Thursday, December 27, 2007

Whew! It's all over....

Until next year. I always find myself a little relieved and a little sad after the holiday madness. It wasn’t too crazy for me this year. We had a budget, and we stuck with it! Nice!
I’ve started a new project! (Go figure.) It’s called “Iceland” from the Rowan magazine #42. I like it. I’m using RYC Soft Tweed, which they currently have on clearance over at Webs. This is some NICE stuff, people. Hey, we all need a little chunky knit sometime! Lucky for me, my brother (wonderful man that he is!) gave me a G.C. to Webs, so I had to go back and spend more $. I got Valley yarns Colrain to make the Ruffled Jacket from Vogue Knittings Anniversary issue (#44). (A gorgeous pic of it in that link!!)

Here’s a sweet stuffed fox I knitted up for Sydney. Yes, he looks so cute showing off my Iceland in progress, doesn’t he? You can hardly even notice the fact that I’m covering him because…he has no legs! Sorry, I tried on Christmas eve but couldn’t finish him. If those fingers weren’t so darn fiddly, I’d be done. Lucky for me, Sydney’s too busy with her 50,000 OTHER toys she got for Christmas. I’ll finish his legs up soon! (And yes, I did finish my Biking Cardigan by Deborah Newton, what a fun pattern!)

I'll leave you with a little after holiday poem I wrote this morning, whilst drinking the java that sustains me. Hope you have an excellent weekend, filled with everything you like!!

Its two days after Christmas, and the presents are done.
There are lots of new games to play, there’s still a lot of fun.

The ‘heart attack in a dish’ is all gone now.
I kind of feel like a big bloated cow!

The house is a mess, I can barely get dressed….
Boy was I a bitch on that night I was stressed!

The kiddo is playing with her new kitty cat.
Could care less about new her mittens & hat.

Hey, I waited almost a week before I spent my G.C.,
To Webs, of course, hooray for me!

Still have some knitting to do for a friend….
I’ll knit some for me, then her, it will get done in the end!

I want to drive to Barnes & Noble, need to return that book,
Oh, but the mall is crowded, I think I’ll stay home and cook…..

Maybe some yarn might find its way into my lap,
I might even take a short little nap.

Bring on the cold! Bring on the snow!
Bring that biting winter wind that makes our cheeks glow!

I’ll stay nice and toasty in my cute little home.
Alone, ‘cept my bunny, my kiddo, my little hanging gnome.

I hope you are all grateful for this coming New Year.
I hope it brings you joy, inner peace, and much good cheer!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Kid's Candy Hat & Mittens Set

A free pattern for you! I hope you like it.
Kid’s Candy Hat & Mittens Set

This hat and mitten set started on a whim after my daughter was a ‘Candy Fairy’ for Halloween and obsessed with all things candy (well, what kid isn’t!). I had this pretty candy colored yarn is my stash, and I whipped up this little set for her. It fits her little 3 ½ year old self perfectly! In this case, the ‘candy’ is actually a cute little stitch pattern with bobbles. Knits up quickly with worsted weight yarn.

To fit ages 3-4 yrs., hat is sized for an 18” head and is 7” high. Mittens are 6” in total length, with a 1 ½” thumb and cuff.

- Worsted weight yarn 200 yds. – (I used a custom dyed Peruvian wool yarn from Phoenix Fiberworks Etsy shop.)
- Sport weight yarn, 50 yds. or less – (I used Knit Picks Andean Treasure, if you use a worsted weight yarn, be sure to go down a needle size for mitten cuffs.)
Size 6 needles – can be straights or circs

The stitches I used are not my own design, the Acorn Rib is from my Vogue Dictionary of Knitting Stitches, and the ‘Candy’ pattern is adapted from the ‘Bouquet’ stitch in the new Vogue Stitchionary Volume 1.

Bobble: K into front and back of next st. twice, sl 4 sts. back to LH needle, k2tog twice, sl 2nd st on RH needle over first st.

