Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Carry On!

I stayed up tonight to watch Project Runway but it's not a new episode...reruns again! What's up with that?? So instead, I'm blogging and trying to learn to cable without a cable needle.

Hope it was a very Merry Christmas for you and yours!! I had a lovely holiday... spent time with some friends and family. On the knitting front, I got all four pair of the slipper socks finished, wrapped and under the Christmas tree for the grandkids.

I even got a pair for my Mom almost finished. I couldn't quite pull it off, the clock ticked away, so I put one sock and a ball of yarn in her gift package with her pretty pajamas. When she opened it, the ball of yarn puzzled her, at first she thought she had the wrong gift. My Mom wouldn't know what to do with a ball of yarn in a million years. She wasn't the crafty Mom on the block when I was growing up. But she got quite a kick out of her single sock and the IOU for the second one. In fact, I was able to finish it today on the train. So tomorrow, I'll deliver her pair of Christmas socks to her.

I used Moda Dea Washable Wool in Raspberry for Mom's socks. It's really soft and knit up very nicely. And I was able to get an anklet pair out of a single 166 yd. skein! Bonus! So now I have an unused ball for a second pair. Maybe for me... maybe for DD#2. She came home early on Christmas morning to do some baking and cooking, and generally just help out before the horde descended. Plus she got me the coolest hoodie ever!!

And so, now I'm working on finishing that pink aran scarf I've neglected for a good portion of the fall. It's the last "Christmas" project to be completed for an early January visit to Maryland. And I thought if I could cable without a cable needle it might go faster.

Once it's done I will officially be with nothing OTN and can start some new projects for the new year!! I'm thinking I'm going to swatch for my clap, start a cable or lacey patterned sock in some of my "pretty" sock yarn and maybe make a couple of hats or a pair of Fetchings. Plus, I joined the EZ EPS sweater group over at ravelry and have been browsing my new copy of Knitting Without Tears to get ready to cast on. And tonight, I'm even considering making the sweater a cardigan... which will involve steeking!!

Carry On!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Urchin Beret and Pizzella-Palooza

Yea! FO! This is me and my urchin beret. Beret, because look at the picture. I utilized Inca print yarn, 2 strands held together, because its thin, on a size 15 needle. It took me 3 days to finish, because I only knit at night. It can be done in one day though. It's an alpaca yarn and I thoroughly enjoyed working with it. And I do love the colors. I cast on for a medium, but I guess I could have gotten away with a small. I could have also modified the pattern as I went, but come on people, I just don't have those skills yet. Plus, although creative, I like to follow patterns. Every time I deviate I run into problems. The urchin pattern was super easy to follow, and knitted up quickly. I will definitely use this pattern again, but with a more appropriate yarn.

So, this past weekend was also Pizzella-Palooza. I really only bake around Christmas, and pizzelles are such a time consuming process, that I only make them once a year. Pizzelles are an Italian anise flavored cookie that I grew up with, and you need a pizzelle iron to make them. Its a labor intensive process, because the "good" irons only make two at a time, and it takes about 1 minute to cook. See the clock there for keeping time. So there is no time to do anything else, because believe me, I have tried and ended up with burned pizzelles. But I love giving them out to my friends and family because they are indeed made with love :)

I also made ricotta cookies, another favorite Italian cookie. Although I'm Italian, these are the only two Italian cookies I make. I don't have time for biscotti, and the rest of the Italian cookie family. That's what my girlfriend's mom's house is for. Anyway, the ricotta cookies came out really, really good this year, if I do say so myself. They are a light cookie made with ricotta cheese in the batter, and then iced with a light icing made from 10x(confectioner's) sugar. I was going to make more, because they seem to just disappear, but then I remembered I need to buy some bathing suits for next year's vacation, so no more cookies! Plus my husband said we had enough cookies, as he walked away with another handful. Hmm...I still may make some more, haven't decided yet. I'll think it about as I eat some chocolate chip cookies I made, since the ricotta ones are gone.

