Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Splurged on Yarn This Week

Had to have new yarn this week!  I've been using a lot of my stash so I don't feel too guilty. 

A new yarn/quilt shop opened up in Lima, Ohio, and I wanted to check it out.  I stopped by after my dental check up (everything's all good - such a relief after a year and a half of dentist visits to fix my teeth after a bicycle ride that ended in a face plant).

Heavenly Stitches is in an old church on the corner of Greely Chapel & E Hanthorn.  It is really lovely with large windows and wooden floors.  Half of the store is quilting supplies, and the other half is yarn.  My only suggestion would be to add an area to sit and try the yarn out, but there is a good size room in the back for classes.  I bought 2 yarns:  Sublime luxurious woolly merino in a teal and Mirasol Akapana in a deep purple tweed.  The Sublime is a boucle yarn while the Mirasol is a thick and thin yarn.  Both are very luxurious and soft.

I also purchased some Lion Brand yarn Hometown USA.  This yarn is the biggest yarn I've ever used.  It is definitely super bulky.  It is definitely super bulky, and I'm using Size 11 needles because I'm a loose knitter.  The label recommends a Size 13.  

I'm making cowls out of all three of these yarns.  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Look at what I've been up to!

This is what I've been doing all summer long!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blog Summer Break

Having the kids home for the summer is limiting my computer time so I've decided to take a break for the summer.  I'll start fresh in September with new ideas.  See ya then.

Friday, June 11, 2010

In a Funk ...

I know that it has been a while since I've posted, and I hope you'll bear with me.  There has been a lot for me to process this past year, and sometimes that processing gets the best of me.  I've had 3 surgical procedures, my mom has leukemia, and a close uncle suddenly passed away.  I have plans for this blog, but either my emotions or my physical healing seems to get in the way.  I will continue, even if it is at a slower pace than I originally planned.

I just seem to be in a funk lately.  I've been knitting, but I can't seem to take pictures or put witty words together.  (Actually I've take a couple of pictures, but I don't like them.)  I can't believe that a month has passed and I haven't gotten my act together.  Well, I'm tired of feeling tired with no energy.  I'm starting a Walk to Run class on Monday, and I really have hopes that this will bring me more energy.  My husband runs, and I'm hoping that this might be something we both enjoy and can do together.  I don't think he's going to take up knitting anytime soon so I sure hope I like running.

Friday, April 30, 2010

You know you're really sick when ...

you have to rip out all the knitting you did the day before in a congested haze.  I'm in the process of making a little ripple blanket.  I've crocheted lots of them, but I've never knit one.  I've been doing really well until yesterday.  I've gotten some kind of bad cold or nasty virus thingy, and I'm calling a sick day.  No more knitting until my head clears.

I'm really need to take some pictures, and yesterday was my day to catch up.  I'm a little insecure in my picture taking, and I've been procrastinating, but was it really necessary to make myself sick over it.  I'm sorry for such a downer of a post.  When I feel this way, even jokes come out snarky.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quote of the Day

Knitting is very conducive to thought. It is nice to knit a while, put down the needles, write a while, then take up the sock again.

~Dorothy Day

Knitting helps me think better than almost anything else.  I've solved knitting problems, mysteries, household dilemmas, and calmed my anxiety.  My thoughts go from frenzied circles to ordered sentences.  It is so nice and feels as good as breathing.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Let me ask you a question:

What is your favorite handmade gift to give or to receive?

I think my favorite is to make a dishcloth set for the kitchen in pretty colors that match either the decor or the season.  Sometimes I add a pretty bar of soap.  In this picture, I added a set of coasters.  I think this was a home welcoming gift to one of my good friends.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Quote of the Day

Really I don't dislike to cook, but what you cook is eaten so quickly. When you sew, you have something that will last to show for your efforts.

~Elizabeth Travis Johnson

Even though I actually like to cook, I still agree with this quote.  In the management of a household, nothing seems to stay done.  Preparing meals, washing dishes and laundry have to be done over and over everyday.  Mowing the grass, at least, stays done for a few days, but the good news is that sewing and knitting stays done much, much longer, and you get to appreciate your efforts every time you see the item.  I love the process of knitting, but I also love the sense of accomplishment when I finish an item.  That is just so nice.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ruffled Baby Girl Hat


Oh my, I just don't know where the time has gone lately. 

This is a little baby hat I made out of the left over yarn from the basket weave blanket. I used this pattern, and then added the little I-cord piece at the top of the hat.

Adding a hat to a baby blanket makes a very nice and useful gift.  I love to knit booties, and I do give them as gifts, but I'm not really sure that they are used all that much.  I see babies wearing hats and using blankets all the time so I know my gift will be useful.  

