Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fabulous Secret Pal

A wonderul package arrived the other day filled with all sorts of tempting distractions. Where to start? Cast on for the beaded hat kit or maybe with the turquoise cotton for a bobble wash cloth. Maybe I should just light the candle and page through the two great magazines first. At least my hands will be soft from the lotion.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

True torture

I found the perfect parking spot right in front of the knitting store just on time to get to my lunch meeting at a nearby restaurant. I could hardly concentrate on lunch thinking about yarn and the potential good finds when I stopped in the store before heading home. But when I got back to the car from my lunch, the meter had run out, I was out of quarters and the meter maid was looming. I could have just taken the ticket, but it would have cost about four skeins of yarn! Better to save to shop another day.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My knitting was put on hold to make way for a sewing fever. First was the prototype for a doublepointed knitting needle case that I'm making for my secret pal. I think I made it the most complicated way possible. After it was done, I could see clearly how I should have done it. I think the next ones will go much more smoothly.

That project was followed by curtains for the guest bedroom. With my mom on the way, the office had to be transformed into a cozy hideaway from our chaotic family. I wouldn't normally go so flowery, but it's what I had on hand.

Ode to Coffee

sweet dreams
coffee stirring
I awaken

That is an attempt at Haiku. Not my forte, but what the heck. I realized today, when I ran out of my favorite coffee, how much I treasure it these days. It's the calm in the storm that is my morning. Not that I'm addicted or anything!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Sunshine Moose

If you look cross eyed at this dishcloth, you might be able to make out the moose head. It's for my secret pal, who lives in Alaska. Perhaps it would show up better on a darker yarn?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Prodigal Sweater

The formerly cursed sweater was discovered by my 13 yo hiding behind the radiator. It has, as you can see, been united with the buttons and is being put to good use by the toddler. It's a cardigan pattern found in the Yarn Girls Knits for Kids. The yarn is Plymouth Encore Mega Colors. Would I make it again? I should probably make another one right away while all my mistakes are fresh in my head and I could (hopefully) avoid them.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rose Parade

Birthday bash day 2.
This time for Ruby Rose. Although she is turning 13, she wanted teletubbies, but nary a one could be found. She had to settle for mom's interpretation of red roses. Maybe I should have knit some? At least this cake didn't burn. The 4yo gets credit for the chocolate sprinkle placement.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Take this cake....please

Knitting has given way to baking today and it isn't a pretty thing. I was not blessed with my grandma's baking genes. That's generally a good thing given the size my jeans would be if I had been.

That being said, life sometimes necessitates baking - and so here is my best attempt hampered not only by my lack of ability but also a disasterous oven with a mind of its own. Even at 50 degrees below what was called for and 5 minutes shaved off the cooking time, one of the two layers burned (even though they were cooked at the same time and switched halfway through baking at least only one burned). Thank goodness for a sharp knife and a lot of frosting.

Given that it's nearly Halloween and this is for a 12-year-old boy, the theme is Attack of the Giant Gummy Worms.

Cursed sweater gone missing

I thought that the curse was over. The sweater was done. I didn't run out of yarn. It even fits just a little big so there's plenty of room for her to grow. I found the perfect heart-shaped buttons. I'm read to put them on and the sweater is....where? I don't know. It seems to have gone missing. I don't remember knitting it legs, but it seems to have wandered off.

Maybe I need to make a new brand of "Reverse the Curse" ice cream. It worked for the Red Sox!

I am putting the buttons on my desk with the thread I was going to use to sew them on. Hopefully the sweater will see them and be so attracted to them it will make its presence known.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Is heaven an entire bag of Noro Kureyon?

It is a pity that one can't have one's yarn and knit it too! This yarn almost too stunning to knit. I'm not sure yet what it wants to become. I bought the bag because it was on sale even though I wasn't even sure what the color was. I figured, it's Noro - I couldn't really go wrong.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I think we need more, many more, PDKs - public displays of knitting. No more hiding our needles, suripticiously clacking away under the table. Knit on the subway, knit in the park, knit on the bus, just don't stab your seatmeat by accident. Knit with pride. Show the world the beautiful things that can be made with wool, with cotton even with fuzzy acrylic.
Sure, there will be those who don't understand. Those who think you can't pay attention while creating socks out of string. Ignore these ignorant nay sayers and knit away.

Monday, October 09, 2006

button band blues

I don't like picking up to knit. But it was all that stood between me and a finished sweater. So I did it. What's the worse that could happen? I'd have to frog and knit again. The collar was tricky, but after 5 or tries, I got it. The button band went relatively smoothly. So did the button hole band -- or so I thought until I got to the end and saw what you can see in the picture: Somehow I started picking up stitches about an inch from the edge. It seems like a rookie mistake, but this is the cursed sweater, so I really wasn't surprised. Having come this far, I won't give up. The next picture will be of a beautifully finished sweater.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Thank you purses

These two little purses are thank you gifts to a couple of shop owning friends for some good business advice. They run a fun and funky shop, so I wanted them to have something fun and funky to carry with them. They are 4 inches by 8. Just big enough to serve as a clutch, just small enough to fit in a big purse. I'm very pleased with the way the colors blended together.

