Location, Location, Location - Day 5

Where do you like to indulge in your craft? Is your favourite arm chair your little knitting cubby area, or do you prefer to ‘knit in public’? Do you like to crochet in the great outdoors, perhaps, or knit in the bath, or at the pub?

I have knit in a variety of places. Planes, trains and automobiles. Restaurants (one was quite nice - we sat in the lounge / bar area for a weekly SNB - it was the only place open on a Monday night! The bartender was great and would turn up the lights so we could see!), hotels, Broadway plays, my local hardware store, coffee shops, hospitals (as a patient in labor and waiting while my dad was a patient), waiting rooms, parks... I am not nervous in the least about pulling out my knitting and working on a few stitches anywhere. I wish I could knit a bit easier while outside with Lorelai, but she still needs an extra hand and a close eye - she's coordinated, but often wobbly and usually sticky, so that's not a great combination. I tend to have 2 favorite places to knit. One is on the couch at home - it's the end spot, next to a lamp and side table. I knit in that spot every morning while watching Elmo's World with Lorelai and each evening with Dan. I know he gets annoyed that I always have a light on, but I'm at the point now where I can no longer sit still without my knitting in my hands. My second spot to do most of my knitting is at a table with the ladies of SnB - the same one Wife, Mom, Knitter shared - I'm actually in that photo too, on the right, in the brown sweater!

TAGGING CODE: knitcroblo5


A New Skill - Day 4

(Want to blog along?)

Is there a skill related to your hobby that you hope to learn one day? maybe you’re a crocheter who’d also like to knit? Maybe you’d like to learn to knit continental, knit backwards, try cables or attempt stranded colourwork.

There are two skills I would love to devote some time to - crochet and colorwork. I have the basics of crochet down and I'm working on it. I even joined a potholder swap to make myself work on it more. The amigurumi calls to me - oh the cuteness. And the times I have done some crochet (basic squares, stitches or chains) I always feel like you make progress so quickly. Some times in knitting it feels like you work on the same inch for days! Colorwork I also have the basics of, but the projects where I have used it have been in a worsted weight - so many adorable knits are there in a smaller yarn weight. Someday. Right now I'm in it for the "I know what I can do well and do quickly efficiently."
TAGGING CODE: knitcroblo4


One Great Knitter - Day 3

(Want to play? Topics are here)

Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way.

Oh dear. ONE great knitter? I really don't think I can pick just one. I don't know that I could even do a "Top 5" list.

The "Famous" knitters would certainly include:
*Norah Gaughan - author of Knitting Nature - love the math / science that shows up in her designs.
*Jared Flood aka BrooklynTweed - the guy behind the Hemlock Ring Blanket, Koolhaas, Turn a Square and Quincy hats, and have you seen the latest, Juneberry Triangle? Classic style, clean design.
*Ysolda - of a number of fantastic projects that you've probably seen, heard of and tried - I'm a huge fan - her patterns are straightforward and not all that difficult (of the ones I've done so far).
*Carol Feller - I've recently become a huge fan of Carol's! She's the designer of the Necco Wafer Hoodie and Trellis and Vine, both of which I've made. I have several more of her patterns in my queue that I look forward to starting soon!

The "Not Famous Yet" Knitters, but still Knitters that I adore and I learn much from and I have worked with in some form would certainly include (Rav links for all!):
*Valerie and Beth are two gals in my SnB - they know how to manipulate patterns, fix all sorts of mistakes, and just floor me with their skillz. Yes, they have the skillz with a z!
*More local gals, with skillz, include Jenn and Jen - they are both inspiring in the projects they work on - they are dedicated to a project and always ready to help out another knitter.
*Long have I admired Rebecca's work - and then when I actually met her at SnB I was a bit in awe. She's a great person and I hope she continues to create such pretty designs! (She has quite a resume of published designs - maybe she should be in the famous category?)
*A newer member of our SnB is Crystal - check out the birthday dress she designed! for her daughter and her weaving projects!
*Sonia was one of the first people I met at SnB and I'm so lucky I did - she rocks the socks among many other projects and has an excellent sense of style.
*Betsy - my usual knit buddy. Our friendship goes back to high school, well before either of us picked up the needles. We learned on our own and found we had another shared interest. We are a great team when it comes to yarn crawls and making decisions about yarn!
*Emilee of the Bat Shawl - she was my introduction really to a full size lace project.

