Wednesday, June 30, 2010

So Close and Yet So Far

Why does going to get your hair done at the salon make you feel so good? I just got back from my monthly therapy cut and style and I feel rejuvinated. Just hours earlier, I was feeling sort of grumpy and tired. So, if I went every day, would I be even happier? Possibly, but I would also be broke with no money for yarn and no hair, which is positively depressing. I will let you wonder which is worse..... I think I will stick to 1x a month and call it good.

The hyacinth tank is coming along nicely, the top 5 rows of crochet are completed and I just need to finish the straps.

I caught myself looking at patterns today, found a really cool man's houndstooth scarf on the Cascade website. I can sense making this in the future for my husband or maybe dad. It would be a great Christmas gift.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Blueberry Berroco

On with my blue and berry theme, I got this free pattern for Ditto from Berroco. Quick knit and cool in cotton. The reverse rib really stands out.

I made almost zero progress on the hyacinth tank last night, ok, its not quite that dire, but I did not get started on the crochet as I had hoped. It seems there just are not enough hours in the day. Well, I will keep plugging away.

I picked up my ring from Post's (it was being resized) and I was SO tempted to stop at Lizzie Ann's but I controlled myself.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunshine Day

It is a beautiful and sunny June day and looking outside, I can't help but feel happy. The flowers are blooming and the bees are buzzing and the ice cream truck just drove past. What more could anyone want? I wanted to show off my "new" outside knitting spot.


I bought a gently used wicker loveseat and chair from a family in Zeeland and replaced the cushions with new ones from Pier One using my birthday gift card (thanks mom). Yes that is my hyacinth tank just getting ready to be picked up for the evening knit. As I type, I am getting ready to cast off and pick up the hook. The end is getting very near now, I can feel it.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Its the Berries

Had a good visit to the mother-in-laws. Although, why she keeps her air conditioning set at 81 degrees is a mystery I will never solve. We picked black and red raspberries for her to freeze and make into pies. The bushes were very heavy with fruit. All I could think as I was dropping berries into my butter dish was that mixed berries would be a really cool name and color for sock yarn.

Just about finished with the body of the hyacinth tank and girding myself for the crochet to occur later today (provided there are no interruptions this evening). Not planning on having the flowers on the back of the tank as it would look weird under a jacket. Now, the great debate is whether there are flowers around the bottom or just several rows of single crochet. More to follow.....

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Knitting on the hyacinth tank. With no other projects to distract me while at my in-law's its easy to stay focused! Picking berries next before it rains.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Road Tripping and Kids

Heading to Detroit area to visit my mother in law this weekend. Another great opportunity to get some uninterrupted knitting time in on my hyacinth tank. Prior to departure, I have a supplier visit up in Ludington, so I picked up a rental car for the trip (corporate policy regarding number of miles traveled). When I pulled the Dodge Magnum into the garage, my young son looked on horrified. "Where is the van?" He asked. "Oh, its at work, I will pick it up tomorrow afternoon before we leave for Detroit," I responded. "Good, because I want to watch a movie on the way to grandmas," he points out as he walks away.

I remember the days when my family had a car and the three kids rode in the back all together AND we didn't have the ability to even watch a movie during car travel. We had to keep ourselves entertained......sigh...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chunky Ribs and Ruffles

I dislike the name of this pattern, but I have not taken the initiative to come up with anything better, so I will stop with the bashing. Saw this yarn at Lizzie Ann's and I really liked the feel of it. It is Misti Alpaca and the color is one of my favs.....you guessed it.....blue. On their website, they offer this free pattern and the shop actually had copies available for those who purchased the yarn (thanks for saving me the time of searching). I wore this scarf all winter and it kept me extremely warm, which is hard to do in MI. I think it would make a really cool wrap.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cable Gal


Did I mention blue is my favorite color? It is. Consequently, I make a lot of blue things. While magazine browsing (wasting yet more time), I saw a pattern I simply loved. Called Dorm Princess on the cover of Knitter's Magazine winter 2009. It was designed by Lisa S. Rowe. So I got myself some wool and started knitting. I am surprised how easy this was and I get a lot of complements. The big question I have is why are hand knits so much warmer than store bought? I can't believe the difference. If you know why, please let me know.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This is a test post from my bb.