Of course as I write this, I think of my own children.  My daughter loves yarn, and has always had a knitted or crocheted blanket.  When I wash her blanket, she goes and gets one of our living room throws.  She will tell me that she loves the smell of yarn.  My son, on the other hand, won't have anything to do with hand knitted and crocheted blankets.  He likes those really fine gauge machine knit cotton blankets.  His blankets have to be super smooth and soft while she likes the texture of a hand knitted blanket.  So I guess I try to give something functional and beautiful with the understanding that I can't always suit the tastes of the receiver, but no matter what I make, they know that my love and care (and sometimes my blood, sweat, and tears) went into the gift.  Perhaps that is all that is important.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mocha Dick

One of my favorite blogs is Kristen Nicholas's Getting Stitched on the Farm.  Recently she visited the Williams College Art Museum on a field trip with her daughter and found this:

It is made out of WOOL FELT!  You can learn more here.  I just love art like this.  This is so creative.  Who would have thought to make a life-size whale out of wool?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Basketweave Baby Blanket

I knit this cute blanket with Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in Fruit Smoothie. The yarn was very easy to work with and Superwash wool is great for baby projects. Superwash can be washed although I usually don't put it in the dryer. Also, wool is naturally flame retardant which is a great feature.

I looked at several basketweave patterns and then decided to make my own using the features that I preferred.

Any worsted weight, smooth yarn would work for this pattern.  I'm in the process of knitting this same  blanket using Caron Simply Soft. Size 7 needles produced the fabric that I wanted, but I didn't measure it before I gave it away so I'm not sure of the gauge or size of the end product.  In general, I go down a needle size or two as I tend to knit on the loose side.

Cast on 139 stitches using the long-tail method.

Row 1-6: Knit 1 TBL, Knit 1,Purl 1 across row until 2 st remain then K1, YF, Slip 1 Purlwise
These 6 rows are a seed stitch border.

Row 7: K1tbl, (K1,P1) 3 times; PM, (K5,P5) across row, ending with K5 followed by PM, then (P1,K1)3 times, YF, Sl1P
* The first and last 6 stitched are form the seed stitch border.*
Row 8: K1tbl, (K1,P1) 3 times; (P5,K5) across row, ending with P5 followed by (P1,K1)3 times, YF, Sl1P
Row 9: Repeat Row 7.
Row 10: Repeat Row 8.
Row 11: Repeat Row 7.

Repeat Rows 7-11 until blanket is about an inch shorter than you would like.

Repeat Rows 1-6 and bind off loosely.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Little Bloggy Break

I am having surgery this morning so I won't be blogging this week in order to recover.  It's nothing serious -- just more clean up after a bicycle accident I had a little over a year ago.  Who knew that flying over the handle bars while going less than 5 mph and wearing a helmet would cause so much damage!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Quote of the Day

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

If you saw my house, you'd know just how much this is true.  My goal in housekeeping tends to be more about relaxed chaos while still clean enough that no one gets sick.  I just find housework so boring and I seem to be only able to do it when there's nothing to wear or the sink is piled too high.  I can get a bit done if I have a good book on tape.  I think I gave up on housework when my son was born.  He just seems to undo everything I do about 5 minutes after I do it.  I figure that once he moves out (in 15 or so years), the house will just stay clean.  Needlework, on the other hand, stays done a lot longer.

P.S. - Happy Easter or Passover, everyone!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Aqua Endless Scarf

I love this scarf. It is exactly like a cozy necklace wrapped around my neck. It makes a rainy spring day cheerful. This is a great pattern called Endless Sunrise Scarf that I would do again and again. I used some yarn from another project that is a wool-cotton blend in a dk weight.

Wool cotton blends are my favorites to work with because they are light enough to wear in fall and spring, but they still have all the wonderful properties of wool.  Wool has elasticity that cotton does not.  This means that wool retains its shape while a cotton tends to stretch further and further from where I'd like it to be.   Cotton alone can be stiff to knit with, but the wool is much easier on my hands.  Together they make a great yarn that will take off the chill, but won't over-heat.  Hope you like it as much as I did.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Quote of the Day

If I stitch fast enough, does it count as aerobic exercise?  ~Author Unknown

Don't I wish!  I've been trying to get more exercise and build back up my strength.  When the sun is shining, it is so much easier to exercise!  We live near a nature preserve and it is really nice this time of year.  I guess I should just be thankful that knitting burns more calories than watching TV.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Crochet Hexagon Blanket

A friend of mine had her second baby last March, and I wanted to make her a blanket.  Many times first babies are given lots of gifts, but after that, they aren't always given much.  Also, if the baby is taken care of, then I want to give the Mom a gift because she does all the hard work.  So I've been working on this blanket more for my friend than for the baby.  It is a lap blanket size, and usually I can get one out in a month or so, but crocheting causes my injured wrist to ache after about half an hour so it has taken me a year!  I'm working on building up the strength in my hand so hopefully this won't always be the case.

The pattern for the hexagons was found here.  I finished the edges by single crocheting several rows around the whole blanket.  I used Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Green Apple, Crocus, Terra Cotta & Fedora.  Shine is a yarn made out of cotton and modal.  It is soft with a silky texture and a good weight to it.  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Short Trip to Spring, TX

One of my favorite columns in Interweave Crochet magazine is where a crocheter talks about their town and the places that are crochet friendly.  I thought I would try my hand at this.

