A little bit of writing, a little bit of knitting...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hip Knit Hats Review Published

Check out my review of Hip Knit Hats!

I actually pulled the book out yesterday afternoon. It came in handy. H was the only one who showed up for kids' knitting yesterday, which was actually for the best. We had a lot of work to focus on.

First was H's poncho. This is the same poncho that almost caused the poor child to give up knitting months and months ago, when the women who have come to be known as "The Crazy Ladies" made H rip out five inches of poncho over one tiny error. What they fail to understand is that if I made the girls rip out their work every time they made a tiny error, they'd never finish anything. (I mean, really...how many of us would? Nobody's perfect.) And I also wouldn't have any kids left to knit with.

But I digress...

After several months of hating her poncho, H busted her butt on Sunday night to finish the two pieces. Now, the two pieces weren't exactly the size they started out to be. But we played with it a while until it worked. And H sat down on the couch and sewed the whole thing together. I was so proud. But there was one catch: after all the trials and tribulations she's experienced with the poncho, she no longer wanted anything to do with it. She wouldn't put it on. Then, when she finally put it on (over her bulky sweatshirt), she refused to stand up. And she sure as heck wouldn't go look in the mirror. She just pointed out errors (thanks a lot, Crazy Ladies) and told me that she'd never wear the thing.

Eventually, she let me wear the poncho to show it off. And really, it looks great. Sure, there are a few errors here and there, but we all make little mistakes. It's not a big deal. It adds character. And everyone (well, almost everyone) was very supportive and encouraging and complimentary about it. Hopefully H will change her mind, and she'll actually show off her hard work. I'm so proud of that kid.

So then we started our next project -- a hat. Originally, it was going to be for her mom, but now she's not so sure. But it's going to be a cool, bulky hat on #10.5 needles (which will make her happy, since she hates working on small needles -- it takes too long). The pattern is really easy -- and since H picked up purling last week without a problem, it'll take no time at all. She promised to get the main part of the hat done by next Monday -- and then I'll help her shape the crown.

Now that H's poncho is finished, I want to get her confidence back with a few quick and easy patterns. Then we'll move on to another challenge -- but one with bigger needles...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Another weekend, another FO

We had an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving weekend (definitely a weekend to be thankful for)! What did we do? Very little.

On Wednesday night, I hit the road with Barbara. Despite the fact that it had been snowing all day, and people were driving like they'd never seen snow before, we decided to go and check out a new store that just opened. We had to turn around several times before we made it there, but we did. The stock isn't all that impressive yet, but the store definitely has possibilities... After stopping by the store, we hit the mall. We had dinner and did some shopping and soaked in the Christmas spirit.

On Thursday, Paul and I cooked up our turkey. It was huge, and we'll be eating turkey forever (anyone got any good recipes using left-over turkey?), but it was tasty. Other than our feast, we just hung out all day. I finished two aliens on the scarf.

On Friday, we stayed out of the stores. Instead, we rearranged our basement a bit. And at night, I hung out at Julie's place while the boys went to the hockey game. We watched the game for a while, too, but when it got too depressing (0-5), we decided to watch The Holy Grail instead.

We were planning on buying a big storage cabinet for the basement on Saturday, but, we should have known, Lowe's was out of the one we wanted. So instead of organizing the basement, we bought our Christmas goodies. Since we moved into the house last Thanksgiving, we were pretty busy in December, and we didn't even end up getting a tree (besides our tiny apartment-sized tree). So we went out and bought ourselves a Christmas tree of our very own this weekend. We put it up yesterday -- and we started decorating the house. Though most of the neighbors were busily hanging lights on their eaves this weekend, we didn't do anything outside yet. Paul's still working on his Christmas Light Plan.

After all the sitting around this weekend, I finally finished the Alien Scarf:

Six Little Aliens Posted by Picasa

I love it so much that it's going to be very difficult to give away. So to appease me, Paul started drawing up some new shadow knitting patterns yesterday. I'm going to give the first one a try (sometime in the midst of my frantic holiday knitting), and I'll let you know how it turns out...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Comes as no surprise to me...

