Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Spring Pullover Scarf

I had some leftover yarn from my Spring Pullover to make a little something extra. So I picked out this out of 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders. It is the Garter Stitch Loop-Through Scarf by Marci Richardson. I modified it slightly; instead of increasing to 32 stitches, I increased to 22 stitches.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Spring Pullover

Although I made this in the spring, I plan on wearing this as the weather cools off. In the spirit of school starting, I thought I would post my "school clothes."  This is the Split Neck T shirt for Women #257 by Diane Soucy from Knitting Pure & Simple.  I made it out of Universal Yarn's Vanessa.  Vanessa is a synthetic yarn that drapes so lovely.

I made a medium size, but my gauge was slightly less stitches per inch than the pattern so it turned out slightly bigger and not as fitted as the pattern.

Did I tell you how much I love green?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Frozen Key Lime Pie

Doesn't every cafe need a good pie recipe?  In the heat of the summer, I love frozen key lime pie. It reminds me of the beach and it goes down smooth.  After searching through several recipes, I found my favorite on Food Network.

Frozen Key Lime Pie
by Robin Miller 2007

1 (8-ounce) container nondairy whipped topping, thawed slightly
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 (9-inch) prepared graham cracker pie crust
Freshly grated lime zest, for sprinkling

In a medium bowl, whisk together the whipped topping, condensed milk and lime juice until smooth. Spoon the mixture into graham cracker crust and smooth the surface with a spatula.

Set in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle lime zest over the top before serving.

**I found that the lime flavor gets stronger as it is kept in the freezer longer.**

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cabbage Dishcloth

I love knitting and crocheting dishcloths.  They are small and the various patterns give lots of variety. Also, a few handmade dishcloths can really add something special to a gift.  I love functional gifts, and dishcloths can be both pretty and functional. This particular dishcloth is the Cabbage Patch Knitted Dishcloth by Tomato Lady and I made it in a KAL on Ravelry. I have used this cloth in the kitchen and I have washed and dried it several times. It is holding up great, and I love the way it feels. I used Lion Brand Cotton-Ease yarn.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lacy Ribbed Tee

This is the Lacy Ribbed Tee by Kristin Omdahl found in Creative Knitting Magazine, July 2009.  The yarn is Schulana Sojabama.  It is a bamboo blend and the yarn is very stretchy.  I started by making a medium according to the pattern, but after I made the armhole, I tried it on. The neck opening barely went over my head. So I've casted on (using a tubular cast on) 104 stitches on a US Size 7 needle, and then switched to the size 6 needle after the set up rounds.  I didn't increase in the set up rounds so I've been following the directions for a medium.
I tried it on after these changes, and it seems to be going well. I've stopped doing swatches (horrors!)  because I never knit the same gauge over a swatch that I do in the project.  So I've resigned myself to knitting a project a couple of times before it turns out how I like it. This works out well because I enjoy the process of knitting, and it is very important that a garment fits well.  I think this means that I'm am both a process and a product knitter.
The armholes made as instructed in the pattern turned out too big so I only cast on 5 stitches instead of 23.  This made the armholes just great.  Also since I have a shorter torso, I only made the center section 8 inches instead of 10. I really like how the tee fits and yarn is soft and slinky.  
After I took this picture, somehow this tee ended up in the washing machine with a black tee shirt and miracle of miracles, it over-dyed evenly.  The tee still fits and looks good, but it is a deeper, more muted color which works well in my wardrobe.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Flower Coasters

Pattern: Springtime Coasters by Doni Speigle (found here)

This was another addition to my friend's birthday gift. These were very easy to make, and I could make 2 or 3 of them in an evening. Again I used scrap yarn that I think was either Sugar and Cream or Peaches and Cream and Lion Brand Cottonease. I really love Lion Brand Cottonease because it is so easy to work with. It is much easier on my hands than 100% cotton. Besides dishcloths, I have used it to make spring and summer baby blankets, and I think I might use it to make a summer cardigan someday.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Multidirectional Dishcloth

This is another dishcloth I made for a friend's birthday. It is a great pattern to use up stash. I must say that knitting dishcloths is a great way to learn new stitches and great for summer knitting (light and portable). They also make great gifts because everyone needs them, and they make mundane chores at least a little more aesthetic. Cotton is a hardworking and easy care fiber. You can wash and dry it, and the texture of the dishcloths helps with washing dishes.

