Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A little knitting humor

Since I've been taking care of a sick child, I could use some humor ...

A woman is knitting as she drives (which is totally unsafe, and I don't advocate it). Pretty soon, her speed has crept all the way up to 95 mph--and she passes a parked police car. The car gives chase. Officer Bob turns on his siren, but the woman, oblivious, doesn't notice him. Finally, he pulls up alongside her car and yells, "Pull over! PULL OVER!"

She looks at him, looks at her knitting, and yells--

"NO! It's a CARDIGAN!"

I found this here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kits & Samplers

I have a confession: I've never bought a kit or tried a sampler. I guess I just didn't trust the yarn in them or the pattern or it was just too expensive. Anyway, I fell in love with this sampler:KnitPicks Sampler. I haven't bought it yet, but I think it is just lovely. What do you think?

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Bit of Humor and a Knitting Quiz!

I thought I would try something different: A bit of humor and a knitting quiz:

I tried this quiz, and I'm going to blame it on a lack of sleep because I only got 6 out 10. How well did you do?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hanging Dish Towels!!!

I received the new book Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines a couple of weeks ago, and I've made 4 of these Hanging Mitered Towels. This pattern is great for using up your kitchen cotton stash. Each towel only took me a few hours to make, and I must admit that they are a little addictive. As you knit the pattern, each row gets shorter so progress seems to go quicker, and I just wanted to keep going. I have a cone of natural cotton, and I'm thinking this might be a good pattern to use to make a set of towels. I have many kitchen towels that need to be retired or they would be great to add to a gift. Just Lovely ...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Trickey Monkey

This little monkey caused me quite a bit of anxiety. Why is it that knitting patterns don't explain how to assemble the pieces? I took this part more than once just trying to figure out how the pieces go together. I think it turned out pretty cute. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fingerless Gloves

These were a gift for my SIL. She has Reynaud's Syndrome and needs help in the cold weather to keep her hands warm. I just love this colorway on the yarn, and the pattern turned out so beautiful, yet it was fairly easy to knit up.

Yarn: Noro Kureyon Sock Colorway 180

Pattern: Spirogyra by Lynne Vogel

Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm back.

I've moved across the country and I've gotten settled. I've done quite a bit of knitting and crocheting, and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Beginning of the Mitered Blanket

When I finished the Pink & Green Elephant, I started making these squares. I visited the Going-Out-of-Business Sale for FiberWorks Knitting & Weaving in Toledo, OH, and picked up quite a few skeins of yarn to get me started. I plan on this blanket taking me quite a while to knit because I plan on doing other projects at the same time.

Here is the yarn (all in DK weight) I'm using so far:
Debbie Bliss Cathay (Cotton, Viscose Microfiber & Silk)- gold
Debbie Bliss Cathay - white
Louet Gems (Merino Wool) - Fern Green
Karabella Margrite (Merino & Cashmere) - Deep Berry Red
Berroco Comfort DK (Nylon & Acrylic) - Turquoise
Classic Elite Wool Bam Boo (Wool & Bamboo) - Forest Green

I've found a mitered square blanket that was designed in sets of 3, and I'm thinking of using that configuration, instead of the set of 4, like I have in the picture. Once I've knitted enough squares, I'll lay them out and show you a picture of what I mean.

Let me know what colors you can envision me adding.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pink & Green Elephante

This cute little elephant is what I worked on while driving north, south & west. I knitted this whenever I had a few moments to myself in the midst of touring houses and selecting flooring and lighting. This elephant saved my sanity.

I think it is going to be the perfect gift for a little girl who collects elephants and whose room is decorated in pink and green. I found this pattern on Ravelry, and it was fairly easy to follow. The yarn was Caron Simply Soft for the pink and leftover mystery yarn for the green. I would definitely make this pattern again. BTW, while I was knitting this one, my niece came up to me and wanted one for herself. I thought this was the ultimate compliment on my knitting. I'm sure that my niece will either get one from me or her knitting grandma.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Poodle Princess

I'm finally had time to catch up on my blogging. All this week I'll be posting to let you know what I did during July. July was my month of trips. This poodle was the first project that I finished near the beginning of July. I have a friend with 3 daughters, and I making each of these girls an animal. The poodle was the first. I used a pattern off of the Lion Brand Yarn website. The pattern called for Lion Brand Ruffles Yarn. Unfortunately, they do not have Ruffles in pink, and my client really needed a pink poodle. So I improvised the ruffle. My inner perfectionist isn't sure about the ruffle, but overall I think the poodle is cute.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mitered Square Blanket