To Make Hat:
Cast-on 87 sts, using long tail cast-on method.
Work Acorn Rib as follows:
Row 1 & 3: *P2, k1, rep from * to last 2 sts, p2.
Row 2 & 4: K2, *p1, k2; rep from * to end of row.
Row 5: *P1, (p1, k1) into next st, (k1, k1tbl) into next st; rep from * to last two sts, p2.
Rows 6, 7 & 8: K the k sts and p the p sts.
Row 9: *P2, sl.1, k2tog, psso; rep from * to last 2 sts, p2.
Row 10: K the k sts and p the p sts. (See note below.)
Note: In row 10, you want to increase two sts spaced apart from each other, to get a total of 89 sts.
Now you will start the “Candy” pattern:
Row 1 & 3 (RS): K1, *wyif sl 5, k7; rep from * , end last rep k1.
Row 2 and all WS rows: Purl.
Row 5: K3, *insert RH needle from below under 2 loose strands on RS of work and k next st (hook 2 strands), k11; rep from *, end last rep k3.
Row 7: K3, *MB, k11; rep from *, end last rep k3.
Row 9: K2, *[MB, k1] twice, k8, rep from *, end last rep k1.
Row 11: Repeat row 7.
Row 13 & 15: *K7, wyif, sl 5; rep from *, end k7.
Row 17: K9, *insert RH needle from below under 2 loose strands on RS of work and k next st. (hook 2 strands), k11; rep from *, end last rep k9.
Row 19: K9, *MB, k11, rep from *, end last rep k9.
Row 21: K8 *[MB, k1] twice, k8, rep from *, end last rep k8.
Row 23: Rep row 19.
Rows 25-36 – Rep rows 1-11.
Rows 37-40: Work in stockinette, ending with WSR.

Cut yarn, leaving a long tail to sew up top and side seam of hat, using mattress stitch. Make 2 tassels for each corner of the hat in contrasting color, sew on to hat.
Tassel links: -

To Make Mittens:
Cast on 26 sts, using long-tail cast on method.
Start Acorn Rib as follows:
Row 1 & 3: *P2, k1, rep from * to last 2 sts, p2.
Row 2 & 4: K2, *p1, k2; rep from * to end of row.
Row 5: *P1, (p1, k1) into next st, (k1, k1tbl) into next st; rep from * to last two sts, p2.
Rows 6, 7 & 8: K the k sts and p the p sts.
Row 9: *P2, sl.1, k2tog, psso; rep from * to last 2 sts, p2.
Rows 10-12: K the k sts and p the p sts.
Switch to main yarn and work two rows stockinette.

Start thumb gusset and Candy pattern
For Left Mitten
Row 1: K12, place marker, m1, k1, m1, place marker, k to end (13 sts.).
Row 2 and all even rows: Purl.
Row 3: K 12, sl m, m1, k3, m1, sl m, k4, wyif sl 5, k to end.
Row 5: Rep row 3, inc. 2 sts between markers – you now have 7 sts between markers.
Row 7: K to marker, sl m, m1, k7, m1, sl m, k6, insert RH needle from below under 2 loose strands on RS of work and k next st, k6.
Row 9: K27, MB, k to end.
Row 11 (work thumb): K12, remove marker, k8, kfb of next st, turn, p across 9 sts, pfb of next st, turn, work 6 rows in stockinette on these 11 sts.
Dec Row 1: [K1, k2 tog] 3 times, k2.
Dec. Row 2: P2 tog, k1, p2 tog, k1, p2 tog. Cut yarn and pull through remaining 5 sts, leaving enough to sew up thumb seam.
With right side facing you, pick up and knit 2 sts at the base of the thumb and continuing with Row 11: k5, MB, k1, MB, k5.
Row 13: K17, wyif sl 5 sts, k4.
Row 15: Rep row 13.
Row 17: K19, insert RH needle from below under 2 loose strands on RS of work and k next st, k to end.
Row 19: K19, MB, k to end.
Row 21: K17, MB, k1, MB, k to end.
Top Shaping
Row 23 – Decrease Row 1: K5, k2tog (twice), k6, MB, k2, k2tog, k2. You now have 23 sts.
Row 24 – Decrease Row 2: K4, k2tog (twice), k5, k2tog, k5. You now have 20 sts.
Row 25 – Decrease Row 3: K3, k2tog (twice), k4, k2tog, k5.
Row 26 – Decrease Row 4: P10, p2tog, p6.
Row 27 – Decrease Row 5: K2, k2 tog, k6, k2tog, k5.