Switch Knitting

Today I am switch knitting. Back getting a few more rows in on the mulberry bramble purse before I start on the back of the hyacinth tank. For some reason, casting on requires a bit of focus for me (who knew counting could be so difficult???). Just finished getting distracted inspired by patterns on Ravelry. I love that feature where you can see what other people have made with your pattern. It gives me a lot of ideas and hope. Some days I need more of that than others. Today might be one of those days......

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ripping Back and Liking It


Yesterday was not a good day. I  mean, it was a good Father's Day, but working on the hyacinth tank was not going well a disaster. At one point, I almost put it in the (gasp) hibernate pile until I could calm down and make better sense of it. I know, you are thinking, what went so very wrong? Well, I finished the knit body portion and whipped out my crochet hook and cotton to start working on the upper portion and arms. It was a disaster. First, I could not follow the written directions very well. Second, my gauge was off, largely due to my frustration, and third, I could not make heads nor tails of the chart. It had no key so how the heck was I supposed to know what was what? So, I took a deep breath and ripped back all of the crochet and started over again. It sure isn't perfect, but then again, how is anyone besides me going to know? If you see me in my tank, please don't mention it, thanks.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

We made a t shirt for my husband and he was thrilled. It was easy, just take a picture and print onto iron on paper and then iron onto a t shirt. After it cools, decorate with fabric paints.


I love this quote by Anne Geddes:


Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.


For all the dads in the world, enjoy your special day.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ignoring, Ditching or Hibernating

I happen to be a knitting/crafter with the attention span of a gnat. I see another pattern or another yarn and I am fickle. I turn towards that which is new. While I am frustrated with this behavior, I can't seem to stop it. If I was a psychologist (and I am certainly not as I can barely spell it), I would diagnose myself as having enjoyment in starting things vs finishing things. My friends at Ravelry have a charming and politically correct term for this behavior that I am seriously thinking about adopting. Its called hibernating. Do you like it? I love it. It almost sounds like my knitting is all snug and warm and sleeping comfortably while above ground I am moving from project to project.

Here is my latest hibernation (and I sound proud of this???). This is a reversible blanket that I am justifying its hibernation since I don't need a blanket in the summer. What is hibernating at your house?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Heading North This Time

Back on my weekly jaunt to Ludington, so heading north this time instead of south. My husband came up with the great idea to meet me up in Ludington during one of these trips and spend the rest of the day vacationing at the beach......sounds like a GREAT idea to me!

Kind of tired after two long days of travel to OH AND the boys would not stop at any LYS (not that I was really surprised). Who knew they could talk about tractors for 5 1/2 hours? Well, I guess it is no different than me and my yarn.

I have about 9" done on the front of the hyacinth tank, making progress.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Looking Forward

Had a successful day yesterday with my supplier and we enjoyed dinner with them at the Clarmont Restaurant just south of town. It was a little bizarre to see a hearse in the parking lot, but hey, I guess those guys need to eat too?? There was a cute bulldog in the front seat, but I did not let his sweet face mislead me into reaching in and petting him. No sense getting my fingers bitten.....how would I knit then?

Speaking of knitting, I am making good progress on the hyacinth tank AND I got to have the back seat of the van all to myself (BONUS!)