During this entire baking process, I did have time to think about what knitting projects I would like to accomplish or start in the new year. First, I am going to finish up the little things I have hanging around, mainly that darn green garden of Eden scarf and the mate to my brown stripped sock. Then I must CO on for another bunny buddy for my coworker whose wife is expecting in February or March. Then the following: scarf to match my beret, shrug for vacation in the fall of 2008, Clapotis (no, I don't have one yet), and one of the sweaters from the Interweave knits winter edition. The top down sweater with open work at the top. I really like that one. I have the week off from work between Christmas and New Years, so I want to have my old things cleaned up.

I have other big plans too; like straighten out my Ravelry stuff, I'm a poor Ravelry home page person. Try dyeing some yarn. Organize my knitting journal and notebook. Catch up on TV. And start my final paper for school. I graduate in May yea! I have an associates and lots of experience already, but sometimes you really need that piece of paper, you know? Plus its a personal accomplishment. Anyway, as you can see, I have lots of stuff planned. I wonder how much I will get done.

In the meantime, I wish all of you a wonderful holiday. May you all have treasured time with your family and the ones you love. My husband and I will be busy spoiling our doggie, who loves to sit under tree when the lights are on. Unless you start eating something of course!


Monday, December 17, 2007

In Memory

Dan Fogelberg
August 13, 1951- December 16, 2007

A true musical genius and poet. He provided the soundtrack to my life.

I started listening to the wind and the rain
You strained your ears but could hear nothing
One night I thought I heard them whisper my name
And I went running
I left a trail of footprints deep in the snow
I swore one day I would retrace them
But when I turned around I found that the wind had erased them
Now I'll never replace them

Through his music he will live on ever more.

Godspeed Dan

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Don't Leave Home Without IT!!!

I learned a very valuable lesson today. Never leave home without your knitting bag. Not even if you're going Christmas shopping and won't have any opportunity for knitting. I did that today... and found myself sitting in my car, in a parking lot, with a flat tire, waiting for AAA, with no knitting!!
Aaargh!!! And I sat, and waited for an hour, while valuable knitting time, Christmas deadline knitting time, slipped away.
Now I usually do grab my little current WIP bag. Even if it's doubtful I'll have time for knitting. But today, for some reason I didn't. Maybe I was distracted by the whole Christmas shopping extravaganza, making a list, checking it twice, fa-la-la-la-la thing. Or maybe it's because my current WIP is getting a little tedious.

I'm on the final pair, of the slipper socks I decided to make for the 4 grandkids. And I'm using the same yarn for all 4 pair! I coudn't even get myself together enough to get different yarn for each pair.

I settled for an acrylic, Red Heart Heathers in a nice rich, Christmasy red, that will match the jammies I bought. I liked the yarn when I started, after all the negative things I heard about RH, I was surprised that this feels nice and soft. But still, I had really intended to find a nice, soft, washable wool. But that's another story. So I hope they're comfortable to wear, otherwise, I'll be making more, this time in wool. And in crazy, bright colors to keep me interested.

So what did I do tonight, to make up for that lost Christmas sock knitting time?? I surfed the web and admired other knitters' blogs and FOs. Then I picked up the washcloth I started (4 rows knit) earlier in the fall and abandoned. Is it January yet?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Baby booga bag

As you can see I have finished my booga bag. Now, I know I used size 10 needles, but come on! It has turned out a lot smaller than I thought. With the cord, I actually made it longer than the pattern said, because I was busy watching Torchwood and not paying attention. Love that show and BBC America in general. Great programming!! I did not over felt it because, I checked it often. Here are the pre and post felting measurements in inches:

Pre felt: bottom 8 1/4, width 11 1/4, height 12 1/2, I cord 81 inches

Post felt: bottom 6 1/2, width 6 1/2, height 7, I cord 60 inches

I can still use the bag, but I am going to re-knit an I cord long enough so I can wear the bag cross ways over my body, like in front on a diagonal, intead of just on my shoulder. I have yarn left over. I only used about maybe 2 1/2 skein of the Caron felt it. You learn from your mistakes. Not that this is a mistake, but now that I know the basic construction, I can make myself a bigger one. Maybe square size, like a tote or something. that show! I like sci-fi stuff anyhow. But the writing is good, and Captain Jack is easy on the eyes, even though he is taken. Plus it's soemthing different than what is on the usual channels. Much more free and loose than the U.S. Season 2 will be on in January 2008.

