Thursday, March 31, 2011

2KCBW Day 4

Day 4 asks the crafter where are they now?

It is a reflective question causing one to look back fondly (or not so fondly) on previous projects and their current state. My most favorite recipients of my knitting projects are those that not only enthusiastically thank me for their gift, but then also use/wear it and not just when they know they are going to run into me, but because they genuinely find it useful. And really, nobody want to give people gifts that they don't want, but then to spend a lot of time and energy to make something to have somebody toss it in a lower dresser drawer is disappointing.

I think one project in particular that I am reminded of frequently is the pattern by Cheryl Niamath called Fetching, which is a pair of cabled hand warmers that I wanted to try out and see if I could really do it successfully.

My good friend Beth, who is always cold, was a perfect recipient as it is a useful item for her chilled hands at work. We don't sit next to each other any longer but I still see her wearing them at work when she is cold and I always feel good inside that my gift was meaningful. Somehow that makes it all worthwhile.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 3 2KCBW Tidy mind, tidy stitches

Day 3 asks us: How do you keep your yarn wrangling organized?

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. I am not the poster child for organization, just ask my husband. I have yarn stashed all around the house like a closet chocoholic or something. I keep saying I am going to organize my stash, but I don't. I need to donate some of it because some of it I will likely never use. Around the house I probably have 6 full totes, not to mention the boxes, baskets and various other storage methods I have devised.

I do a little better job with my needles and hooks, but I think that one is sort of forced to do this because you can't knit with just one needle, you know what I mean? I got this nifty case from my sister in law for my birthday a couple of years ago and it holds my straight needles and my hooks and various paraphernalia associated. My circs sit in their original packs on a shelf, which isn't the best solution, but it works for now.
My favorite tote I own for carrying knitting is a very L O U D hot pink bag from Namaste that I won at an auction at my kid's school a couple of years ago. It is fab for toting around a large project - think project on a plane or car trip. It is filled with handy little pockets to carry everything. The magnets to close it are slick as well.

Last but certainly not least, is the book that I carry with me frequently, Visual Knitting. Its a great reference when you are struggling. I have tons of knitting and crochet books, again just ask my family, if it isn't a book, there is a magazine in the baskets next to the couch. Sometimes when I am really brain dead after a hard day at work, I love to just pick up one of my magazines or books and review the patterns and imagine. Not to commit to doing anything or to develop plans, just to sit and imagine.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

All The Trimmings

So, I have finished my first Project Linus project, the buttercream twist blanket and I am really pleased with the results. I finally decided to go with a crochet trim that alternated double crochet and single crochet and created a sort of mini bobble effect. It kind of coordinates with the bumps of the garter stitch I think. Now I just need to wash it and dry it and then drop it off at my LYS.

When I was on twitter earlier today (not sure if that is what you call it, but for lack of a better way to describe it) I saw a bunch of knitting updates with #2kcbw in them. I sit and wonder silently to myself, what in the world is #2kcbw? Now even though I am new to twitter, I do realize that the hash (#) is used for searching/sorting, I get that, but what is this 2kcbw? Well, the best way to find out anything is to do research, right? So, after checking out a few fellow crafter's blogs, I get my answer. Its the 2nd annual knitting and crochet blog week. Who knew? Apparently not me, but I am remedying the situation right away.
Day 2 asks the following of knitters and crocheters:
“Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year.”

This year I did a lot of work with new and different fibers instead of sticking with your everyday 100% wool. I tried mohair, alpaca, silk, linen and some unique poly fibers, just to name a few. Working with these different fibers taught me a lot more about understanding drape and what needles to use with what fiber.

This is the first year that I have ever written my own patterns and I am finding it very exciting to come up with ideas and share them on Ravelry and on my blog.

Technique wise, I learned the infamous i cord, I know it sounds silly, but I really never made one before I had to on a pattern for a Christmas ornament. And it really wasn't very hard. I also got some reinforcement  that it is ok to modify a pattern if it isn't quite right for your body, I used to always want to follow the pattern to a T.

I guess all in all I have gained confidence in my abilities and that lets me try things out without worrying so much if it is going to work out or not. Frogging is not the end of the world, it is all a learning experience.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Cover Up

In spite of myself, I am making progress on the buttercream twist blanket. Two strands makes things move along a lot quicker than one. I could get hooked on this. The really cool thing is that it finally really looks like a blanket and not just a really short scarf. Only two more twists (cables) to go and then onto the trim. Did I mention buttercream makes me crave cupcakes? Sigh.....

It is sounding like there might be a trip in my future to Italy to visit some more suppliers, how cool is that? I have never been there before, but I have to imagine it will be very memorable, photo worthy and did I mention knitting opportunities? S W E E T!  There I go, thinking about treats again. I guess I can use this focus on desserts to inspire my cooking/baking creativity since I am supposed to bring dessert to my parents house Saturday night.
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

One Ball Does it All

I don't know about you, but there are times I want a project to knit that does not take all kinds of time. I just need a quick result from my work. The book One Ball Knits: Purses by Fatema, Khadija and Hajera Habibur-Rahman helps to meet that need.