We've been in and out of town for most of July because my husband's job is relocating us, and a couple of short vacations. The good news is that we found a house and I've started one a Mitered Square Blanket to soothe my nerves. The above picture is just an example; I didn't knit that one. I'm still picking colors, but I got enough to start. I have used gold, white, a deep red, a deep green, a sage green and a turquoise. I would like to add several greens and reds and whatever else strikes my fancy. I want to make it as large as a queen size comforter or about 90 x 90 inches. This will probably take me forever. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Eyelet Spring Dress (aka Picot Dress)

It is finished, and I'm finally pleased with it. I left it sleeveless so that G could wear a shirt underneath and it would be more versatile, lasting through several seasons. I decided to add a lace pattern to the bottom, instead of the picot edge. I really liked how this pattern was structured. The back and front are knit, and then seamed together. Then stitches are picked up and worked from the waist down, in the round. Knitting every stitch in the round for round after round gets old. I taught myself to knit without looking, and I knit it in a dark movie theater. I really enjoyed the lace edging. I hope to be able to work lace with lace weight soon.

Pattern Details: Eyelet Dress from Knit Simple, Spring/Summer 2008

In order to fit my daughter, who is long and lean, I knit a size 4 width and a size 8 length. The edging is the quill eyelet ruffle stitch pattern from Knitting on the Edge by Nicky Epstein.

Yarn: Bernat Satin Ombres Florals

Friday, June 20, 2008

Yarn Purchases

Yarn can get really expensive, but there are ways to bargain hunt for yarn. Usually yarn will go on sale at some point between January and March. This is when stores are trying to clear out their cold weather yarns for warmer weather yarns. I've found a few websites that have quality yarns for good prices. I have not bought from all of these, but I have found them to have good reputations from friends.

Knit Picks - Sells only their own brand of yarn. It is good quality for a fair price. I love their podcast.
Elann - Great Discounts if you know what you want.
Webs - Has a local store in addition to the on-line one; Great discounts when buying in quantity.
Discount Yarn Sale - Great Discounts, but must buy a whole bag.

I like these on-line sources, but I think it is important to support local yarn shops. Local yarn shops may be more expensive, but they do allow us to touch and feel yarn. They are great resources to learn about yarn as well as to take classes to learn new yarnin skills.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tips & Tricks - Needles

In the spirit of one of my favorite blogs:  Tip Junkie

I thought I'd share my tips on needles. I think that circular needles are easier on your wrists when you are making a big project, allow you to knit in a compact area, and you can push your work to the middle cord when you aren't knitting so if a little one picks the needles up you are less likely to lose your work.  For beginners, I recommend circular needles with bamboo or wooden tips.  The picture above is an example.  The bamboo tips are "sticky" so you are less likely to lose stitches when you are beginning.  

I prefer metal tips because it helps me to knit faster.  My favorites are Addi Turbos although I did buy a Boye  Needlemaster from Ebay.  This allows me to create whatever needles I need although I do have remember to tighten the needle tips every now and then.  While the needlemaster has its own organizer, for my other circular needles, I bought a binder that is made to store tackle from Bass Pro Shops.  Check this out.  This is basic and inexpensive although you could find something more stylish if you looked.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Weekend Purchases and Knitting Frustrations

This weekend was my great romantic getaway. I slipped in a yarn shop and purchased a skein of Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn in 180 color way. I plan on making this into a pair of wrist warmers. It is a beautiful color way of blues, oranges, and purples.

I have been working fiercely on a cute spring dress for my daughter. I made the size 8 which I thought would be a little big. Well, it turned out to be a lot too wide and a lot too short. I could never get the gauge right. I ripped the whole thing out. Now I am following the pattern for the Size 4 for the width and the Size 8 for the length. Giving my gauge, this should make it a Size 6 width but longer for growth. I think I'm going to leave it sleeveless. Perhaps it will be a great dress for next fall.

I also bought a book called, The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie M. Wiseman. It describes various knitting techniques, but more importantly, it tells you when to use them and when not to use them. I'm learning a lot and I hope it will show up in my knitting.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Precious Picot Dress

I have been working on a spring dress for G. It is in a variegated yarn of pinks and purples. I have finished the front and back, and seamed them together. I finished both of the sleeve pieces, and I attached one. I had G try it on, and the sleeve doesn't fit her right. I took the sleeve off, and I will end up leaving it sleeveless while I work on the skirt. I think the skirt is going to go fast because the pattern calls for picking up stitches and knitting in the round. I love to knit it the round. It is great knitting for watching movies. Some can even do it while they read a book although I'm still working on that particular skill.

