ton on sale last year when we were actually manufacturing slippers. 

 Now I realize that I will never be able to knit through all of this, but one of the plans with the knitting studio basement is to teach knitting classes.  I suppose price of yarn will be included in the price of the class and I will have a good supply for a while!

And yes, you have probably guessed by now, but this is another IKEA Expedit bookshelf- perfect for housing yarn and books, a new knitting essential (In my opinion!). 

It may be hard to tell from the pictures, but the wall colors in this area are a soft gray.  Anything I'm leaving out? I am looking around at different posters/charts/frames for this area as well- suggestions?

Monday, August 30, 2010

A New Breed of Baby Surprise?

As knitters, many of you are familiar with Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket. I started a new baby knit recently, and although this is not a baby surprise- the construction is so intriguing that it reminded of the famous knitted garment.

I'm not telling what it is- not now at least.  So give it your best shot- anyone have any guesses??  Maybe there's someone out there who's made this little garment (but there's only 13 projects listed on Ravelry... and that's as much of a hint as I'll give you!). 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fiber Finds

As promised, here are the details of what I walked away with at STITCHES Midwest and the Michigan Fiber Festival:

With a new pattern soon to be released (that happens to utilize just one skein of Malabrigo Worsted), I couldn't pass up these lovely colors.  They are not all for me though.  One will go to my friend Melissa, one to my sister, Amanda, and I'll keep one for myself.  It never hurts to knit up a new pattern a few extra times!
I also acquired 4 free skeins of Malbrigo Worsted in what seems to be the new Garden Gate colorway.  Saturday night at the student fashion show, they ended the night by bringing out a big bag of yarn for each table.  Everyone left with a little something, and this was mine- I couldn't be happier. 

The three skeins above come from one of my favorite local yarn shops, Woven Art. Woven Art is located in East Lansing, MI and you can always count on finding a great source of hand-dyed yarn.  The owner, Nancy, has a variety of yarn she dyes herself, and I love her colorways!  Above is two skeins of superwash merino, along with an 8 ounce skein of merino.  I figure I have a boy color and a girl color, and will save these for after the baby comes.

And speaking of baby, I purchased a hard copy of the above pattern, Little Boy Blue by Heirloom Stitches.  I found it at the In The Making booth with a sample done up with a light blue yarn with bright red buttons.  I love the idea of heirloom knits for babies. 

These three skeins I picked up at the Michigan Fiber Festival from a company I am not familiar with out of Eaton Rapids, MI. It is Davidson's Old Mill yarn- anyone heard of them?  They had a beautiful fair isle sweater knit up out of their fingering weight Domy Heather- how could I resist?

This final purchase is obviously not fiber, but I figured I'd throw it in (and look, I even propped it up against fiber!).  This little guy is made in Cedar Falls, Iowa for Crazy Girl Yarn Shop.  There is a bathroom in our newly finished basement, and since it is my new knitting studio, I thought this sheep soap would be the perfect addition. 

And because I know many are wondering and have been asking, yes, the basement is coming along.  Right now I am working on furnishing and decorating, which in reality will probably happen over a long period of time. I promise an update in the near future.  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The past few weeks have seriously felt like a whirlwind.  Vacation, followed by crammed-in hoouse projects, a baby shower, my sister and family in town, and this past weekend I went away to Chicago for Stitches Midwest.   I am now welcomed home by a more than crazy work week and cannot wait until Friday evening.  I actually think I may have some time to start designing again- what fun!

As I assumed it would be, Stitches was a blast.  Most of this was due to the awesome people I got to share the experience with. From left to right: Erica Owens of Kollage Yarns, Me (and little baby Bernardi), Jill (Knitterella), and Allegra of Petite Purls.

I also had the pleasure to meet and get to know Carrie of Irishgirlieknits.  She was there with Kollage yarns signing her new pattern Bellingrath (which I did walk away with a copy of!).

We had so much fun attending the market and fashion shows.  I unfortunately missed the Ravelry Pajama Party, and I kind of regret it.  It was Friday night after dinner/fashion show, and Jill and I were anxious to get to bed after the drive into town and a long week of work. I wish I knew more about it- I probably would've fought the fatigue!

On our way back home on Sunday, Jill and I decided to stop by the Michigan Fiber Festival because it was (kind of) on the way home.

I'm sure that you, being the yarny-type you are, are interested in what purchases I walked away with from both Stitches and the Fiber Festival. Well, we must save some fun for tomorrow (and I still need to take pictures!).  Until then...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Before and Almost-After

Although things are still a work in progress for the nursery, I wanted to show you the work that was done last week.  Quite a transformation in just a few days (remember?... I'm lovin' the second trimester!). 



Obviously this was post- shower and things have yet to be put away, but at least this gives you a little idea of what I've been up to!

I still plan on getting an overstuffed swivel-glider in a bright yellow color (much like the inspiration room), but that still needs to be ordered.  From there it will be finding a place for everything and getting things up on the walls!