Go - peek at their projects! You won't be able to resist!



Help a Dachshund!

No surprise, I'm a big fan of dachshunds. I spotted the Willie pattern on Ravelry and left a comment for Pam, aka Flint Knits, to let her know how much I liked the pattern. Then I found out it is a fund-raising pattern - her dachshund, Crush, recently broke his leg!! Read about the pattern and see Crush in his bandages on Pam's blog, here.

If you were on the fence about buying the pattern, maybe this will help you decide - Shepherd Susie of Juniper Moon Farm has started an incredibly generous contest. If you buy the Willie pattern and comment on her blog, you’ll be entered to win a 2011 share in the farm’s yarn CSA.

Jackson thanks you and he's showing his support for Crush by resting up too!

An Inspirational Pattern - Day Two

Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so!

I think that every new pattern / project you start is inspirational - at the beginning, before you make any mistakes, before you realize you do understand short rows or cables or charts, before you get to a knot in the yarn, before any of that, I find I am so excited about a project. I can do it! I can do it!

As I puzzled over this post I thought about my previous projects that I aspired to. Cables have always awed me. A huge project for me was "Shedir" (Ravelry link) - I loved the cables, I loved the story behind it and most importantly I loved the person I was making it for - my Nana who at the time was going through chemo treatments. It took a lot of time and attention and I did it, one stitch at a time. It was beautiful - Nana loved it.
Knitty's Shedir

Lace is usually a show stopper, and usually make me hesitate. Again, one stitch at a time and eventually - Ta-dah! You've got your project!
"Ishbel" (Ravelry link)
Wearing the handknits!
"Bat Shawl" (Ravelry Link)

I think what I most aspire to is to be a better knitter. Certainly there are techniques that intimidate me - steeking for one. And each year there are more and more beautiful patterns from which to choose. I might sit and lust over sock patterns by Yarnissima or Cookie A.. The Bridgewater shawl (Ravelry link) is a dream project. A new blanket. A new sweater or two that fit and I wear frequently. I want to crochet in the worst way possible - those amigurumi characters are so adorable (dachshund, stacking toy, Foamies, Happy day mobile) The pause in those plans often comes not from lack of time or ability, but from having the right yarn for the project!! I'm getting better at learning how much is needed for each type of project, and that solid colors tend to show off some details a lot better than the variegateds!

One stitch at a time... just keep knitting, just keep knitting... :)
TAGGING CODE: knitcroblo2


Starting Out - Day One - Knit & Crochet Blog Week

How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?

I've been crafty for as long as I can remember. As a kid I often went to craft classes at a local craft store (and I still have many of them, in various states of being scrunched up and glue is coming undone after so many years!). I made friendship bracelets out of embroidery floss. I beaded. I think it was only a matter of time before I found knitting. When I was in graduate school I was still beading, but I was losing interest in it. I had thought about knitting on and off for a while, but only in passing. After September 11, like many people, I decided to get some yarn and needles and a booklet, one of those "OMG I'm knitting!" types of booklets and had a go. A great feature of that booklet was that it had illustrated left-handed instructions! I started with Red Heart yarn, big needles and just knit - one stitch at a time.

I decided to make an afghan for then-boyfriend (now-husband!). Two huge honking garter stitch rectangles. Miles of garter stitch it felt like. Dan was thrilled - and that was it - I was a knitter! We still have and use that afghan too - all i can see are the mistakes, the terrible seam, and I want to make a new one asap. After grad school I slowly built up my stash. I've learned there acrylic and there's acryl-ICK. I knit slippers, beer cozies, a dolphin, a ladybug washcloth... I started a sweater and frogged it and started it again (still have some of that yarn too).
My First Knit Project

As I started knitting more and getting better I started learning about the knitting my grandmothers dabbled in - Nana told me about an argyle sock that went on way longer than a sock should be (and that was the end of her knitting) and Gram had acrylic yarn stashed and a few hand-written patterns on index cards. That was surprising to me because I really didn't see either grandmother indulge in crafty things!

