Saturday, December 29, 2007

Knitting Vacation

You know you're a knitter when ... you pack your knitting (at least 3 projects) and prepare a special bag just for your knitting, and it gets preferential treatment to the other bags packed for vacation.

I'm currently on vacation and I brought 3 projects. I am knitting another cardigan sweater in Willow green. It is just a very simple stockinette with ribbed bands around the edges. Also I brought some yarn to make a scarf and my brown & turquoise faux cable sweater.

So far, I knit all of the yarn I have with me for the willow cardigan. I am starting on the scarf, and then if I finish it, I will work on the other sweater.

Of course, we went yarn shopping, but the LYS was closed for the Holidays so we ended up at Michael's. We bought yarn for a bolero for my SIL. It is a crochet project, and I am very interested to see how it turns out. We just chose Simply Soft and I've used this for blankets, but not for garments. I think that the acrylics of today have great improved over the acrylics of yesterday. This project could prove me right or wrong.

BTW I have pictures to post when I get home. :-)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cable Cardigan

My Cable Cardigan is finished at last!!! I started this last fall, but I ran into a few bumps. Anyway, I have learned so much with this sweater, and it is now finished. I did put it down for the Spring and Summer because the yarn is Ultra Alpaca, and it was just too warm to knit.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Felted Boxes

This year I decided to make my kids' teachers' gifts. I chose something quick & easy, and I must say they turned out lovely. They are the felted boxes from Mason Dixon Knitting.

For my son's 3 preschool teachers, I made the large boxes. The first picture above shows the finished boxes. I added some homemade Cinnamon Crunch Popcorn to fill the inside of the boxes.

For my daughter's 1 teacher, I made a set of 3 nested boxes. The middle picture shows the boxes before I felted them.

The last picture shows a felted box close up. For those of you who haven't tried felting, it is really easy. These boxes were knit with a double strand of yarn, using Size 15 needles. To felt them, I put them in my washer with a pair of the kid's old shoes on the lowest water level and the highest water temperature. I also add a little detergent or baby shampoo. Felting shrinks the yarn, and makes it a stiff fabric. If you are felting something with straps or a belt, then put it in a pillowcase or a lingerie bag. If you want complete felting instructions, drop a note.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Finally, I have a new camera

I finally have a new camera ... the other one is MIA. So pictures coming soon ...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Another Quote

"Learning how to knit was a snap.It was learning how to stop that nearly destroyed me." Erma Bombeck

Quote of the Day

"If you are getting the fabric you want from your knitting, then you are knitting the right way for you!" – Annie Modisett

Trafalgar Knitters

Have you ever seen more knitters in one place? I found this in a Flickr account called People Knitting. I just thought it was so cool to see people knitting together.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Not enough yarn

What do you do when you don't have quite enough yarn & you can't get anymore of that dye lot?

Whenever I buy yarn before I pick a pattern, then I take a chance that I may get myself into this position. Learning the fundamentals of knitting can sometimes be haphazard because there is no standard of what you should learn about knitting. You can learn how to cast on and how to knit and then how to cast off, but all of the simple guidelines sometimes have to be picked up as you go.

For example, when you buy yarn, all of the yarn of a single color should be in the same dye lot. If you buy yarn from a local yarn shop, most of the time they will only put out same dye lots on the shelf. If you buy yarn from a chain craft store, it can be very difficult at times to find enough yarn in the same dye lot for your project.

Another issue I had in the beginning is when I found a yarn that I really liked, I had a difficult time knowing how much yarn to buy. Now I understand that there are yarn requirement guides that help with this, and as a general rule, I know to buy about 1200 yards of yarn for a woman's sweater. So what do I do with the 750 yards of Merino Cotton that I bought a year or so ago? I would like to make a sweater, but I don't have enough and there is little chance that I could find the same dye lot. Of course, I could find some kind of lacy summer short sleeved pattern or I could buy a complimentary yarn and make some stripes. Since this summer I made a lacy short sleeved cardigan, I've decide to do the stripes.

Stripes is a great way to play with color design. Some great designers can pick up to 20 colors or more in a single piece. One of these days, I want to take all of my scraps from other projects and make a striped moebius scarf, but for this sweater, I am just going to have 2 colors: chocolate brown & turquoise. I would like to start with a wide stripe of turquoise and then get narrower. I am designing this as a I go along so I will see how it turns out. One thing I've learned is that in order to make a piece fit perfectly, there are times that you have to rip it out and reknit it until it is just the way you need it to be.

With knitting knowledge being passed around so organically, it is a good thing that knitters are just the nicest people I've ever met, and they share so well.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Starting from the Center

I've started a new baby blanket for my future nephew. It is a crochet pattern of a star (Click here for the pattern). It starts in the center and goes round and round. Whenever I start a new pattern from the center, it takes me 2 or 3 tries to make sure the center is just the way I want it. I think the start of every project is important to get right, and it is worth the effort because this is the foundation upon which you are building your entire project. It is even more important when you are starting from the center because your eye will always be on the center while your eye doesn't always go to the bottom of a sweater. Also I prefer to crochet blankets, especially bigger blankets. The reason for this is simple: when you knit a project the entire weight of the project is on your needles while with crochet, only one stitch is on your needle so your lap carries the bulk of the weight.