I'm not sure what I am going to do about the sleeves. I may just shorten them, but if that doesn't work, I may crochet or knit them in a lace or eyelet stitch. I am concerned that the sleeves are too heavy and eyelet would help to be lighter.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Faux Cable Tee ... Finished!!!

Finally, I finished my tee. This was knitted from the bottom up, and since I didn't have enough of the Brown Merino Cotton, I added the aqua stripes. It has raglan sleeves and it did go fairly quickly once it was the right size. I really like the Merino Cotton because it can be both the warmer and cooler than you think, making it the perfect Spring and Fall sweater.

Car Personality

Since I describe a nondescript minivan, I like to add some personal touches so I can find my car in a large parking lot. At one time, I had made some fuzzy dice. They started to get a little frayed, and then my son tore them from the rear view mirror. This is what I came up with to replace the fuzzy dice. It is too large rosettes sewn together, and I found the pattern for the rosettes on the Lion Brand Yarn website.

Easy Baby Gift Idea

I literally crocheted these cuties in an afternoon. The pattern is called: Baby Beret and Mary Jane Booties and I bought it from here. It was a very quick baby gift.

Easy Gift Wrap

I finished this wrap in a little over a week. It is just a rectangle knit lengthwise in garter stitch (knit every row). I used 4 yarns, and changed colors as I felt like it. One of the yarns is a hand tied yarn with many colors throughout it, including some yellow, pink & spring green. I added yellow and spring green cotton yarns and a pink boucle. This knit up so fast and the color changes made it interesting and fun to see how it would turn out. I am very happy with it.

I made this for a friend of mine who just had her seventh child. I thought after bearing seven children, she needed something for herself. I knit this wrap to be a hug whenever she got up in the middle of the night to feed her wee one.

Ta Da

My migraines have slowed down. This may sound a little strange, but what has helped is a magnesium powder that I add to hot water and drink before bedtime. It helps me to sleep deeply and no bad dreams either. I have finally uploaded all of my photos and in the following posts, I will show you what I have been doing.

This is my Willow sweater finished!!!! It fits great, except I didn't like the sleeve length so I added a little charcoal gray in a crochet ribbing. I coordinated a crochet slipstictch around the sweater edges and added gray buttons too. The green yarn is Lion Brand's Woolease Chunky in willow, and the charcoal is some leftover yarn. I think it is a chunky shetland tweed from Paton's, but I can't be sure. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Many migraines have prevented me from posting here, but I have been busy knitting.  Why?  Knitting distracts me from the headache, but I can't do new patterns only easy knitting.  I have finished quite a few projects, and I am working on finishing my willow sweater.  When this is done, I will post a whole bunch of photos.  I guess I'm still getting the hang of this blogging stuff.  

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Quote of the Day

The only place where housework comes before needlework is in the dictionary. ~Mary Kurtz

If you saw the state of my house, you would understand that this is almost my personal motto although I did paint my front door and my half bath yesterday.

BTW, I finished the Brown & Aqua Tee. Pictures coming soon.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Knitting Book Contest

I was reading some of my favorite Knitting blogs, and I came across this.

My Yarnin Story

Once upon a time ... oh, nevermind. I was going to spin a good yarn, but maybe I'll just stick to the facts ...

My mom taught me to crochet when I was 12 and then again several times over the years. For many years, I made blanket after blanket and maybe a couple of scarves. Over the years, I got married and had 2 kids.

During my second round of postpartum depression & anxiety, I was looking for something to recharge my batteries and calm my mind. I had always wanted to learn to knit so I took a class at AC Moore. The class taught me to throw, but I had a horrible time controlling tension so I switched the yarn to my left hand. It just came so natural to me.

From that first lesson, I knew that I found something. I have knit almost every day for the past 3 1/2 years. It relaxes my anxiety and slows my thoughts to a rate in which I can process them. Knitting has helped me to process traumatic memories, and it has helped me to pray for my mom while she was going through chemotherapy. Knitting has challenged my mind with mathematical skills that I thought pregnancy might have killed. Knitters have welcomed me to sit down and chat. They have explained patterns and taught me how to fix mistakes. Knitting has opened my creativity, my problem solving, a few mathematical skills, and I think it is just the most wonderful discovery.