My mom is a crafty one, and soon after I told her about my knitting, she told me that she was trying it too. She even went with me to a knit night at a local library - but she really was still a beginner and it just didn't take with her like it did with me. Interesting - she hasn't given me all the yarn and needles in her house, so maybe she'll pick it up at some point.

I sometimes wish that I could say "Oh yes, my Irish great grandmother taught me the proper Aran cabling" or something like that, but on the other hand I *almost* think it might be more fun to be that to someone else down my family tree that I haven't even met yet.



Local Win! Take 2!

Saturday was a perfect day for being outside - I headed out to the CT Sheep & Wool Festival. I set out with a plan to indulge in some lace, find some buttons for a sweater in progress and maybe one or two other special things. I lucked out and got exactly that! It was a great time at the festival and I enjoyed getting to spend more time with my fellow knitters (and meeting a few that I only know through Ravelery / online-blogs).

It's such a novelty to me to see these animals right up close!
All I know about sheep-dog trials I learned from the movie "Babe".

Freshly shorn.

You're so saaaaaft
You're so saaaaaaafft.


Teal Sock Yarn
Teal sock yarn.

Starry night lace
Blue lace yarn.

I actually took care of my purchases at one booth, though there were so many nice choices. I bought from Mocha's Fiber Connection last year as well. The price was right, the color was right and the feel was right. Win!

One of the most fun finds was a woman with a great selection of vintage buttons. It was so hard to not buy something in every color! I ended up with a set of purple for a sweater (that was what I was looking for anyway) and a splurged on the sunflower ones. I think they would look good with the teal yarn, but I'm not sure what / how. I think I would want to be selfish and keep them on a sweater / cowl / fingerless mitts for me, since I would appreciate them the most. I also am thinking about turning one of the sunflower buttons into a necklace... decisions...
Vintage Buttons

All in all a great time! Though there were a few blips in the day. Betsy couldn't make it because of an ailing pug (but he's on the mend, yay!). I made a side stop on the way home at a yarn shop only to find the yarn shop had closed / moved! Oh well. And then, there was the helmet-less jerk on a motorcycle - I decided to obey traffic rules and I didn't go through the yellow light. I stopped. I saw him mutter and then heard him swear about me, including dropping "F-ing C... " Nice. Sure solved his problem because then he was still stuck behind my car for another 10 miles. Ugh.

Knit & Crochet Blog Week April 26 - May 2

(From Eskimimi's Blog)
What is Knitting and Crochet Blog Week?

This is a week of blogging for knitters and crocheters, where individual bloggers will all simultaneously post about the same topics over the course of seven days, so that for one week readers might be able to read from blog to blog and enjoy a community of bloggers all talking about elements of their craft in their own unique way.

When is it happening?

The Knitting and Crochet Blog Week will run from Monday 26th April – 2nd May 2010. This will be the first Knitting and Crochet Blog Week – if it is a success and people enjoy it there will hopefully be more in the future.

How do I take part?

It’s quite simple. Every day between 26th April – 2nd May 2010 there will be a blogging topic (relating to knitting and crochet) asking for your experiences, opinions and hopes on various aspects of your hobby. One topic and a short explanation is provided for each day, plus a ‘wildcard’ topic in case you just don’t fancy one of the blogging topics for any particular day.

Nifty, I'm in!


Local Win!

Happy Earth Day! It is a very appropriate day to share my recent local win.
Unique Sheep Win!
The Painted Sheep (of Connecticut!) recently celebrated her blogiversary with a contest to guess how many blog posts she has written. I went with my birthday - 620 (June 20) - and I was spot on! Excellent. I won a gorgeous skein of her sock yarn, Painted Sock Too in the "Merlot" colorway. I also was given my choice of Knitspot patterns - I went with the "Merlot Vine Sock", but there are so many nice patterns, it was a tough choice! Check out her Etsy Shop and support a local (to me) CT yarnie!

I'm really looking forward to the CT Sheep and Wool festival this weekend. Hopefully the weather holds. Last year was a great time. I am trying to sort through my queue and stash to see what I might be looking for. I am in the market for buttons for my "Caitlin Cardi" test that is being seamed. Maybe I'll go the lace route? Maybe I'll just focus on one sweater? I'm still undecided, but between a rough week with the Lorax and waiting on hearing back on a few other things I know I'll be ready for some retail therapy.

