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.