What's really nice is that my lessons from this project came from just experimenting, not from making mistakes!

For the red bag, I used Cascade 220, red, yellow and orange.
For the violet bag, I used Cascade 220 violet and Noro Kureyon

The pattern:
Holding two yarns together, cast on 12 stitches. Row 1: knit
Row 2: purl.
For the flap : On row 3 and every other row until you have 24 stitches: knit 2, kf&B (or do any increase) knit to the last three stitches, kf&b, knit to end of the row. Row 4 and all even rows: purl
Once you have 24 stitches, continue in stockinette until piece measures 16 inches from edge of flap.
Sew up sides and felt bag to desired size.
To get blended stripes: change on of the two yarns at any point.
The button on the front is just decorative. I used old fashioned sew-on snaps for closures - the 1/2 inch size. You could easily substitute magnetic snaps.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Jury Duty

This little satchel goes to prove that something good can come out of jury duty. First it gave me something to do until I finished it and simultaneously ran out of yarn. And then, it was a useful starter for a great conversation with some of my fellow jury pool mates. And just maybe, it will be an excellent gift for a friend.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Secret Pal questions answered

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I've been doing a lot of felting lately so I like anything that is feltable. Other than that, I knit dish cloths so I like all cotton. And, I like very soft yarns. I tend to shy away from extreme eyelash/novelty yarns although I have tried a few. Mostly, I like to try different kinds of yarns so I know what they're like. I tend toward verigated yarns because I like the effect.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? bags, drawers, purses, vases, boxes, countertops - they're pretty much all over and everywhere.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I started knitting about four years ago, aroung the time my fourth child arrived. I taught myself from a book and then took lessons. I taught myself to crochet a couple of years ago. I'd like to think I'm advanced knitter, but I'm more likely a solid intermediate given all there is to know about knitting.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? no

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)I like lavender and other florals.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I like good chocolate, but I'm not a big sweet eater.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I don't spin yet. I sew quite a bit. I also do a bit of beading - making necklases and earrings. I do fair amount of coloring and paper crafts as well, spending a lot of time these days with a 4yo and 1yo. I also like to garden, bike, hike, ski (downhill) take pictures and write.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)I like the Blues, Jazz and top 40.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? I tend toward burgundy, brown and blues and pinks. I'm not much for bright colors or green, although I do like sage.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I am married and have five children, ranging in age from 1 to 13 (14 in December). We have an English Springer Spaniel and a gold fish. I recently left a full-time job as a reporter to work from home writing.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? I wear hats, gloves, scarves and mittens but not ponchos.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Lately I've been interested in making felted totes but I enjoy making a lot of different things. I've recently been making dish cloths because they are quick and a good opportunity to try different techniques and stitches. I've made some toys to keep the kids entertained. I generally lean toward quick projects because I don't have a lot of time to knit and I need things that I can finish before I lose interest. I have made one sweater for myself and a few for babies. I have the yarn to make two more for myself, but haven't been able to settle on a pattern.

13. What are you knitting right now? I just finished a hat and a small purse for the 4 year old. On sticks I have a small purse that I'm making as a thank you. I have the yarn for a felted tote. I am also finishing a sweater for the baby and a doll for the 4 yo.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? yes

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I generally prefer circular because you can't lose one in transit. I like different kinds depending on the yarn. My favorite are my Denise needles.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Not yet

17. How old is your oldest UFO? 16 months old - that's the doll for the 4 yo. I started it before the baby was born.

18. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas as an opportunity to give gifts. Labor Day and Memorial Day as an opportunity to have an extra day off to spend with my kids.

19. Is there anything that you collect? We don't have a lot of room knick knacks but I do have some vintage knitting and sewing tools. I also collect buttons and beads for my various projects.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I don't subscribe to any knitting magazines, although I do like to pick them up from time to time. I especially enjoy those from Australia. I like books about knitting as well as those with patterns. I've been enjoying the One Skein, the Mason Dixon Book and the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I should learn how to knit cables. I don't think it's too hard, but I keep putting it off. I like to try new things just for the challenge of it.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I'm not a sock knitter yet. My foot is a size 7.5

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)06/24

Sunday, October 01, 2006

purse whimsy

This is the square accessory purse from the One Skein purse made to my 4yo's specs. We used a skein of Gedifra Algarve she got at the Boston Knit Out and added some unidentified sparkly yarn to give it some bling. She has already filled it with a handful of pennies, some tissues and a few crayons.

This is what I learned: it is very difficult to crochet even a simple project with a house filled with five children. I didn't realize until I had already sewn up both sides that I had ended with a row of DC instead of SC. I could have left it. Zara wouldn't have noticed and I doubt we're going to run into any hardliner crocheters. But it would have bothered me. So though I truly hate to undo what I've done I did it. It didn't take as long as I'd feared. Next time: I will READ the directions and CHECK my work before cutting the yarn.