I also need to figure out a project to bring with me for some knitting in public - all my current projects are either too big, at a point where I have to pay attention, or need to sit and measure. Might be time to start a new sock or shawl.


Misbehavin' Model.

I knit a hat and I was trying to take a good photo. I think I found a good combination of a particular wine bottle and an empty sugar bowl - together it fills out the hat and then gets it up off the table. Today, trying to take a photo of the hat and it kept swinging towards me, to almost a profile view. Now, all I can hear in my head is Wendy Williams' voice (How You Doin'?)...
Well Hello there

Hat details (on Ravelry) - Cascade Cotton Rich Yarn in light pink and white, pattern is from TotToppers.com - the Checkered Square Cap. Cute cute cute, though the pom poms take some effort!


Tiny Shoes

Do babies really need shoes? Of course not. They are usually bundled up in footie pajamas or blankets or even if you do get the socks / shoes on, the smart little babes figure out how to kick them off real quick. That doesn't stop knitters from making them - little baby socks / shoes are a great shower-stopper, relatively quick gift, and a great way to use up bits of yarn. I recently knit up two pairs of Tiny Shoes, by Ysolda as samples for FiberTrades.

Tiny Blue Shoes Tiny Green Shoes
A tip towel rack makes a great display piece for these little shoes! They look so cute and elf-like! I had a tricky time getting a good photograph - the shoes here are not blocked or anything, since I would be packing them up to ship back to FiberTrades. The blue ones are knit in Plymouth Sockotta and the green ones are knit in a Frog Tree yarn. I LOVE that green yarn. So many shades of green!! It was great to knit with as well. While I was provided with the materials, I didn't have the ball bands, so I don't know which particular Frog Tree yarn it was!

Teddy Bear Button
The buttons are just adorable. Baseballs for the blue shoes and these Teddy Bears for the green - I think they are vintage buttons, they are metal, not plastic.

Tiny Green Shoes
No babies in the house to model, but I do have baby socks and stuffing! I think it worked.

Speedy travels tiny little shoes! Be happy samples!


A Tale of Two Books.

Fair warning, there's no knitting in this post. It's about books I finished in the last month or so.
I recently came across an interesting website, BookSneeze.
I review for BookSneeze
Cute slogan. I signed up because even though most of my free time where I could be reading is usually spent knitting, I do enjoy new books and if Thomas Nelson is willing to provide me with a complimentary copy of this book, then so be it.

I selected "The Map: The Way of All Great Men" by David Murrow.

Here's the description from BookSneeze: A map, hidden in the gospel of Matthew, is the key to awakening the sleeping giant in the church—men.

Sounds like fiction, but it's true. The apostle Matthew embedded a map into his gospel. History's greatest men, including Christ himself, followed this map.

The Map begins as a fictional tale of murder, deception, and greed as three men fight to uncover the most important discovery since the Dead Sea Scrolls. Then, using the tale as a parable, Murrow shows men what the map looks like, where it is found in the Bible, and how to walk its three ancient pathways today:

* Submission
* Strength
* Sacrifice

David Murrow stumbled across the map by accident in 2006. After three years of research and writing, he is ready to reveal it to the world.

So, the book starts out in an admittedly "DaVinci-code"-ish way - there is mystery about an ancient map that is hidden in the Bible text. That part was interesting - it kept my attention as I was curious as to what would happen next. But then, in the second part of the book you are let in on the secret, that the story in the beginning is all for show, but that there is a "map" in the Bible, right there in front of our noses and it is important for men to follow in order to feel more involved in Church and be more like Jesus. Jesus is presented as following a path of submission, strength and sacrifice. I found the discussion of the map and the path of the map interesting - it did bring together much of the Catholic education I received as a kid in a way that I hadn't considered before, yet makes complete sense. However, the second and third parts of the book lost me. This is where the book started to loose me and I started to skim the pages. Maybe because I am a woman. Maybe because my religious background is Catholic. Maybe because all I kept thinking of was mega-churches and evangelists (and honestly, I don't know much about them, maybe I've already got some prejudice there from the media). While skimming the last part of the book I felt I was being talked down to, not inspired, and I just wanted to give the book a big ol' eye roll. Yes, the author is clever in his presentation, but I think he's the only one who finds himself amusing. Point for the author: He's got a dachshund though according to the author information on the back cover.