Gave the bunny to my co worker ans she loved it, as did everyone else. Also finished my urchin hat, and I'll post that on the 18th. Suzy Girl has to bring her camera in for me. Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 10, 2007

You Are a Snowman

Friendly and fun, you enjoy bringing holiday cheer to everyone you know!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

1... 2... 3... Swatches! Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah

(Title courtesy of the Count from Sesame Street)

I want to make myself a hat for the winter, specifically the Urchin hat by Ysolda Teague, from the Fall 2007 edition of Knitty This will be my first hat ever, and it looks fairly easy for someone who has been knitting a while. The yarn I'm going to use was purchased from WEBS in a combo order with Suzy Girl and the Knitting Novice It's Inca print from Patons.

It's alpaca and luscious and soft. I have realized I have a thing for alpaca. I just love the look, feel, and warmth. It's nice to work with too. Plus I couldn't pass up these colors. I like bright, loudish colors. I dare to be different, what can I say. Since, I'm substituting yarn, I do the right thing, which I sometimes have trouble with, and make a swatch. I don't need to be knitting this hat and then realize, oops! too big, it's now a ski mask.

So, I'm going to knit the hat double stranded, since the yarn calls for a 7 needle.

Swatch # 1 : 10 1/2, because someone on Ravelry said they used that, and it worked. Yeah, I don't think so, unless you want a jumbo hat.

Swatch # 2: 13, because 7+7 is 14, drop a needle size down. I think that's the rule. Yeah, okay that didn't work either. Gauge is 10 sts/ 4 inches, I'm getting 12. Again large.

Swatch # 3: 15, because 7+7 is 14 so go up a needle size. That must be the rule! My gauge is 11sts/4 inches. Close enough for government work, I say!

I know some of you are thinking, "MMM I don't know about that. It's not the right gauge." Yes I know, but It's only one stitch, and my head is not perfectly round. Plus, my measurements fell between medium and large. So I will cast on for a medium and see what happens. You gotta learn how to roll the dice, you know? Here is my swatch after I frogged it a bit.
What's the worst that can happen? I curse myself out, frog, and knit something else. Or just wear a misshapen hat, because I can be stubborn like that. I'll keep you posted.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Book Report

I was on a lucky streak with blog contests a few weeks ago and won this beautiful book compliments of Rachel at
I'm so thrilled to have a copy. Thanks Rachel!!
As you can see, it's the new Clara Parkes book all about yarn and it's absolutely wonderful!! Not only is it packed with a wealth of information about YARN, one of my favorite things... it also has some great patterns (40 of them).
And it just a pretty book! Very nicely done. I highly recommend it. As a newer knitter, I often struggle with picking the right yarn for my projects and this book is going to help me immensely. I love it. It's my new bedtime reading.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Oh yes. I am one of those people who has her tree up and decorated the day after Thanksgiving. No shopping for me thank you. I take this day off from work every year, specifically for the purpose of decorating my tree. My house, not so much the past two years. As long as I have my tree, I'm happy.

Each one of my ornaments holds a memory for me, and this I must give props to my mom for. From the time I was born, each year she would buy me a different ornament. This way when I left the nest, I had my starter Christmas kit. The top of my tree contains pieces from my baby mobile that she turned into tree ornaments. My mom was and is very crafty. Giver her some fishing line and a hot glue gun, and your house will be decorated. I get my Christmas bug from her, because she always made it a special event. We didn't have a lot of money growing up, but we never felt that way. I have both her and my dad to thank for all those wonderful memories. I also get my creative genes from her too. I am most proud of this Rudolph below.

