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!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Kool-Aid is for kids…

At least it was when I was a kid but now it seems it's sometimes for adults too. Adults with a yarn obsession and apparently too much time on their hands on a weekend.
This weekend was the perfect opportunity for me to finally mix up some Kool-Aid. I’ve been intrigued by all of the knitter/bloggers who've shared the results of their KA experiments and had been wanting to play around with it myself.
The unsuspecting victims…

I bought a couple of balls of sock yarn a few months ago. One was a bright green, which was going to be my 9-5 socks, until I messed up the pattern stitch and frogged them. By then I had realized while working on them, they were a bit too bright green, even for me, so dyeing seemed an obvious solution. The other ball was a grey and cream heather that was purchased with the intention of overdyeing. I also had another potential candidate, a $.50 second hand store find, a 50g ball of cream-colored Fortissima sock yarn.

Since I was starting with green, I realized my options to overdye it were pretty much limited to blue, blue, and more blue. My original vision was a intense blue-green, like the head of a mallard, that would sort of fade in intensity and to maybe even leave a bit of the original bright green peaking out. I had 2 types of blue KA, Berry Blue and Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade. I also found an old forgotten box of McCormick Neons food coloring, in the kitchen cupboard, that had a 1/2 bottle of blue left so I used that too.

I think I underestimated the amount of KA needed to get the intensity of color I was going for but overall as a first effort it's ok. I "painted" some sections with the Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade and some sections a less concentrated solution of Berry Blue.

The cream Fortissima went into a mix of the Berry Blue and Neon liquid food coloring and came out a bright turquoise. I threw my little extra piece of green in there and got a really deep shade. I sort of wish I had saved that color mix for the entire skein of green.

The grey/cream yarn came out a really pretty red. I used a mix of 2 packets of Tropical Punch and one packet of Black Cherry.

And just for the record, I went to AC Moore and bought a skein of Paton’s Classic Merino Wool in winter white so I could try mixing colors. Well, that experiment was, maybe not a resounding success, but I learned a few things for next time. I decided to try for some rosy pinks, some green and maybe an ecru, light brown combination. I did some little test strips (I used Black Cherry, Lemon-Lime and the deep pink from the box of Neons). The colors were feeling a little rainbow-ey to me and since there is no brown KA, I considered my options... coffee or tea?? I wanted to use tea but decided the coffee might give a better brown and tone down the bright crayon like colors of the KA. It wasn't looking too bad until I transferred the skein to the steamer pot and got a little running of the colors. But overall it's useable. Since this is a skein of handwash wool I think I'm going to make either house socks or a scarf out my experiment for me. I'm calling it Tea Rose, even though I used coffee.

So, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and since I’ve got a few other things to still take care of today - even with the extra hour weekends go too fast, in a nutshell, it was fun!! Not too messy!! And I'll definitely try it again. If I get a chance I'll post the remainder of the pics on flickr if you're interested. Also there are numerous tutorials and blogs out there with great details, just google.

And I have a much greater appreciation for all those independent dyers out there. Not only does it take some creativity, it’s a lot of work and just one little oops and ...that wasn't exactly what I had in mind.