While it has been a good trip, I am looking forward to being home with the family (and my cats). Do you look forward to coming home after travel too?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On the Road Again

Heading out this morning to Columbus OH on business. Thank goodness we are renting a Dodge Caravan (well there are five of us going) so I can sit in the back and knit comfortably there and back. Gotta remember to do my stretches. What a great opportunity to work on my hyacinth tank.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hyacinth Tank is Started

Started work on my new project (I know, I know, I am not done with 5 other projects in my basket yet). For the body of the tank, I am using Bernat Satin Sport in Lilac Lace. Since I don't like the name they chose, I am renaming it to hyacinth. The crocheted trim will be in Bernat Cotton Tots Lovely Lilac. I must have been in a purple mood this week since I bought a new tee while shopping this weekend that is purple and I wore purple yesterday to work.

The body is easy easy easy, row 1 is a simple p1, k1 with row 2 knit all. Kind of an interesting looking rib pattern.


This will be perfect for my car ride to OH later this week, for those wondering, I am not driving, I am riding. I like to multi task but not at the risk of other's lives.

Monday, June 14, 2010

When Twisting is No Longer Fun

Last night after dinner, we played Twister as a family. Even Georgie wanted to get involved. You know the game, right hand yellow, left hand blue, left foot green and right foot red. Suddenly, everyone goes down in a twist of limbs. Typically there is much laughter involved. Even though I had not played in years, I found myself smiling and really enjoying it. It seems genuine family fun, as opposed to picking up the Wii remote and mindlessly shooting at things. (But that is a different topic).

So when is twisting no fun? How about while you are knitting directly from your skein and suddenly you have a HUGE tangled knot. I admit that many times frequently I do not roll my yarn into balls before I begin my project - there I said it outloud. Isn't the first step to solving a problem admitting you have one in the first place?

My absolute WORST WORST WORST experience was knitting directly from a hank of wool. I know, I know, I can almost hear the collective GASP across the internet. It took me 2 hours to clean up that mess. My husband, bless his dear heart, wondered why I didn't just cut the yarn and start with a new ball. Are you kidding me? First, that would be a waste of beautiful and perfectly good yarn. Second, that would be admitting that I was wrong about deciding not to roll. Third, well, that would be admitting I was wrong.

So, now I roll my hanks. But I have not 100% converted on other yarns. So, whats your worst experience getting all twisted up?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Whats on Deck and How to Scrub it

While at the library, I picked up Candi Jensen's book Knitting Loves Crochet. I don't typically consider myself a marketer's dream, but I have to admit that when I saw the tank on the front cover, I was hooked (no pun intended). This will be next on my needles.

Doing the dishes is not (admitedly) one of my favorite tasks, it is always somewhat more enjoyable when you have a fun scrubbie to scrub with. I made these upon a request of some friends of mine who had a scrubbie FOREVER that Grandma had made. Since she had passed away, they had no idea how to get any more of them. I asked them to bring me the sample to see what exactly it was. It was a simple garter stich square made out of cotton combined with tulle to provide a more abrasive surface. You can buy rolls of bridal tulle at fabric shops and cut into approximately 1" wide strips. Depending on the size you want, you simply cast on however many stitches (I used 21) and knit until it is the desired length (I stopped at 5"). There are a ton of different materials you can use to make these, such as onion bags. Be creative and have fun.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Half Way to Eighty Two

Today is my birthday, not one of the epic ones, but special, nonetheless. We celebrated early by my choice (hey why not) and my family took me to one of my favorite little restaurants in Holland, Baja Grill. My son gifted me with a chocolate eighth note to celebrate my love of music and chocolate (not necessarily in that order). My daughter got me another flameless candle. I love those things, so handy and in my forgetful old age, I don't have to worry about forgetting to blow it out before I leave the house. My husband got me a new bird bath to replace the one that broke this spring. It looks beautiful out in my garden.

To get my knit on, I got a gift certificate to Friends of Wool and I can't wait to use that. I know, you are thinking, don't you have enough yarn already? Is there such a thing? (That is a rhetorical question, in case you are wondering).

Thanks to everyone for my special day.

Friday, June 11, 2010

How Do You Handle Mistakes in Knitting?

Last night I attended my son's first piano recital. It was fun to hear the young children as well as the older children and finally adults take the stage and play their chosen piece for the crowd.

