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.