I love my Denise needles! I can't imagine what I ever did without them. So it comes as no surprise that...

You are interchangeable.
Fun, free, and into everything, you've got every
eventuality covered and every opportunity just
has to be taken. Every fiber is wonderful, and
every day is a new beginning. You are good at
so many things, it's amazing, but you can
easily lose your place and forget to show up.
They have row counters for people like you!

What kind of knitting needles are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, November 21, 2005

Two FOs, one new project...

Aren't you impressed? I finished two projects over the weekend and only started one! I'm amazed by the restraint I've shown lately.

Here's the first FO:

One baby blanket down... Posted by Picasa

It's the Big Bad Baby Blanket from Stitch 'n Bitch, and it's finished! This one is for our friends Dan and Amber, who are due in April. We'll bring it to Toronto with us when we head that way for Christmas. One baby blanket down, one or two...or maybe four...to go.

I also finished another lace-y scarf, but I need to block it. Once everything is blocked, I'll post pictures.

And here's the project that I was DYING to start:

See the alien? Posted by Picasa

It's another Stitch 'n Bitch project -- the alien scarf. I was so excited to give this whole shadow knitting thing a shot, and now I'm hooked. I don't even have a whole alien finished (and I need to make six in all), but I'm already trying to get Paul to make up some new shadowy designs for me to knit.

The scarf is for my brother-in-law for Christmas. I hope he'll like it. If not, I'll keep it. :)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

New Knits on the Block review published

My review of Vickie Howell's book, New Knits on the Block, was just published. Check it out at NightsAndWeekends.com.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sentimental Stripes Felted Tote Pattern

Someone asked about this pattern last week, when I brought my bag to S&B -- so I wrote it up. If you have any questions, feel free to email me...

If you'd like to see another version of the bag, check out the one I made for my sister-in-law.

Stripey Tote: Post Felting Posted by Picasa

Sentimental Stripes Felted Tote


For the main color (MC), I used wool recycled from a thrift store sweater (crafty of me, don’t you think?). I used around 750 yards

For everything else:
Knit Picks Wool of the Andes [100% wool; 110 yards]:
1 ball Blue Bonnet (CC1)
1 ball Tulip (CC2)
1 ball Avocado (CC3)

#10½ circular needle
stitch holders


To knit the base, CO55 sts. using MC
Work in garter stitch (knit all rows) for 40 rows

Pick up stitches around the base of the bag: 19 sts. on the two short sides and 55 sts. on the long side. Place a marker to signify the beginning of the round. (You should now have 148 sts on your needle)

Join and continue in the round, working in stockinette stitch (knit all rounds). Now comes the sentimental part. I created my stripes based on important numbers/dates (for instance, I did 10 rounds of blue and 6 rounds of pink to signify my anniversary, October 6). You can pick your own numbers for your stripes (as long as they add up to 110 rounds), or you can follow my pattern, which is:

12 rounds MC
10 rounds CC1
5 rounds MC
6 rounds CC2
7 rounds MC
20 rounds CC3
7 rounds MC
5 rounds CC2
6 rounds MC
7 rounds CC1
25 rounds MC

(NOTE: If you decide to make up your own stripe pattern, keep in mind that 1 ball of Wool of the Andes adds up to about 20 rounds)

To finish the top of the bag:
K12 and place on holder
BO31 (I used an I-cord bind-off, but any old bind-off will do)
K12 and place on holder
BO19 (this is the short side of the bag)
K12 and place on holder
K12 and place on holder
BO19 (for the other short side)

To knit the handles:
Place 12 stitches from the first holder on a needle and attach a double strand of MC.
Work flat in stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl one row) for 170 rows (or desired length)
Graft stitches to the 12 stitches on the second holder, using Kitchener stitch

Repeat for second handle, working from the stitches on the third holder and grafting them to the stitches on the fourth holder.

Sew in all ends.
Felt and shape.
Stuff with plastic grocery bags to hold shape and hang to dry.

A relaxing night of frogging

Relaxing...ha! Things were going so well with the baby blanket. I was *so close*! But then, while watching hockey, I failed to pay attention for TEN LITTLE STITCHES, and I ended up knitting the border in rib instead of seed stitch. I didn't catch it for a few rows, and when I did, I said, "Ah, no one will notice but me. It's not a big deal -- not worth ripping out 300 stitches."