Originally, I am from Houston, Texas, and I often go there to visit family.  Recently, I spent a day in Spring, Texas, a Houston suburb, with my grandmother and sister.

We started the day in Old Town Spring.  Old Town Spring has a lot of wonderful little shops and restaurants.  It is very quaint, and they have taken turn of the century houses and old town buildings and restored them into museums, art galleries, gift shops and restaurants.  It is a fun place to just walk around, and there are several places with shade and benches so you can sit and knit or crochet while you people watch.  Of course, in the heat of the summer it may be too hot, but spring has great weather to be outside.

We started at a tea & aromatherapy shop.  It had a good selection of tea as well as teapots.  I just couldn't figure out how to get a teapot home on an airplane without it getting broken.

We had lunch at Ellen's Cafe.  The food was delicious, and the iced tea was good too.  They had a very nice area to have lunch outside under an umbrella.  We didn't feel rushed and it was just a great place to have a leisurely lunch.

Afterwards, we walked around town.  I picked up some Bluebonnet seeds -- Do you think they'll grow in Ohio?  When we got tired, we headed back to the car for a trip to a yarn shop.  There is a yarn shop called Twisted Yarns on Spring Cypress, just outside of Old Town Spring, but we'd been there before and we wanted to try something new.  Twisted Yarns has a nice selection of yarns with a sophisticated cottage feel.

So we drove over to The Hen House, which is down Louetta Road towards Klein High School.  It doesn't look like much from the outside, but you just have to go inside!  It has a down home feel and it is HUGE.  It has both quilting and yarn supplies.  There is space for classes, and there is a wonderful seating area where anyone would feel welcome to sit a spell and do their hand work.

I think there is a balance in any shop between being helpful and available to customers without making them feel constantly watched.  I definitely felt that the Hen House got that balance right.  There were people around to help, but if you didn't need any help, you could browse comfortably.

That pretty much sums up our day.  We headed back to grandma's for a home cooked meal of pork tenderloin & cherry cheesecake for dessert.  What a great day!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Blue & Yellow Hanging Towel

Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines describes this pattern as the beauty of simplicity and usefulness.
That is so true and I love giving gifts that are not only beautiful but useful.  I made this particular dish cloth as a part of a new home welcoming gift.  I later visited my friend and there it was hanging on her oven door, which is exactly where mine often hang.  The cotton easily dries wet hands, and it washes and dries well in the machine.  

Friday, March 19, 2010

White Lattice Dishcloth

I've bought so much cotton on sale that I've been trying out various dishcloth patterns.  Here is one of them from a stitch dictionary.  

Tip:  To make the last corner look more even and finished, when you have 2 stitches left to bind off, knit them together and then bind off.  This helps all of your corners to match.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Knitting Girl

I love looking at how knitters are viewed through history.  This girl seems so casual, like everyone knits socks.  It is hard for me to imagine people on the street being so nonchalant about knitting socks.  We rely on machines so much now that my kids are always asking me to pause, instead of to wait.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Great Yarn Giveaway

Life on Laffer is having a giveaway for Fiber Enthusiasts.

Check it out here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Yarn Indulgence

This yummy yarn and pattern was my yarn indulgence over the holidays.  My mom bought me the beautiful scarf pin.  The yarn, pattern & pin were all bought at Yarn Birds in Raleigh, NC.

The yarn is Punta Yarns Meritwist Hand Paint in Colorway HP 60.  It is bulky weight and I used a US 11 / 8 mm size needles.  I love this color because it looks so good with brown.  Chocolate brown is a core color in my wardrobe.

The pattern has a seed stitch border with the large cable  down the middle.  I especially like the way the edges look finished by slipping stitches.  In fact, I've started finishing most of my scarves and even dishcloths by knitting the first stitch through the back loop and when you have one stitch left, pull the yarn to the front and slip it as if to purl.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rose ZigZag Scarf

I teach a knitting class for an assisted living center.  All of the ladies love Lion Brand Yarn's Homespun. I was out shopping to see what colors of Homespun are carried locally when I came across this lovely Rose.  It reminded me of my friend's rosy cheeks so I made her this cozy scarf.  I found the pattern at Lion Brand Yarn's website.  It was easy to make and it would be fairly easy to adapt to be wider, if so desired.  

Even though it was for Christmas, I wasn't able to get with my friend until last weekend.  She did love it and commented on how soft and warm it was.  

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Quote of the Day

Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit, either.  
~Elizabeth Zimmerman

I couldn't agree more with this quote.  Knitting is such good therapy for me.  It helps me to relax and process thoughts and problems at the same time.  I just love it when I'm knitting and a solution to a problem comes to me.  

Friday, January 1, 2010


I am in the process of knitting several projects, and I would like to promise a few posts, but every time I make that commitment, I get bombarded by a round of doctor's visits.  I'm not making any promises, and I know that eventually the doctors' visits will fade away, and I'll get to spend some time on this blog.

I have been more successful at keeping my ravelry account more up-to-date.  Check it out: My name over there is yarninmama.