Prior to knitting, I was into painting wood objects. I would get these at AC Moore, along with the paint and everything else. I made things for both myself and others. Mostly holiday related items. Now, I have never been a good artist or drawer. Faces were always my down fall. Well, one day this Rudy piece caught my eye. It was basically blank wood, just a cutout with holes for the lights. All the details are hand drawn, with paint. I was so nervous when I did this. Especially the eyes, because one mistake, and happy Rudolph, turns into a crazy reindeer. Rudolph is my favorite Christmas thing btw. Psycho analysis later.

Anyway, this is why I am so proud of this piece. It came out perfect, and I only made one or two mistakes. Which I was able to fix. Everything is hand drawn by someone who can't draw.
When my mom saw Rudy for the first time, it brought a tear to her eye. "You did this face? You can't draw faces. Oh my God, my little girl really is crafty." Thanks for another memory mom.

I did manage to get some knitting done over the Thanksgiving weekend as well. My booga bag is now bound off, and I am working on the I cord. (It still blows my mom's mind that I knit and like it.)

I also whipped the Garden of Eden scarf back out as well. I knitted one ball and have attached the second. It should make for a nice length. It is pretty and soft, but a pain to knit. Besides, I want to finish these up and work on other projects. Also, if I win the prize on Jane's blog Grammieknits this will lead to me starting yet another project. So you see I need to get this stuff done. BTW, for Jane's contest you have to post something weird about yourself. I have oh so many things to choose from :)

Well, that's it for now. Take care! And don't forget...Santa is watching you! But I know he takes bribes.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Step away from the pumpkin pie...

I'm thankful that my son ate the last slice of pumpkin pie, so I didn't have to.
I'm also very thankful to be done with not one, but two projects that were OTN a bit longer than I would have liked.

First, my grandson, Jayden's sweater. I started it over the summer and told myself I'd have it done for school. He started kindergarten this fall and he likes to "look handsome" when he goes to school. Well, September came and went so I decided I'd have it done in time for the cooler weather. As October drew to a close, my next goal was to have it done for his birthday in November. When he came for Thanksgiving I had it wrapped with his other birthday gifts (he was 6 on the 17th)! Yea!! He really liked it, he pulled it right over what he was wearing and preceded to wear it the rest of the day, even though it was unseasonably warm here.

I also finished his sister, Ashley's shrug on Friday. I knit pretty steadily all day... when I wasn't eating leftover pie. It's a long, black, rectangle of stockinette stitch with a few rows of seed stitch on either end. I say finished because it's done except for the seaming of the arms. I'm going to do that the next time I see her so I can be sure to get the right length to the underarm.

That left me with just two projects in progress so I did what any reasonable knitter would do... I cast on some bed socks for the kids. I'm considering starting a clapotis. How many knitting days until Christmas??

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Finally! Some FOs

So I finally have some FOs, and boy am I glad. The first thing I finished is the cute bunny you see here:

I got this pattern from the Lion Brand website The pattern was free but you just have to create an account. The bunny is made from Lion's velvet spun yarn on 10.5 and 8.0 needles. It takes 2 skeins, and knits up very quickly. Very quick in fact. The difficult part for me, was the face. I am not good with faces. Never have been. The eyes or the spacing between the features never looks right to me. This one came out pretty good. Can you tell I impressed myself. This bunny was made for a co worker who already had a baby, boy obviously. I intend to make a yellow one for my other co worker whose wife is expecting in February. They want to be surprised. They already have a little girl, so I'll make something for her eventually as well. Don't want to encourage sibling rivalry.