Draw yarn through remaining 14 sts and pull tight. Leave enough to sew up side seam of mitten. Weave in ends and give to child!

For Right Mitten: Reverse shaping, you will have 13 sts on your right side instead of the left when you place markers. You will start the candy pattern after k4.

Please let me know if you have any issues with the pattern or find any errors. Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Knitting, Eating & Boobies

Alright Norah, you got me. I resisted the Tilted Duster, lovely as it is. I resisted the Cabled Coat from Vogue’s 25th Anniversary mag. Then, thanks yet again to Ravelry, I found the Russian Coat from the Vogue Holiday issue. Must...make....this....coat. I can’t really justify buying more yarn for a new project right now……but…..well isn’t it nice that I make the Christmas shopping easier on my hubby??

I’m using Plymouth Boku in the colorway #6; the colors are tan, black, gray, rust, and deep purple. Lovely. This yarn does behave nicely after washing, and softens up, and you can see in the hexagon on the left. This is a really fun knit. It’s kind of like potato chips; you just want to keep eating (knitting)! My only concern with this yarn is that it’s not spun very tightly; in fact it comes apart quite easily when you pull on it. I have to take extreme care when sewing the seams. I just hope it holds up well in the long haul.

On a funnier note, after I finished the second hexagon this morning, Sydney asked me if I was making boobies. I had to crack up laughing! Maybe it's because I kept refering to the gathering in the middle of the hexagon as a 'nipple'. Too cute. (Yes, Sydney, Mommy is making a long coat with LOTS of boobies on it.) Ahh, to be 3.
For the main body, I’m going to use the Peruvia recommended in the pattern. Lindsey at Purl’s is ordering just the right brown for me. Also in progress is the Fun Cardi, almost done with the first side, also Farmer Fox is slowly coming along. Christmas knitting is coming soon!

We had a very nice Thanksgiving at my in-laws, turkey with all the trimmings and I made a pumpkin roll for dessert. I’m avoiding all the stores right now; I have absolutely no interest in the whole Black Friday thing!! I prefer to either make gifts or support other individuals who make things as well. Etsy is one of my favorite places to shop online, though I have a number of indie artist links. Copacetique, Cut + Paste, Orange Button, Indie N.C., and Trunkt are just a few! Happy Holidays to those in the U.S. and I hope you all have a great week!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gobble Gobble

And here we go again….with another spinning wheel! This one is (yikes!!) from eBay, I know, I know, it’s such a gamble getting a wheel there, but I couldn’t resist this handcrafted one. It was made by a very nice man name Joel Pellani, and he even made an extra bobbin for me! After some ‘getting to know you’ pains, I’m making some nice, even yarn (well, as even as a newbie can!).

Here are also some pics of a couple of scarves I’ve sold recently from my website. Pretty, pretty! The one with the brown yarn was my first attempt last year at a drop stitch pattern. It’s a great way to stretch those special skeins of yarn!
I’m making a hat & mitten set for Sydney, since the weather has finally turned chilly here. It’s called the “Candy Hat & Mittens Set” since she’s still stuck on Halloween. The yarn looked kind of ‘candy colored’ to me anyway, so I modified a bobble stitch pattern to kind of look like little candies on the hat. The hat is done, mittens hopefully this week. Pattern to follow!
What else, let’s see. I’m working on Farmer Fox for Sydney for Christmas. Other Christmas gifts will be a hat for the bro to match the scarf I gave him last year, and a second Droplet Hat from Knitting Nature. I’m also plugging away on my ‘Biking Cardi’ (Deborah Newton design), and I know I will love this one.