Back to the Star Blanket, it is going well, and I think it will turn out really cute. This particular project didn't start with a center circle that you are crocheting into. When you make a hat from the crown down or a granny square, you often make a chain, join the chain ends together to form a circle and then crochet into the center. I recently found a great way to start this which makes the neatest, tight center circle. The answer is an adjustable circle. Click here to find out how to make it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Coming out of Knitting Hibernation

Last Winter I started a cardigan, and I worked on it throughout the Winter & Spring. When the weather became hot, then the warm alpaca sweater was just too warm to knit. So I put it in hibernation. Now that it is finally gotten cool, I broke it out today.

The cardigan was on the cover of knitsimple Fall 2006, and I am knitting with a beautiful deep rust Berroco Ultra Alpaca. The whole cardigan is a simple cable, and it has really helped me to overcome cable intimidation. Cables aren't that difficult to learn, but I think it takes a little practice for them to become routine. If a sweater is too much, then pick a pattern from a stitch dictionary and make a scarf or even a dish cloth.

BTW, dish cloths or wash cloths are great ways to learn new stitches.

Back to the sweater, I'm finishing up the second sleeve. Then I only need to sew the pieces and add the collar. Finishing takes patience so I'll post more when I get to it.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

101 Things to Do in 1001 Days

I've been thinking a lot about goals and plans. Then, I saw this on the CassKnits! blog, and I thought it was such a great idea.

The original idea is from this website.

The Mission:

Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as New Year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

Some common goal setting tips:
1. Be decisive. Know exactly what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it.

2. Stay Focussed. Any goal requires sustained focus from beginning to end. Constantly evaluate your progress.

3. Welcome Failure. Frequently, very little is learned from a venture that did not experience failure in some form. Failure presents the opportunity to learn and makes the success more worthy.

4. Write down your goals. It clarifies your thinking and reinforces your commitment.

5. Keep your goals in sight. Review them frequently, and ensure that they are always at the forefront of your thinking.

So here goes ...

Start Date: November 5, 2007
End Date: August 1, 2010
Updated: June 19, 2008 (228 Days)
Sick Days:12

1.Drink 8 glasses of water a day. (206/228=90%).
2.Eat 2 fruits & 3 vegetables everyday. (189/228=83%).
3.Be in bed by 10:30pm 850 times (85%=goal) (117/228=51%).
4.Perform 30 minutes of Cardio Exercise 600 times (60%=goal) (145/228=64%).
5.Perform Core Strengthening Exercises 450 times (45%= goal) (33/228=14%).
6.Perform Lower Body Strengthening Exercises 150 times(15%=goal) (18/228=8%).
7.Perform Upper Body Strengthening Exercises 150 times (15%=goal)(19/228=8%).
8.Visit the dentist 4 times (0/4).
9.Visit the eye doctor 2 times (0/2).
10.Visit the gynecologist 2 times (1/2).
11.Lose 5 pounds. Completed 5/2008.
12.Lose 10 pounds. Completed 6/2008.
13.Lose 15 pounds.
14.Lose 20 pounds.
15.Lose 25 pounds.
16.Keep weight off for 1 year.
17.Take a Yoga Class. Completed 4/2008.
18.Take a Spinning Class. Completed 12/2007.

19.Pray everyday-giving my cares over to God (211/228=93%).
20.Read Bible everyday (156/228=68%).
21.Remember one moment each day that makes me smile and thankful (210/228=92%).
22.Attend a church meeting once a week (14%= goal) (24/228=11%).
23.Memorize 50 scriptures (3/50).
24.Perform 10 acts of kindness (3/10).
25.Participate in 3 in-depth Bible Studies (1/3). IP
26.Give Fast Food Bucks to a homeless person.
27.Finish The Purpose Driven Life. IP
28.Finish Knit Together. Completed 1/2008.

29.Be encouraging – Say encouraging things to family and friends everyday (204/228=89%).
30.Sit down at a table and eat dinner with my kids 800 times (80%=goal) (190/228=83%)
31.Eat home-cooked dinner 6 days a week (86%=goal) (172/228=75%).
32.Read 800 books to my kids (80%=goal) (89/228=39%).
33.Have homework time with kids every school night.(79)
34.Play 143 games with my kids (14%=goal) (31/228=14%).
35.Go out with DH (no kids) 33 times (8/33).
36.Take 3 trips without the hubby and kids (2/3).
37.Learn how to dance with DH.
38.Make a decision about having another child.
39.Go on a week long vacation for our family (DH & the kids).
40.Read Raising Great Kids.