But of course I should have ripped right then and there. Because I just kept working, and I realized more and more how horrible it looked. I just couldn't do it. So instead of ripping out 300 stitches, I ended up taking out the needle and frogging several rows. There's really nothing I hate more than frogging (except finishing, of course). But I did it, and I found all the stitches back, and I knit a few more rows, and it looks much better now. I know I'll be happy I did it, but I still hate that I had to.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

We all knew it wouldn't last

I told you... I brought a new project with me to knit with the girls yesterday. Just a simple little alpaca lace scarf. Totally simple. Nice, quick Christmas gift. I figured it was okay to start something new if it was something so small and ridiculously simple. But I was punished for it. Before the day was over, I was forced to rip out ten rows of simple-but-still-a-pain lace and reknit.

Monday, November 14, 2005

So...how did I do?

Last week, I set a pretty lofty goal -- not to start any more projects until I finished a couple. Let me tell you -- it sure as heck wasn't easy. I've been dying to start the alien scarf from Stitch 'n Bitch for my brother-in-law. But I can be pretty stubborn when I put my mind to it. So instead of starting a new scarf, I finished the lacy Christmas scarf that I started...oh, I don't even want to think about how long ago. It's all done but the blocking. And I finished up some mittens for my niece. I bought some thread for sewing the clasp on my capelet, though I haven't done it yet (mostly because I'm not sure what kind of needle I should use). And, on top of all that, I even managed to finish almost half of a baby blanket (again, from Stitch 'n Bitch, which I currently have out of the library) for our friends in Toronto. Their baby isn't due until April, but I figured it would be a good idea to get the blanket to them at Christmas -- or else they may not get it until a couple of months after the baby is born, and what fun is that?

So I've declared myself successful in my mission. That was quite a feat, really, since I could barely knit yesterday, after I destroyed all of my good knitting muscles while raking the yard on Saturday. Now I barely have any projects left on the needles. Since I have to go and knit with the girls today, I may have to come up with something small and simple (since it's next to impossible to work on something that requires attention/time/thought when you're attempting to knit with three girls ranging from 10-14). So I may have to start another project today. Maybe another Christmas-gift scarf. Or a dishcloth. Those are always good. Or both. Heck. I deserve to start a few projects after showing such amazing restraint over the weekend, don't you think? I think so.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

And one more thing...

I just came up with another goal: I need to learn to read and knit at the same time. I have one of those page-holders that's supposed to hold on to a few sheets of paper while I'm typing things, but it doesn't work all that well for books. So I'm going to have to figure out another way -- because I don't even want to admit to the number of books-for-review that are currently sitting on my desk, waiting to be read. Between that and knitting Christmas/baby gifts, I'm going to be in a bit of a jam unless I can train myself to turn pages with my toes.

Chicks with Sticks...

Last night, I got to have a wonderful (and well-deserved) knit-night with the girls. Barbara picked me up at around 4:30, and we headed north to Delaware, where we made our very first visit to The Stitch Stops Here (aka The Stitch). When we got there, Julie had already made the rounds and was purchasing a few skeins of Galway for some mittens. Barbara and I ran around like kids in a candy store. Yea! Yarn! We felt everything -- at least once. Barbara found some gorgeous yarn for a pretty scarf, and we both hooked ourselves up with a new counter -- a mini Kacha Kacha. So cool! After our yarn shopping, we headed down the street to join some of the girls for dinner. We could have stayed at the restaurant all night, sampling desserts and hot toddies, but we were already late for the S&B at the Mean Bean across the street. We had a blast stitchin' and bitchin' with the whole gang. I only wish the meeting were closer -- the half-hour drive takes away from quality knitting time.

After the S&B, we stopped at Starbucks for hot chocolate (Barbara) and Caramel Apple Cider (me). We agreed that the evening was exactly what we needed after a couple of terribly stressful weeks. We need to do stuff like that more often. Eventually, Barbara dropped me off at Paul's hockey game, where I continued my knitting.