Then, just when I thought I had enough sweaters in progress, I fell in LOVE with this: Russian Coat. MUST MAKE THIS COAT. Now, so far I’ve resisted the Tilted Duster and that gorgeous cabled coat in Vogue’s 25th Anniversary mag, but Norah Gaughan has snagged me with this one. After mulling around my LYS yesterday, I’ve decided to do it in Plymouth Boku, rather than the Berocco Jasper, mainly for cost reasons. I need to find a solid color to compliment the Boku, and the YS owner wasn’t there to help me.

Other than that, I’m just working hard, looking forward to having two Thanksgiving celebrations this week (one being at work). Should be a great week! Hope you all have a good one, I'll leave you with a link to a cute little turkey.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Presenting....The Stranded Shedir Hat!!!

Woo Hoo! It's done. Hubby loves his new hat. I'm VERY glad the thing is off the needles, 'twas a wee bit tense there at the end.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Saving Jane......

Well, let’s see. Life in general has been really great the last couple of weeks. Hubby and I celebrated our 5th Anniversary on Oct. 20th; we went for a weekend away to Hot Springs, NC. I can’t say I was too impressed with the little (tiny) town of Hot Springs, but our cabin was nice and private and had its own hot tub, which we enjoyed immensely! It was so weird getting there after running around so much that week, then we where like “OK, now what?” It was just nice to reconnect with that man I married.

Then, my parents came down from Philadelphia for a week long visit. Sydney and I got to spend a lot of time with them doing all sorts of different things, including a gorgeous fall ride up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I dragged my mom to SAFF on Friday, and it was wonderful! I am definitely getting a wheel as soon as I can. OH yeah, that was my other news, I MADE YARN! It was awesome. The instructor, BJ, at my Earth Guild class was great. At SAFF, I got to try out some different wheels, including a beautiful antique one I decided to pass on. It took me the longest time to buy any yarn; I was just sort of overwhelmed by all the beautiful fibers/yarns/wheels/stuff to buy there. I eventually decided on a few skeins, two handspun and two commercially spun from a merino farm in TX called Plain & Fancy Sheep & Wool Co., really lovely stuff.

The bummer for me about SAFF was that I was REALLY looking forward to seeing the animals, and I can only guess that most people don’t bring them on Friday, since there were only a few alpacas there. If my parents weren’t in town, I would have gone back on Sat. or Sunday. BUT, it was fun and I highly recommend going if you can get here.

It was kind of good that they left on Halloween, since I had to work, then run home and take the kiddo out that night. It kept me from being too depressed that they left! Sydney was a Candy Fairy for Halloween, the only costume she liked in the costume store, and she’s been wearing it every day since then.

On to the Jane saga…..knitting has seemed to suck lately, here’s why. I worked hard to finish up the Jane Crossover sweater by Fleece Artist to have it in time for SAFF. (Was too warm for a sweater anyway!! I saw someone wearing the Lotus tank from IK!) It’s good to have goals anyway. I finished it, and I’m not happy with it. The neck is too high and tight, and it will be a pain in the butt to rip out the seams for it. The other issue is gaping at the armpit area, which you really need to see the pattern to understand this one; it’s quite an unusual construction. The other thing that irks me is the rolling stockinette!! Why, oh why, do designers insist on these designs where half of your knitting is rolled under. That’s one of those things I’ll never understand. Bleh, bleh bleh. I can sew up those underarm areas easy enough. I CAN undo the seams, I’m sure. I just think I’m not that happy overall with the design, for me. I think the yarn could be something more beautiful. Ugh, not a trip to the frog pond!! All that work! I’ll give it a couple weeks and see what I think then.

On top of that, the two-toned Shedir has been having its own issues. The top came out way pointy, like to fit a giant-headed gnome, maybe. Rip, rip rip, I re-worked the top last night and made up my own (shorter) ending. Then onto the cast-on edge, which is too loose. I couldn’t figure out how to take this out other than cutting it off to where I needed it. Now I have a million little pieces and I’m trying to find the loops that aren’t cut to get back OTN. Argh! It’s the week of the lousy knitter. Live and learn, right? At least I got him to try it on last night and he really loves it, says it feels great on his head.