My next FO was my comfy scarf. Just in the nick of time too, because it has gotten a bit nippy here in Philly. Look at my luscious comfy scarf:

This is the Misti alpaca I mentioned before, knit in a ribbed seed stitch, on 11.0. Very easy, mindless, and pretty quick. I used two balls, and it's about 5 1/2 inches wide (relaxed) and about 5 feet long. It does feel soft, pretty, and comfy cozy against my neck on those cold mornings. It also does the trick when I wear it in the office when I have a slight chill. I am in love with this scarf, can you tell. I highly recommend this yarn, and will be looking for more future projects that use this yarn.

So, OTN I have the mate to my brown striped sock, and I started a Booga Bag by Julie Anderson

I am using Caron Felt It yarn in neon colorway. Grabbed this on sale 2/$1 at AC Moore. You just can't pass up a bargain like that. This also seems to be knitting up nice and quick as well. It's basically just garter stitch, so it's not that hard. I can't wait to finish and felt it.

Suzy Girl and I also took a road trip to another LYS in Philly called Nangellini Nancy and her husband run the store together. It's located on South Street between 8th and 9th. It's a pretty big store with a wide selection of yarns, books, and knitting notions. Prices are reasonable, and selection interesting. Recycled silk sari yarn, banana silk yarn, sock yarn, fancy yarn, all kinds of yarn actually. Nancy also has many knitted items on display, which I assume she sells too. In any case it gives you project ideas with the yarns she offers. She also has a nice sale section too. They bought stock from other LYS that were going out of business. Sad, but it does happen.

Both Suzy and I bought some yarn. I would like to make the gauntlet gloves in the Holiday Edition of Interweave Knits. So I bought 3 skeins of Silky Wool by elsebeth lavold

I thought I was prepared with my new little project book in hand, however, as usual, I wrote down my info half ass. Plus, I am just not that knowledgeable about yarns and stuff yet. I'm trying, but it's going to take time. And maybe a little reference book or something. If there was a class titled "Yarns and info you need to know and remember" I would take it! It will come to me after I make enough mistakes. Anyway, I should have enough yarn. Guess we'll find out. I'll start the gloves sometime in December and keep you posted.

Well I think that's about it for now. It's time to go knit or lurk on Ravelry.


Friday, November 16, 2007

A Win-Win Situation

I don't consider myself a particularly lucky person. But a couple of weeks ago my friend, Knittingnovice sent me a link to WiKnit, the knitting contest blog. This blog is maintained by ever green knits, who has a pretty cool blog of her own. She posts details and links to knitting bloggers who are having contests. It's a great way to browse some interesting blogs and potentially win a prize. A win-win situation if I ever heard one. So I did some clicking and reading and entered a few of the contests.

Anyway, the point of all this is that apparently, I am a lucky person. I was a winner!! I won, not one, but two contests in the same week. I know. I was almost embarrassed to post that. Talk about a contest hog.

And today I received my first prize in the mail. I got an amazing package from Bea who lives in Texas. Her contest on her blog, BAA BAA Blacksheep was such fun. She knits beautiful things, sews, takes wonderful pictures and has a family of the cutest furry babies you ever did see. In fact, the contest was to guess the weight of her "roly-poly" bulldog, Gus. And in honor of her 1 year blogging anniversary. She picked three winners, I didn't guess Gus' exact weight but I was close, and the prize was sock yarn!!!!

I was excited when I found the mailman had delivered the package this afternoon and I honestly expected to open it and find sock yarn, beautiful sock yarn. But Bea sent me a total goody package! I was totally amazed at her generosity. And it was all wrapped in pretty color-coordinated tissue, in the coolest bag ever. In fact, at first I didn't realize there was still more in the bag!! She not only sent me this beautiful, hand dyed, deep blue Shibui sock yarn, she sent me some really pretty blue/green beaded stitch markers, some fiber wash, a set of Crystal Palace dpn's, and a package of spool stockings.

And I have to just say the bag is so perfect for me. I commute every day into the city by train for work, and in addition to carrying my oversized handbag with assorted necessities, lunch, sometimes an umbrella etc., I also carry a small bag with my current small portable project. Lately, that's been a sock or a scarf. And so now I can ditch my usual knitting bag...

for the one Bea made. It's wonderful!! Lined with pretty fabric, a cool button, handles. Much better than my version!! She's going to be opening an etsy shop so watch for that.