I wish I could put into words how knitting has calmed my anxiety. It helps me to think or not think, based upon what I need. I now have an outlet to express creativity and problem solving.
The rhythm of the needles can encourage a state of meditation or prayer. All of this and I get great clothes and accessories too.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

In Between Knitting

Sometimes I just don't have the brain power to figure out a knitting math problem, or maybe I need a break from the current project. So I start a new project. Well, I have 6 projects in progress. Lately, I have been struggling with migraines, and I don't really want to work on any of these projects, but I still want to knit. I want to feel the smooth needles and hear their calming clicking. I have lots of yarn to knit up, but what to do when I need to just knit and knit and not have to think. Sometimes I make a dishcloth, but in the last 2 days I have made 2 newborn baby hats. I knit a 2x2 rib in a circle for about 5-6 inches, and then I decrease and finish up the hat. I give these hats to a local hospital. I get my knitting fix, producing something, and doing a good turn all in one swoop. Next week, I will be able to tackle my projects. (My migraines are hormonal.)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Faux Cable Tee

When I can't stand the cotton candy pink anymore, I am working on this tee. I am making it out of a beautiful merino cotton. I just love this stitch, and I think I am really going to love the way this fits. No shaping is really necessary because this stitch is basically a rib so it has lots of stretch. I have really been love with the contrast of chocolate brown and aqua. It is so easy on the eyes, and since I have autumn coloring, these colors just make me look great. At first, I was going to make the top a yoke, but I've changed my mind, and now I'm going to make it a raglan.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cotton Candy

I am trying to use up some of my stash this week, and my 6 yo daughter always picks out this cotton candy pink. I'm trying to use up the last skein by making this really cute beret. If I have enough yarn, then I will make a muff to go with it. I'm sure that this will really contribute to her princess identity. I think that all 6 yo girls have a princess identity, and I really encourage it to an extent because once a girl hits puberty, she just thinks she's the ugly duckling.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Benefits of Knitting

I have finished reading The Joy of Knitting: Texture, Color, Design, and the Global Knitting Circle by Lisa R. Myers, and I must agree that there are many benefits to knitting and I think these apply to crochet as well.

"To summarize briefly, the process brings calm, peace, an opportunity for contemplation, a sense of purpose and utility, and pure visual and tactile pleasure. The product brings custom wardrobe items, precious gifts, and a sense of achievement and self-confidence."

I would add to this something that I heard in an interview with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Knitters learn that one stitch at a time makes a difference. Small things add up to big things.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What Knitting Feels Like ...

Since I've been teaching knitting, I've struggled with finding words to describe what knitting feels like. I 've been reading The Joy of Knitting: Texture, Color, Design, and the Global Knitting Circle by Lisa R. Myers and here is quote that describes well how I feel:

"Once you get the hang of it, knitting is a lovely rhythmic motion. It can soothe and calm you. It can even put you into a meditative trance. While your hands are busy, your mind can be emptied of anxieties and details. Sometimes it may remain open and passive, in a Zen-like state. Other times, it may float free in contemplation of larger issues."

It is amazing because knitting a simple project can give me room to process a problem or slow my thoughts down when anxiety has them spinning out of control. Knitting a more challenging project can help me to take a break from worrying and give me a much needed escape. Sometimes, I swear I can feel the release in endorphins as I perform the pattern again and again.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Nana's Happy Hat

One of the quickest ways to satisfaction is to make a hat. I made this hat in a couple of days (a few hours while watching television). I am liking how it turned out, except I may work on the buckle a little more. This is the first time I worked with a bamboo yarn, and it is so soft and luxurious. I just find it amazing that this came from sticks. I bought this pattern from The Crochet Side. It was easy to follow.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Cross Crochet Washcloth

This week I have crocheted small projects to give myself a break from the sweaters that seem to be taking forever. Small Projects provide such wonderful instant gratification. Life has been full of emotional frustrations, and the quick, easy projects have really soothed my soul. I needed some encouragement that I could get something done. This small dishcloth provided me with something easy and yet I had never worked this pattern before so it was new. It provided me with the level of mental challenge that I needed while also providing those repetitions calmed my nerves.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Life and the effects it has on my Knitting

In the last 3 weeks, I have planned a baby shower and a birthday party.  I have had my in-laws down for a great visit.  Then this past week, the migraines hit.  All of this has had effects on my knitting.  Since all of this has affected my anxiety levels, it affects my knitting.  Knitting soothes my anxiety so I must knit to calm the savage beast, which rages inside my head.  At first I took it out on my willow sweater.  I analyzed and then frogged the whole thing, rolling the yarn into nice squishy balls.  I found a new pattern and I've knit the back and sides.  I've started on the sleeves.  I've bought a few books to add to my library, and I've been planning future knitting.  