I’m going to make a huge batch of cabbage soup today, for the Cabbage Soup Diet, and oldie but goodie that was revamped in Good Housekeeping magazine recently. This one seems a little easier to follow, since you can have regular (small) meals in between. Wish me luck! I’m hoping to drop a few before Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Black & Gray Stranded Shedir

Here is the hat in progress for my hubby, for my Knit Talk friends who aren't on Ravelry. I'd like to tighten up the cast-on edge, it came out too loose once I started stranding! Any suggestions?? Back off to the couch feeling crummy.....darn head cold.

Make a Lil' Pumpkin Pin!

Lil’ Pumpkins Pattern

I made up some cute little pumpkin pins for some fall fun! This is a great pattern for using up your little leftovers!

The Goods: Worsted weight yarn, size 5-7 needles, either circular or DPN’s
Yarn used: for smallest pumpkin, some Malabrigo and green handspun; – I used their Colonia yarn for the larger pumpkins.

This pattern is pretty adaptable to just about any yarn. I recommend a worsted or heavy worsted, I like the way handspun gives it more ‘character’, though any commercial yarn will be just fine. Once you’ve made a couple of these, you can vary the pattern as you see fit, make them bigger or smaller! With this pattern (the Malabrigo pumpkin) the pumpkin came out to be about 2 1/4" wide and 2" high not including i-cord.

CO 7 sts. on either a circular or DPN’s.
Row 1: (K1, P2) twice, end K1.
Row 2: Work sts. as they lay.
Row 3: Inc. in first st., P2, Inc.1, P2, Inc. in last st. – you now have 10 sts.
Row 4: K1, P1, K3, P1, K2, P1, K1
Row 5-6: Work sts. as they lay.
Row 7: Inc. in first st., K1, P2, K1, P3, K1, Inc. in last st. – you now have 12 sts.
Row 8-11: Work sts. as they lay.
Row 12: K2tog, P1, K3, P1, K2, K2tog – you now have 10 sts.
Row 13: P1, K1, P2, K1, P3, K1, P1
Row 14: K1, P1, K2tog, K1, P1, K2, P1, K1 – you now have 9 sts.
Row 15: Join green yarn (or yarn you want to use for top), K across.
Rows 16-17: BO 2 sts., K to end.
Rows 18-19: BO 1 st., K to end.
You should now have 3 sts. left.

Now you can make a little i-cord with remaining sts. You can also make the i-cord smaller by binding off one more st. When you decide the i-cord is long enough, BO remaining sts. and pull yarn through. Tie a little knot at the top and cut yarn. Weave in ends. Give a quick lukewarm wash and pull into shape. Lat flat to dry.

At this point you can make the pumpkin into a pin if you like. What I did was cut a piece of green felt to fit the back. Then with an invisible thread, I hand sewed the felt to the back and added a flat backed pin. If you do add a pin, place it close to the top of the pumpkin so it doesn’t ‘hang’ over. You could also just sew it onto a hat or sew one onto a tote for a cute little Halloween candy bag! Wear it on your sweater for Thanksgiving. Enjoy!
Please let me know if you have any difficulty with the pattern.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

And then there was spinning….or at least trying to spin. My class last week was less than awesome. I tried to spin on a very lovely wheel that I can’t remember the name of now, and….well….I suck. I absolutely suck at spinning. I was seriously over twisting my yarn until I had gobs of a kinky mess. Well there’s always next week. I can’t possibly be any WORSE, can I?? I sure hope not.

There’s been knitting. I’m trying to finish my Jane Crossover in that lovely Fleece Artist Ottawa. I’ll tell you though; the only thing keeping me going on this one is determination. I love the yarn, but I’m too bored with the miles of stockinette. It’s almost over!

My Biking Cardi is much more interesting to me. Those little purl sts. I have to keep up with in the pattern, along with the pretty subtle stripy effect of the Ella Rae Palermo are keeping me going on that.

But that’s not enough! Of course I had to add another project. It was my huge mistake of asking the hubby what hat he wanted for our anniversary. HUGE. He’s Mr. Picky from now on. Here’s a link to what I’m making for him: - if it looks familiar, that’s because it’s the Shedir pattern from Knitty. Only it’s stranded, for a cool two-tone effect. Found this version on Ravelry, and he loved it. I mean, he’s actually *excited* about this hat. Now, I just need to pray that it fits!!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Dwelling in All Things Fiber....