I found this pattern on Ravelry here.

Circle Cloth

Here is the next dishcloth that I made for my friend. I found the pattern on Ravelry here. It was a free download, and I just thought the effect was really cool. The blue yarn is cotton, but I'm not sure of the brand. The natural yarn is Peaches & Cream cotton.

Crochet Textured Dishcloth

I put together a birthday gift for a friend of mine, and since she has just moved into a new house, I thought I would make some functional, yet pretty items. The first was this crocheted dishcloth. I am not sure what brand of yarn this, but it is cotton. It is a really, simple pattern, but I liked it so much, I'm thinking of making one in green for my kitchen.

Chain an odd number of stitches the width desired.
Single Crochet in the second chain from the hook, and then in each stitch across row. Chain one and then turn.
Single crochet across row, alternating crocheting through the back loop and then the front loop.
Repeat last row until dishcloth is the size desired.

See it is so simple, functional, and pretty!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Simple Knitting

Lately, I've been drawn to simple, meditative knitting. I was in a bicycle accident in early March. Right now I'm struggling from postconcussive syndrome and weak wrist. I can knit simple things, but crochet makes my wrist ache. I'm getting better, but not as fast as I would like! I have been working on a shawl, but I can't seem to figure out the edging. I hope my brain heals from all of this trauma. I've made dishcloths. The simple pattern soothes my spirit, and this is as close to meditation as I can get.

Here is the age-old simple dishcloth pattern although I've used this same pattern to make shawls and baby blankets:

Cast on 3 stitches.
Knit 1, Yarn Over, Knit remaining stitches.
Continue 2nd line until you reach desired size. (45-50 stitches for dishcloth with worsted weight yarn) (Bind off here for triangle shaped shawl.)
Knit 1, Yarn Over, Knit 2 together, Knit until 3 stitches remain, K2Tog, Knit 1
Continue last line until 3 stitches remain, then bind off.

Such a simple, practical, and even meditative pattern ...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Shell Baby Blanket - Crocheted Shells

Yarn: Bernat Baby Boucle in Dust of Pink and Violet Blossom
Pattern: Crochet Shell -- I improvised this pattern. I alternated single crochet with 5 double crochets in one stitch.

This boucle yarn is soft and nubby. It is easy to work with although it is difficult to pull out if you make a mistake, and if you pull too hard, it will break.

This is a fairly mindless pattern repeat. It was a great project while watching tv.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Knitting Exercises - Reducing Repetitive Stress

The past few months I've been forced into a more sedentary lifestyle due to a couple of sinus infections, an infected tooth and a stomach virus. So I haven't exercised a whole lot, and I've spent more time sitting and knitting. My knitting is looking good, but my hands, fingers, neck and shoulders ache. I've knitted up to 4 hours on some days, and my body is starting to complain. I know that some of this will take care of itself when I get back on my feet. I'll go back to my usual exercises, and I'll just move more around the house. In the mean time, I'm not knitting in such long sessions. I take breaks, and I'm stretching out my whole arm.

Since I'm having some difficulty and I want to knit for many years to come, I thought I would do a little research on the topic:

~An exercise that I learned from a massage therapist way back when I was a cashier is to push my fingers in and then gently pull them out, one at a time. Sometimes this will pop my knuckles, but not always.

~This chart I found on hand stretch exercises to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome really helps stretch out my hands and arms from knitting.

~Berroco recommends the Handeze Glove and these exercises.