These three sisters did a fabulous job putting together 20 patterns of some really unique purse designs. They are broken into the four seasons, with five designs per season. In addition, they provide a skill rating from beginner to experienced. In addition, they use various types of hardware to create professional looks. The majority of purses to require a lining, so you will need to get out the sewing machine to finish these up, however, they do devote a page to explaining the ins and outs of creating a lining.

I have fallen in love with the blue spruce tote sporting the honeycomb pattern and the classic pumpkin satchel. Although, I don't own anything orange, so that might not be the best choice for my wardrobe. Ah well, there are plenty of colors out there for me to choose from.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Unbelievable For March

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

We were given a rare treat today, weather in the 60s!!!!! When I was driving home from work, the thermometer read 66 degrees. I can't remember the last time we were in the 60s, but in my mind, it was too long ago.

I have been chipping away at the butter cream twist blanket. I am thinking about adding a crochet edge after I am done knitting. Maybe even a contrasting color......

Monday, March 14, 2011

Twisting the Night Away

I started on my Project Linus project yesterday. The Cos Cob Throw pattern by Lion Brand Yarn is really simple and goes quickly as the yarn is doubled and the size 13 needles helps move it along as well. I love the buttery color, I had to laugh when my husband called it yellow. Sometimes I think that poor man only knows primary colors. Due to my distinct dislike for sewing, I opted to make the blanket in one piece. This will make me a happy woman when I bind off.
Aren't those cables so C U S H Y looking? I just might make one of these for my house at some point. Although, I just found a free pattern for spiral knit hand warmers, so those might be next.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Going, Going, Almost Gone

The weather was beautiful on our trip down to the Chicago area yesterday. The sun was shining and it was a balmy 55 degrees, so I got to go without my coat! That hasn't happened in a long while. It was a great time to focus on the charcoal ladder rib vest for my husband. After much deliberation, I decided to make the front a larger size width wise, but will keep the length dimensions all the same to match the back. This should provide a little more ease.

After our supplier visit, they took us to lunch at a family owned Italian Restaurant in Itasca, IL called DeMarco's. I decided to go with one of the daily specials, tortellini in white sauce. It was so, so good. Even thinking about it now makes me salivate! The service was great as well. If you are ever in the area, make certain you stop by as it is a gem that is well worth it.

When I got home, the first thing I noticed was that we still had some snow here (there was none in Chicago) and second was that my bulbs are coming up. I think spring is finally here to stay.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Waves Without Embellishment

Finished the scarf, just in time for my trip. I took a few shots pre blocking, washing or embellishing. I think it looks pretty cool. It will be interesting to see how much blocking opens up the pattern.

Tomorrow morning we leave for a new supplier visit to Chicago. I checked the weather and I am positive it isn't going to snow, so we should not get stranded, but crossing my fingers for luck!

Since I am concerned about the width of the ladder rib vest, I am thinking to make the front a bigger size than the back, that should give the vest a little more ease. If worse comes to worse, I can add ribbed panels along the sides, but lets hope we don't need to go there.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The End Is Near

I did not get a lot of knitting done so far this week, hair appointment on Tuesday night and Ash Wednesday Service at Church. Yet, the end appears to be in sight. I am contemplating a beaded trim on the ends. This would be something very new for me. Maybe I better wear it a few times and see if I want the enhancement of beads or not. I hate when I waffle.

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Making Waves

I am thankful I have the stress relieving therapy known as knitting. Yes, it isn't cheap (as my husband will attest), but it is very effective (unless you find a mistake in a lace pattern multiple rows down, but that is a different story). Yesterday, I really needed this therapy. I am impatient. There I admitted it. I was waiting for a phone call from the doctor's office yesterday. I spoke with them at 9 am. They told me I would get a call back by the end of the day. I wondered, "Are there really that many people you need to call back today??" At 4:53 I was chomping at the bit with no call yet. These people close at 5:00. So, I broke down and called them back. I got the answer I was waiting for, but really people, can't you just call me back?

Thank goodness I had my waves of cool water scarf to soothe me. I made some serious progress yesterday. Even without blocking the pattern shows up distinctly. Maybe I will finish this weekend!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Great Finish

It is amazing what getting caught up at work can do for you mentally. I canceled a 2 1/2 hour meeting this morning and dug in and went thru all of the papers on my desk that had been stacking up. It felt incredibly satisfying to have a clean desk. Not only that, but I had a great lunch at Boatwerks in Holland, MI a really cool restaurant on Lake Macatawa. I had the turkey cranberry reuben, it was AWESOME. The cranberry walnut bread definitely "made" the sandwich.

Last but not least, I finish the day working on my new scarf. And enjoy the setting sun. Happy Wednesday.
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