For those of you who have heard the rumors- yes, I will be attending Stitches Midwest this weekend!  Jill (Knitterella) and I will be heading down later today and spending the weekend in Schaumburg.  Not sure if there are any meetups going on, but I would love to attend.  If you are there and want to meet up, email me at melynda [at!] frenchpressknits.com.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Family Heirloom

Last week when my grandmother came in to town for my baby shower, she surprised me with the blanket my mother came home from the hospital in.

When she saw that the tag read 'Knitown', she thought I might be interested in it.  I fell in love the moment she presented it to me.  

She explained that the blanket has been in their cedar chest for the past 35 years, and she decided to clean it up a bit.  In the process, there was a little casualty: 

It shouldn't be too hard to mend.  It doesn't seem to be fraying. Since it's on a seam, everything seems to be staying intact. 

I am looking forward to bringing this blanket to the hospital with me, and bringing our own bundle of joy home in it. 

Have any of you ever heard of Knitown Products?  A google search doesn't come up with much, and I can't seem to find any information on the company.  Any info would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Tale of Two Nurseries

No, no- we are not expecting twins.  This is merely another story of pre-baby compromise in the Bernardi home.

Maybe I shouldn't call it that.  I don't think I actually had the  'go-ahead' from Joe on these plans, so I suppose it was less a compromise and more 'I'm pregnant so I'm going to do what I want'.

Being that this is our first child, we have a few different room options for a nursery.  The logical room would be the first bedroom you come to as you walk upstairs (our bedroom is on the main floor), and thus we had decided previously that this would be the nursery.

Then, I got inspired. You may remember this stunning room that I blogged about:

It didn't take long before I realized that the wood floor in this room looked very similar to the wood floor we just put in our basement.  And guess what!?!  We just so happened to have a few extra boxes of said wood floor left over- coincidence?  I think not!

Quickly I started making plans to change out the flooring in this room to match the above room:

Joe did not agree with this plan.  Instead, he decided to be logical and point out the fact that the carpet in this room was replaced right before we moved in (only two years ago).  Boo!

Unfortunately for poor Joe, he does not fully understand the determination of a pregnant woman. For me, case was not closed, and I soon had new plans.  

Right across the hall from this room is another room that (with the exception of having one less window) is a mirror image of this first bedroom.  This room has carpet that is original to the house, and in my opinion, needed to be replaced:

Wouldn't you agree?  That's what I thought!

This past weekend I had my first baby shower and my family hosted in our newly finished basement. I thought it would probably be a great idea to have the room somewhat finished so people could see it while they were over.  So, Wednesday was painting day.  Thursday my sister and I ripped up carpet, and on Saturday, my father, brother-in-law, and I put in a new wood floor.  Gosh, I'm lovin' this second trimester!

Updated pictures coming soon!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tugboat Coat

It's hard to believe that in a few short months, I will have my own little knitting model.

Until then, it does look like the paper towel holder/ wooden spoon apparatus will retain it's job.

I do feel a little guilty.  The other day, when I posted this as a WIP, everyone commented on the beautiful color.  Well, the photo was a bit deceiving.  It's not as light as you may have believed, but instead a dark navy blue. Here's the stats:

Size: 6-12 months (but I think it turned out a little bigger)
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Rialto (Navy, dk weight superwash, 5 skeins total)
Raveled: here

When I went to buy buttons, I didn't fall in love with any of them.  Since I bought my yarn for this project when it was on sale at centerstreetknits.com, I quickly realized that purchasing 11 buttons could nearly double the cost of this project.  I decided to see what I had at home, and I'm happy that I did!

If you've ever seen my slippers (and most of you have), you would suspect that I have a thing for the vintage leather button look.  I love the look of this little jacket with the leather buttons, I feel like it changes it a lot from the original project.

How about you, do you have any money-saving, knitting-related secrets to share?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tugboat Progress

A few more seams, a couple of buttons...

Looks like the paper towel holder will soon get its secondary job back!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Up North

For Michiganders, many summer weekends (and extended weekends) are spent 'up north'.  It's hard to describe the beauty and charm of 'up north', but it's always fun to expose newcomers to the experience. 

We started the end of last week up at Mackinac Island.  My first visit to Mackinac was for our first anniversary. There are no motor vehicles on the island, so travel is simply by horse drawn carriages and bicycles. 

Now that we have visited a few times, one night on the island is enough to kick off a nice up north vacation (as long as we make sure to stop at Marc's Double Oven for morning pastries!).

The rest of our vacation was spent in Petoskey...

With old friends

And new ones, too!

Boating, swimming, and just general relaxing time ruled, and we took advantage of it.

And as far as knitting goes, there was time for that, too!

 I was able to stop in the LYS (Cynthia's Too!) and spotted these little guys on display.

And much of my downtime was spent knitting this little number:

I'm hoping to have an FO by the end of this weekend- I'll keep you posted!