So what was I working on? I cast on for a baby blanket. I figure that I've got three babies on the way in April (not to mention two that just arrived in the last couple of months), I'd better get my rear in gear and start knittin' baby stuff (along with my Christmas gifts). I'm doing the Big Bad Baby Blanket from Stitch & Bitch, in a nice shade of lavender. And I've finished only about nine rows so far. But it was good brainless knitting to do while bitchin' (and watching hockey).

I had a dream last night that I started a bunch of projects. And I just kept starting projects and never finishing them. I kept telling myself that I really needed to finish something -- but I just never did.

Therefore, my goal is to finish something this week. I don't know what, but I'm not going to let myself start anything new until I finish at least one project. Will I stick to my goal? We'll just have to wait and see...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The weekend's FOs

I've been on a finished object kick this week. After finishing two projects on Monday, I've become determined to finish another UFO -- a scarf for my mom, which I think I started working on back in September. Maybe August....

A sparkly scarf and a stocking Posted by Picasa

The stocking is Paul's -- though it still needs to be felted. I was afraid I'd run out of yarn, so the foot is a little shorter than called for. But I'll make mine to match, so it'll just look like we both have little feet. One down, one to go. I might just make it in time to decorate for Christmas...

And the scarf is a store sample, made out of Kidsilk Night (notice the sparkle). It's gorgeous! The pattern for the scarf is quick and simple -- it's out of Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bright & Bulky Felted Clutch

My latest pattern is now available! I brought copies to the store yesterday, but if you're interested in picking up a copy of your very own, email me.

Bright & Bulky Felted Clutch Posted by Picasa

Project details:

Yarn: Bulky-weight wool (sample uses Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky), approximately 120 yards each of two colors (for another sample, see my green and blue version, knit in Kraemer Mauch Chunky)

Needles: #11 (8.0mm) 24” circular needles (and double-pointed needles for optional I-cord)

Finished Size: Approximately 9” wide x 5” high

Price: US$4.00 for an electronic copy

Monday, November 07, 2005

Review List Added

I just added a list of my knitting book reviews (see sidebar -- at the right). I'll try to remember to add new ones to the list as I publish them.

Weekend Adventures

The weekend started off on a bit of a low point. As we were rushing around Friday evening, we discovered that we had a glitch in N&W.com's newsletter function. So if you've tried to sign up recently (and really, you should do so now -- we've got an *awesome* contest going this month!) and didn't get a confirmation, head over to the sign-up page and try again.

We spent Friday evening trying out my brand-spankin'-new ball-winder. I wound my recent hand-dyes. I was going to start working on Christmas stockings, since I've been getting a bit of crap about that recently, but then I remembered why I hadn't started them yet -- I needed some white furry yarn for the top...

On Saturday, I hung out with Julie and the girlies. After doing some shopping, we headed back to their place, where Julie and I broke down and started dyeing stuff. We couldn't help ourselves. She had some purple and navy --which looked *really cool* as a dip-dye. We only did samples to start, but I can't wait to do the real thing next time.

Once Julie's husband showed up to relieve us of our duties, kid-wise, we headed to Michael's, where I stocked up on Allure (on sale) for the stockings. And Julie talked me into some new lace yarn, too. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but she let me use her 40% off coupon, so how could I say no? We also stopped by Wal-Mart, where we picked up even more dyeing supplies. We're going to have to start selling this yarn soon -- because we sure as heck won't be able to use all of it...

I spent Saturday night and Sunday night working on Paul's stocking. I figured I'd do his first -- so he can't complain anymore. So far, the unfelted version looks pretty cool. I can't wait to see it when it's done! I should be able to finish the knitting tonight -- Wednesday at the latest. Looks like we may have hand-knit stockings this year, after all!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I'm so proud!

Dear Aunt Gerry took home SECOND PLACE in the ugliest knitwear contest on You Knit What?. Yes, I know the woman behind the blindfold, and I'm very proud of her. You go, Aunt Gerry!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Holiday Knits Review Published

Check out my review of Holiday Knits by Sara Lucas and Allison Isaacs, published on NightsAndWeekends.com!

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