~There are a lot of exercises out there that focus on wrists. For whatever reason, I don't have issues with my wrists although I do hold my wrists fairly straight. I think that this is the key -- good posture. I only have issues in the areas of my body that are not aligned: my little finger (I tend to stick it out apart from my other fingers. I don't know why???), my forearm (which I tightly tense), my shoulder (where I hold stress), and my neck (only when I stoop). My point is that observation of how I hold my body greatly helped me to identify why certain parts ache.

What I have figured out about myself --
~Stretching my hands and arms helps my range of movement and to reduce aching.
~Giving myself movement breaks and limiting my knitting sessions helps reduce the strain of knitting's repetitive motions.
~Good posture and body alignment just feels good!

Please note that I am not a doctor, nor do I have any medical training. I just want to be educated about how to take care of myself. Please use discernment and if you are in real pain, not just a couple aching muscles, then get off the internet and go see a real doctor.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Blogs & Sickness

I guess a month with an infected tooth really depletes the immune system. My immune system just keeps getting kicked to the curb. I wash and wash and wash my hands, but I also cuddle and clean up after my sick kids, and according to my Germ Guru, this exposes me to lots of germs. So I'm washing my hands, disinfecting the house, taking my vitamins, eating well when I have an appetite, drinking lots of clear liquids, and resting as much as possible.

Unfortunately, for those of you that actually read this blog (Are there really any of you out there?) I haven't been very consistent with making entries. I wanted to let you know that I do have some ideas for blogs, but while being sick, they seem to only come out one line at a time. My goal is to post blogs on Monday, Wednesday & Friday, so if I'm going to post, I'll post on these days with the ultimate goal that I'll post every Monday, Wednesday & Friday.

Please say hi if you're out there?

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Man's Winter Hat

Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Merino in Rich Red
Pattern: Waffle Hat found on Ravelry.com

This was a great pattern. It only took me a couple of days, and it fits wonderful. My hubby loves it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Baby Blanket Blues

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft, various shades of White and Blue

Pattern: Moderne Baby Blanket found in Mason Dixon Knitting

I made this blanket for a dear friend and her baby. It was fun to make, and it just looks so beautiful. I'm very happy with the way it looks. Towards the end of the blanket, I did get a little tired of knitting row after row.

The edging is called arch and it is from Crocheting on the Edge by Nicky Epstein. It was simple, but I liked the way it completed the blanket. Since this blanket is for a boy, I didn't want the edging to be too feminine. Also, I don't like baby blankets to have too many holes where tiny fingers can get caught.

Also, I've been knitting through a bit of stash that consisted of Caron Simply Soft. I do like Caron Simply Soft because it is soft, washable, and inexpensive. It is sturdy and makes a blanket that can be used!

On the other hand, I have some beautiful yarns that I have waiting for me to make some lovely sweaters for myself. I've started to get a bit antsy to start knitting that yarn. I'm so looking forward to making myself something after months of knitting for everyone else. I love making things for the people I love, especially the ones who appreciate it. Since the cold weather has descended, I just don't have enough sweaters to keep me warm. The Malabrigo is calling my name.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Holiday Bolero

Yarn: mostly Caron Simply Soft
Pattern: Holiday Fantasy Bolero in November 2007 issue of Crochet!

This pattern was easy to follow, and I really enjoyed the fabric that this bobble stitch produced. I did lengthen the sleeves a bit for the intended recipient. This looked fabulous with a little bit of jewelry and a blank tank underneath. It would be perfect for a holiday party.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Long Time Coming ... Christmas Gifts

I've been knitting, knitting, and knitting while taking care of sick kids and myself.

For Christmas, I knit coaster upon coaster, and then when most of them didn't look like I expected after felting, I started knitting ornaments.

The ornaments take so little time. I could do one in a couple of hours. There was no frustration involved. It was wonderful, and they turned out just so darn cute.

What do you think?