What I found really interesting what how each student handled their errors. Some stopped and went back to the beginning. Some went back to a certain location in the piece and then started up again. A third technique was to simply carry on as though there was no issue.

This is a great comparison to knitting. All of us make mistakes while we knit (especially myself) and each of us handle those mistakes in a unique way. I tend to think of myself as using the 2nd technique. Is that good? Is that bad? I think in the end, its just right for me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Are You Hooked on Snow?

Do I like snow? Not particularly, I find it more of a nuisance than anything else. I know what you are thinking, why do you live in Holland MI right next to the lake effect snow machine? According to the Holland travel site,

we get on average 75" of snow during the winter.

 That is a lot of snow for anyone....unless you live in the UP I guess. So why do I stay? Well, I attribute it mostly to family and my job.Since they are here, I am here too. When I retire (in the very distant future) I plan on becoming a snow bird. Until then, I will enjoy my snow (from the windows).

To celebrate my love of snow, here is my crochet snowflake ornament. I do recommend to make these with a bigger hook the first time to make certain that you get the pattern (maybe its just me and my failing eyesight), but I was much more successful the 2nd time around. To stiffen, simply mix a spoon of water and a spoon of Elmer's glue and soak the snowflake. Pin it on a tin foil covered piece of foam and let dry. If you are running behind schedule (as I am inevitably), you can hasten the drying process with your hair dryer. Voila!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shoes and Yarn - Is there a Connection?

As a member of the female population, I can attest to the fact that I love shoes. Not, of course, to the extent that Imelda Marcos did, but nonetheless, I do like shoes.

Statistics show that on average, women in the US own 19 pair of shoes AND 15% own 30 pair
Dr. Justin Thomas writes in his article Why Do Women Love Shoes. Lets just say that I fall somewhere in between.....now, looking at my yarn stash. How did I get to 4 plastic totes...plus a basket....plus a bag......plus another bag.....ok you get it, I have it stashed all over the house like a chocoholic has candy bars stashed.

So why do we do it? Why do we buy shoes and yarn? Impulse you say? I would tend to agree on many aspects, for example, I am still owning a pair of black spike heel sandals that I cannot walk in, but they were really cute when I was sitting down trying them on..........perhaps I could just carry them around to my destination....or maybe not.

My yarn stash comes from a combination of impulse, its on sale justification and I love the feel/color of it. I was just at Friends of Wool spending a gift certificate and I came across some new cottons and after rubbing it against my cheek I simply had to have it. Did I need it? Are you kidding me?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Multi Tasking, Knitting and Frogging

My two cats, Georgie (the black) and Misha (the longhair) love to watch the birds just outside the window. Somedays, they get so excited that they forget they are behind a window and they run full tilt and the window and crash into it. I used to laugh at this behavior, but more and more, I am finding myself smashing into the window (metaphorically).

Last night, my efficiency got the better of me. I turned on the laundry, helped my daughter study for her science test by reading questions from the study sheet and picked up my purse to start knitting. For a whole row I am humming to myself,"I am so efficient, I am so efficient, I am so efficient...." and then I smack into the glass, as I realize that I am knitting with mulberry instead of charcoal EEEKKKKK!!!!!!! The question of the day is - did I learn anything from this? Well you be the judge, but I was frogging that row back and reading the science questions at the same time, so I would say probably not.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cherry Cable Sweater

Last night I picked my first tomatoes from my garden, of the cherry variety. I was thankful there were two or there might have been a slug fest in the backyard over who was going to get to eat it. There is nothing quite like eating fresh tomatoes right from the vine.

The cherry tomato is a nice segue into my short sleeve sweater, also known as the Cherry Cable Sweater. The pattern is a nice intro to cables with just one down the center. The original pattern had long sleeves but I improvised. The first shot shows the sweater in process without the collar and sleeves.



The next picture shows the finished project. It was just perfect for the weather today, sunny but a little bit cool.