Thank you Bea!! And to the rest of you, I promise not to enter any more blog contests. Good Luck!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

An FO and a WIP... Yipee!!

I have an FO!! It seems like it's been a while, and actually, it has. I finished my Falling Water Lace scarf Friday. As I usually do, I had a bit of a dilemma with the scarf. Scarfs shouldn't be so hard... but for me they are. I always dither over how long to make them. I wanted to be able to wrap this scarf a couple of times around my neck. It gets cold here in Philly. But it seems I'm not one of those naturally fashionable people who can always make that look work. I had 4 balls of the Reynolds Odyssey, (104 yards each) and considered stopping at 3 but if I did, there would be no wrapping. So I started the 4th ball and I kept checking the length. Should I just knit until I ran out of yarn? Should I stop and try to get a hat out of the remainder??

Finally, I asked Jenny Girl for her opinion, and after looping it, bamboo needles and all around my neck, we decided I was done. I wet blocked it Friday night. I swished it gently around in the sink, pinned it out on a layer of towels and a sheet, on top of my 6ft. carpet runner. It's dry and ready to wear. And as usual, I worry that it may be a little too long. But it is pretty!! Now I need a new coat to go with it!!

While the scarf was drying I started some worsted weight house socks out of my ball of Paton's Classic Merino which I dyed with Kool-Aid last weekend.

Originally I wasn't thrilled with my color choices but now that it's wound in a ball and on my needles, I like it better. I'm trying to decide on a name for the yarn or the socks, other than the very original "Kool-Aid socks". Which is what I'm calling them right now. As I've been knitting I've thought the yarn reminds me of sherbert, watermelon, old faded Christmas colors (you know, like when you find an old red and green candy cane in a box of Christmas decorations you're unpacking and it's all faded and stuck to the wrapper), and possible popsicles. Mmmm.... anyway, even though the colors are, shall we saw youthful, I'll probably keep them for myself since I don't think either my daughters or my Mom will want a pair of Kool-Aid socks that require handwashing.

They're ankle socks, I'm hoping I can get a pair out of the 223 yards of the Paton's wool. And I'm definitely in the market for some dyable superwash!! And more Kool-Aid.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

This is so true!!!

You Are A Chocolate Ice Cream Girl

Dramatic. Powerful. Flirty.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Blogger slacker Jenny

Yes, I know, I've been slacking on the blogging lately. I do apologize. Last weekend my mom and I went to the movies to see Elizabeth the Golden Age w/Cate Blanchett and Clive Owen (hottie). It was alright, not as good as the first, but really, it's all about the costumes, jewels, and stuff like that. Blanchett is a great actress and I still maintain she was robbed of that Oscar. She makes a great Elizabeth I.

Anyway, afterwards we stopped by AC Moore so I could obviously check out the yarn selection. It should be noted I live in Philly, and we were over the bridge in Jersey. It's possible they have different stuff. And OMG they do! And they were having a sale...HELLO. So, I got some felting yarn for a booga bag and 2 skeins for a scarf (Moda Dea).

Even so, the selection at the store was much nicer than my local AC Moore. They had sock yarn, and the store was neat, clean, and bright.
As far as my other projects go, I have been working fast and furious to finish them. A scarf for myself, a stuffed bunny for a co worker's baby, and socks for myself. Sorry, but most projects are all about me, because I don't have many knitted items for myself. I give everything away. I need some me time. I'll try and post some pix next week of what's OTN or finished (fingers crossed).
I should also mention two other reasons for blogger slacking:
1. Trying to learn how to spruce up this blog.
2. Too busy reading other people's blogs and trying to enter contests. I recommend checking out Knit with KT She is an extremely busy knitter, who is also running a contest for silk yarn. Love it! She also offers patterns free or for sale. Go check her out. And wish me luck!