41.Make 33 items for charity (9/33).
42.Reduce my yarn stash and organize it within current containers. IP.
43.Buy new yarn only for gifts, to complete a project or out of weekly cash. IP
44.Finish the 2 sweaters I have in progress (2/2). Completed 4/2008.
45.Make 3 cardigans (1/3). IP
46.Teach 2 knitting classes (1/2). IP
47.Take a class on finishing garments.
48.Knit Baby Blanket for Nephew. Completed. 12/2007.
49.Knit Monkey. IP
50.Knit Jaywalkers.
51.Knit Pullover Sweater.
52.Crochet Handbag.
53.Make 5 Dishcloths. (1/5) IP
54.Knit or Crochet a Rug.
55.Find a knitting circle of friends. Completed 12/2007

56.Blog regularly (60%=goal) (51/228=22%).
57.Go to several craft shows and research what knitted objects are being sold and what booths look like. (2)
58.Make some items specifically to be sold. Completed. 01/2008.
59.Develop a business plan.
60.Sell something on the Internet.
61.Earn some income from business.

62.Follow Flylady. IP
63.Clean out and organize storage areas. IP
64.Organize my bedroom closet and get rid of anything we don't use. Completed 5/2008.
65.Get rid o vacuum cleaner, computer & grill. IP
66.Clean out and organize office & files. Set up a command center. IP
67.Organize the hall linen closet. Completed 02/2008.
68.Organize the kitchen & get rid of anything we don't use. Completed 06/2008.
69.Organize the toys & develop a system to keep them organized. Completed 05/2008.
70.Landscape front yard. Completed 05/2008.
71.Grow a simple herb garden. IP
72.Go green on cleaning supplies. IP
73.Set up Recycle Center. IP

74.Document each thing completed. (9/101) IP
75.Try 33 new restaurants (16/33).
76.Read 33 fiction books (26/33).
77.Read 33 Nonfiction books (8/33).
78.Read 10 best sellers (3/10).
79.Learn about 10 new things (4/10).
80.Buy a digital camera or find the old one. Completed 12/2007.
81.Take pictures every week of my kids once I get the camera. IP
82.Put pictures in photo albums.
83.Make a photo wall of meaningful photos.
84.Finish State Quarter Books. IP
85.Finish my Soduku Book. IP
86.Go camping.
87.Visit an art museum. Completed 05/2008.
88.Consolidate and alphabetize addresses into one location.
89.Host a board game night.
90.Plan next 101 things to do.

91.Streamline monthly finance upkeep. IP
92.Move AEP 401 K to Fidelity.
93.Learn about retirement investing
94.Understand where we stand for our retirement.
95.Keep to monthly budget.

96.Brush and floss teeth morning & night (180/228=79%).
97.Wash face morning & night (177/228=78%).
98.Get dressed 6 days a week (86%=goal)(177/228=78%).
99.Paint my finger nails 15 times (4/15).
100.Paint my toenails 33 times (12/33).
101.Paint DD's nails 33 times (4/33).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Get a Clue

If you would like to try on a garment while still on the needles, thread crochet cotton through the stitches and slip of the needles. The crochet cotton works better than dental floss or waste yarn, and makes it easy to pick the stitches back up when you are ready.


I'm setting out to create a cozy blog. I hope that is possible to take cold, hard technology, and create something that is full of warmth, comfort, & friendliness. Picture a crisp, fall day with a warm blanket (handmade, of course) and a steaming mug of hot apple cider, tea with honey & lemon or a Pumpkin Spice latte.
Now settle in and read ....

Here is what is to come ...

Knitting/Crocheting Clues (a few things I've gathered)
Comfort Food (a recipe or two)
Reflections (just a few thoughts)
Everyday amusements (light humor)
& a healthy dose of whatever else bubbles over

I welcome your feedback because for me this is a journey of learning ...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Isaiah 40:11

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young.

This verse is one that I repeat over and over when I am having a particularly bad day. It reminds me that the Lord knows and understands the hard work of children.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quote for the Day

Knitting is a distinct virtue. It's reflective and repetitive. Whenever you are engaged in doing a purely repetitive thing, your mind can reflect upon life.

~Geoffrey Fisher

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas

Ideas fill my head of what to knit, and what to do. My kids are finally reaching ages that they take up less time ... meaning I am not so exhausted that I can spare a few thoughts on how I want to fill in my life with more meaning. I want to be a good wife & mom, but I want time to spend on me as a woman. I don't want my kids to grown and have homes of their own, and I am left not knowing what to do or how to be. Knitting has been a refuge in many ways, calming my anxiety, letting my thoughts slow down and rest, giving me a creative and productive outlet. I love exploring something new to learn or try. This is exciting and meaningful. (& of course, having some extra money to support my habit certainly won't hurt. How do I do that?)

FO: Last night I finished a pair of the Fair Isle Anatasia Socks in Plymouth Sockotta Sock Yarn Fair Isle Effect. Unfortunately my camera is MIA so I won't have pictures until I can find where my son hid it.

Now what do I work on next?