I am continuing to make progress on my purse, but it seems to be going slow and I feel that I am getting project a.d.d., especially since I went to the library this weekend and got some knitting books to look at.....BIG MISTAKE! I need to stay focused, that is my new mantra. We will see how long that works for me......

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Piece of Chocolate Cake Purse and Mittens

BIG STORMS south of us last night, but we just got a lot of rain. It still looks quite overcast as I look outside my window in my office, hope it will stay dry for all of the graduation parties today.

Today's project was at a request of a friend of mine who wanted a fun purse. I gave her some of my books to review and she chose the pattern and then went to pick out her own yarn. She went with 100% merino from Cascade Yarns 220, color 9408, a rich chocolately (is that a word??) brown. http://www.cascadeyarns.com/cascade-220.asp

Felting is fun in that it looks totally different WIP vs finished product. Since I had enough yarn left over, I went ahead with the matching mittens as well. Here are some WIP shots of the project.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cheater Lace Scarf

The cheater lace scarf was an interesting project born out of the fact that, a). I wanted a blue scarf and b). the only blue I had with me was wool sock yarn and c). I didn't have a pattern with me. Voila, the cheater lace scarf pattern was born. For those of you knitting purists out there, I agree that lace is purposeful yarn overs, not just knitting on larger needles, but I have compensated by calling it cheater lace. It is a simple garter stitch, with 2 rows on a small needle and 10 rows on a large needle. I got thru a lot of it while waiting to pick up my daughter after violin lessons. Made wider, the pattern would look nice as a stole to wrap over your shoulders.



Friday, June 4, 2010

Ingenue


I love wool, I love how it feels, how it is so warm. I especially love how you can connect one ball to the other with just a little spit and rubbing with your fingers - voila, no ends to weave in.

I made this raglan sweater early in my knitting career out of (you guessed it) wool. Very warm and fun to wear. I got the pattern from Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. This raglan is fun in that you start from the top and work your way down, and when you are done, there isn't a lot of finishing to do so you can wear it.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Easy Peasy Hat in Cascade Yarn


WOW! My body did not want to get up for work today. I can't think why that would be. Looks like a drier day ahead for us, yeah!


Today's project features Cascade Yarns http://www.cascadeyarns.com/cascade-220.asp in 9409, which I call a black and navy tweed. I originally purchased this yarn at one of my LYS, Friends of Wool http://www.friendsofwool.com/ with the intention of making a felted back pack. As always, fate steps in. My son desired a new hat for winter and that was the ONLY yarn that would work for him. Since I am an indulgent mama, particularly when someone wants me to knit for them, I made him a ribbed hat from a free pattern on the internet called the Easy Peasy Hat. It was a hit as he wore it all winter and into the spring. One of these days, I will get that back pack made....

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Medallion Cable Vests




Another damp morning here in Holland, disappointing for children wanting to play outside but for those of us at work, we aren't terribly disappointed.

Today's project was originally a gift for my sister, who wanted a red vest. I sent her several patterns to review and she chose the medallion cable vest pattern. I opted to use merino wool, so I went with Caron's Country http://naturallycaron.com/shade_cards/country_sh.html in 0017 claret, a nice deep red. She was very happy with the results. I liked the results so I decided to make one for myself, but I chose 0004 green sheen. In addition, since I don't like sewing, I rewrote the pattern to make it in the round up to the arm hole and then split from there, which would only require me to sew the shoulder seams. Take a look and see what you think.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

White and Pink Trimmed Baby Sweater


We are enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures and it appears this will continue for at least a few more days. My garden is very thankful as I myself am. My son's teacher, who is expecting a baby girl this month, however, was not as thrilled with the weather, particularly since the school is not air conditioned.

Today's project was a gift for said teacher. I pulled some yarn from my stash and whipped out this little sweater that she will be able to use this fall. This yarn curled terribly and required quite a bit of pressing to make it lie down, but, I was excited with the final results.