If you're interested in this book I'm happy to pass it along, I'll be sticking with Eat, Pray, Love (which I absolutely adored!).

On a different book note, I borrowed a great book from my mom, Art of Racing in the Rain - I am talking this book up to everyone that I know. If you've ever had a dog (especially a "good dog") or known a good dog, you must read this book. Told entirely from the dog's point of view, this is a story of a dog and his devotion to his owner / family, and their life through the good and bad. I often stay up at night to read when Dan goes to sleep and so many points brought on such emotion I wanted to wake him up to discuss! But I didn't, instead I'm waiting for him to read this book. Enzo, the dog in the book, is truly deserving of a "Good Dog" title - he is thoughtful and eloquent and now I look at Jackson and wonder if he thinks in a similar fashion.

Ok, enough about the books for today. I do have knitting to finish up - hoping to post about that tomorrow!



A few weeks back I broke out my sewing machine again, with this box bag tutorial by my side. I got such a thrill out of this little project - similar to when you are knitting a sock and you get to the weird part at the heel and then before you know it, POOF!, it's a sock! It's a bag! With a zipper that works!
Box Bags

I decided to make Theatreknitter one as well. The character of Little Red Riding Hood is quite special to Betsy so I went online and started searching. SewDeerlyLoved had just the right fabric (Japanese, but the shop is in the US) and I must say, I would love to shop there again. The fabric came in such a pretty little bundle!
Box Bags
It came out really cute, if I do say so myself!

In my fabric lusting searching, I also came across these great sites to share:
*Quick Piece Tiny Squares - I'm not a quilter (though I dream of it) and I don't think I'm going to cut up teeny tiny squares, but you never know. Cute!
*5-minute Hair-kercheif - so adorable. And the Lorax is sort-of into headbands... I've been avoiding getting my hair cut for a while now, so I am in need of a hair-taming strategy daily.
*Kiddie Present (doll & doll quilt) - Lorax isn't too into the baby dolls, she sticks with her puppy, but this is adorable.
*Make a quilted pendant - maybe starting small is the way to go.
*Fabricworm - fabric love.
*PicClick.com for etsy - love searching etsy this way.

Oh, and I can't believe I forgot to post in the last post about how the Peep-Tini tasted - like candy! High sugar, sunny, sweet. All the things I love!



Betsy sent me a recipe that was posted on Ravelry for a "Peep-Tini".
1 oz limoncello
1 oz raspberry vodka
1 tsp frozen pink lemonade concentrate
1 pink peep
Mix the liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice, pour into a martini glass. Don’t forget to float the peep.

Fantastic, right? Except, I don't have any of those ingredients in my cupboards! So, I had sent a message to hubby just saying "I want one.". Figuring maybe this weekend or next weekend we could pick up the things and it would be good. Imagine my surprise when he came home with this:

Which later turned into this:
Awesome. Cheers!

Non Easter Sweater

I’m working on Caitlin’s Cardi, a test knit - and was making great progress. I thought for sure I would have a new sweater to wear on Easter (this coming weekend).

Sweater progress
The body is done. Yay!

Sleeve #1
Sleeve #1 was going fine. Except.

Sleeve Errors
I should have purled instead of knit when picking up those stitches, I have a ridge there. I figured I would live with it and position it so it would be on the back side of my sweater and I'll never see it. Mmm. Ok. Knit on.

Sleeve Errors
I have now made mistakes in the rib pattern from the decreases. The pattern for the sweater is great. These goofs are all human. And I'm so annoyed. And sad. I was happily knitting along last night and before turning off the tv I took a look at my work and just let out a huge gasp that startled the dog and the husband. I'm considering ripping it all back (to fix both the rib mistakes and that pick up row) or just ripping back the rib mistakes (more likely). I'm bummed, but I'll figure it out, I really want to wear this sweater!
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