My daughter, the lover of all dresses, has requested a pretty pink dress to replace the skirt that she has outgrown, and I passed on to cousins.  I've had some KnitPicks Shadow in my stash, and I've been looking for wrap / shawl patterns for it.  

Well, this is when the migraines hit, and I needed to knit to distract me, but I wasn't really capable of any complex mathematical skills or the fit concerns.  So I got out some cotton and crocheted a dishcloth, and then I started to knit a swatch from a stitch dictionary.  Pictures to follow.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Knitting Impatience Take 2

As you know, I've been a little frustrated with my knitting lately.  I think ripping out an entire sweater will do that to you, but I was getting frustrated before I did that.  In fact, I think I rushed knitting that sweater and actually the impatience caused some of my errors.  I've been thinking since I'm prone to reflection anyway.  

I've been knitting for a little over 3 years now, and I think that I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself.  Some of my impatience is due to the fact that my actual skills don't match the skills I desire.  These will come in time as I continue to knit.  I recently heard an interview of the Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (The Yarn Harlot) and she emphasized over and over that she had been knitting for 34 years.  When you compare 3 years to 34 years, the skills are a little overwhelming.  Perhaps time will heal my frustrations. I just need to concentrate on why I like knitting and continue in my practice and the skills will come.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

New Willow Cardigan

After much consideration, I have realized that the pattern I chose wasn't really what I wanted, even after I tried to modify it. I made some mistakes, like knitting 11 inch arm holes instead of 9 inch ones, but my gauge was what was called for in the pattern. I just don't think the pattern had the appropriate shape, and I made it a size too large. I have ripped out the other sweater, and I have chosen a new pattern (Thank you ravelry.) Last night I cast on the back panel. I'm hoping this works out. I am knitting a medium, instead of a large, but I am going to try to hold it up to my figure a little more often to avoid ripping out an entire sweater. I guess I'm in good company on that one. I think I have read about the Yarn Harlot ripping out entire sweaters. The new pattern is Berroco's Gretta.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ribbit, Ribbit

The Willow Sweater will be frogged this weekend. Except for the ribbing, all of the dimensions are just too big. My gauge must have gotten looser and looser as I knit it. I hope the next time I knit it, it will go as fast as the first time, except that it will actually fit. I need to do some measuring and planning before I knit it again. Maybe before I rip it, I should take some stitches per inch calculations to help with my design. Some of the changes I made to the pattern were experimental, and sometimes experimental means trial and error. I guess this just turned out to be more error than trial. Oh, well... back to the drawing board.

God's Hobby

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

Psalm 139:13

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Knitting Impatience

I have been experiencing a little bit of knitting impatience. I would like to be finished with some of the projects that I've had going for a while, and start something new. The problem is my life has been interfering with my knitting. Yes, I know how spoiled I am to be able to say this. More than likely, I am frustrated with my life and taking it out on my knitting. Sometimes I just don't have the words to express my thoughts and feelings. It is like my creativity has been bottled up. Could this be a form of knitter's block / writer's block? When I started this blog, I thought I had all of these things to share, but now I am not so sure. I haven't given up yet. I know that I have something in there somewhere to share, and I plan on keep trying.

I have been knitting on the brown and aqua tee sweater. I do like the fabric that I'm creating, but I can't seem to picture it finished. I have a loose plan, and I'm just not sure what to do with the sleeves. It is a bottom up sweater, and in a couple of inches, I will need to deal with the sleeves. Do I want to do a raglan or a yoke? I'm leaning towards a yoke. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Purple Ravens Scarf

I made this for a friend of mine, and it produces a soft touch of color. The pattern is all garter stitch (knit every row). The novelty yarn (Patons Allure) hides mistakes well although you do have to be careful that you don't drop stitches. Cast on as many or as few stitches as you want.

Finally a Scarf for Me

The last 5 scarves I made have been for other people so I decided to make one for me. Here is the pattern.

I made this with Lion Brand Yarn Jiffy that a friend donated to the cause. It was really easy to work with. This pattern makes a dense herringbone pattern.

Faux Cable T-Sweater

Designing a sweater is often a process of trial and error. I have started this sweater several times, and although each time it gets better, it just isn't right. I've started it yet again, and so far so good. I don't have enough yarn to do the whole sweater so I plan on adding some stripes of turquoise.

Willow Sweater

I've been working on this basic cardigan in Lion Brand Yarn Woolease. The color is Willow. I'm taking a pattern that was in pieces, and I joined the front pieces and back piece into one on a circular needle. I also didn't want a completely boxy sweater so I added some waist shaping. So far it's been going incredibly fast because the yarn is chunky.