Where have I been? Well let's see....I started taking a spinning class last week at Earth Guild; it was great! We (all 7 of us) were brought into a room and introduced to "Moses", a Cotswold sheep fleece, laid out on the table in front of us. It was about as close to a farm as you could get without actually being there. I'm very excited about the class. We talked about types of fiber, and learned about washing and carding. We each took home 10 oz. of Moses to wash and card and get ready for the next class. I hope I can learn this!! (Warning: Graphic pics ahead!!) Here are the shots of Moses 'before' and 'after' cleaning. Wow, what a difference! There's still lots of grease and I'm getting to the point where I can card without drawing blood. (I kept hitting my knuckles...ouch!)

Today, I had the chance to go to an Alpaca Farm called Venezia Dream Farm; named so because the owner, Star, and her husband used to like to drink wine (I'm guessing Italian wine??) and dream about having an alpaca farm. As you can see, they have a pretty rough life here in Western NC. She's from CA, her hubby, Joe, is from New York. (David and I were a little closer geographically speaking, being from Phoenix and Philly!) It was great to speak with someone who is doing what we dream to someday. Sydney got right in there and made herself at home on the farm. Check out the great old tree at the edge of their farm, it's estimated to be at least 300 years old! It's days like these that I feel so blessed to live in such a beautiful place every day.
I've still been knitting! I'm plugging away on my Jane Crossover sweater, really enjoying the nuances of the Ottawa yarn. I'm afraid I may run out, and I'm hoping this will be a 'super ball' of yarn, you know the kind, you knit and knit and it never seems to get smaller. I'm also working on the Biking Cardigan, which I made a whoopsie and have to rip back a few rows. Have a Great Sunday!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Blog Anniversary, that is. Well, my goodness, how time flies. Today is my Blogiversary; I started doing this one year ago! Now, I am up to 3 readers! (I do need to get one of those nifty site counters one of these days.) It’s amazing to think back over the last year and all the things I have learned. I can say I’m much braver than I was and I don’t get as easily intimidated by patterns. (Wish I did, then I wouldn’t have so many things going on!) I’ve designed a couple of things and I’m really enjoying that process. Hats are easy, I feel confident making them now. Sydney’s little jumper dress was pretty easy too, thanks to the Stitchionary.

Right now I’m working on a mermaid. Sydney is in the princess phase (when does THAT go away??), and her favorite is the Little Mermaid, aka Ariel. I’m hoping this will be a pattern that I can sell. How to you know that it’s ‘good enough’ for sale?? There is still so much I don’t know, I’m afraid someone who’s more knowledgeable than myself will think “why did she do it like THAT?” when they see my pattern. Hopefully I’ll have some test knitters that can help me out.

What else am I doing? Well, let’s see. I have 4, yes 4 sweaters in progress. All for me. Boy am I getting selfish. The poor Wicked sweater has been in limbo for a while now, but it’s still there. The cool thing is that they are all constructed differently, there’s a top down (Wicked), the fitted sleeve colorwork cardi (Arietta), the origami wrapped odd construction (Jane), and lastly, the one I started yesterday with no good excuse, the semi-fitted (not a cap sleeve but not a drop shoulder) cardi with some great texture stitches (Deborah’s Biking Cardigan).

Part of the reason I’m doing so much knitting for me is that I’m getting more and more confident learning all these different techniques, and I like to practice on things that aren’t gifts. I’m already thinking back on some of the gifts I’ve made and cringe. Oh well.

I’m also going to be taking a spinning class for 4 weeks during the month of October, I’m so excited! It will be interesting to understand the whole process is yarn making.

Hope you are all knitting and making beautiful things, thanks for reading!!
Pics are as follows: some cute shots from the Western North Carolina State Fair last weekend (since when are there camels in a petting zoo?); the "Bainbridge Scarf", a cute free pattern; the mitered purse I finally got around to putting in a lining for made from Peace Fleece; lastly the aforementioned cardi 'I don't need to make'.