Thursday, June 30, 2011

Little Boy Blue

Ah sweet nostalgia.......I was searching thru some pictures on my laptop and I came across some photos of a sweater that I made for my son when he was just a little baby. The pattern, which is called Nordica, I chose from Jil Eaton's Little Fish, Big Fish book of patterns. The yarn was a super chunky boucle by Wendy called Unique in a pale blue. I made it a size 2 so he could wear it a long time and he wore it with the sleeves rolled up for quite a while before he grew into it. Even as a baby he loved dinosaurs, so I sewed dinosaur buttons in alternating colors up the front. I wish I could find a picture of him wearing it, I guess I will have to look around a bit.

I love looking back at projects from the past.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Italian Design Inspiration

While in Italy, you can see scarves everywhere. If people are not wearing them, they are being sold at the shops. Men, women and children are seen sporting scarves of every color and type. I did a lot of people watching while in Italy last week and I have been inspired by one of the lace scarves I saw there frequently. It is a triangle that is very long and not terribly deep. The trim is frequently ruffled or some other decorative edge treatment, but not fringe. I saw them worn with the widest point in the front, like a bib, with the ends wrapped around the neck and then tied in the front. Molto eleganza!

This has inspired my knitting thoughts and I am going to try to design a scarf like this for myself. I have some beautiful beaded yarn from Art Yarns that will be perfect. Watch my future posts to see how my concept is coming along.
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

We Should Stop and Smell the Roses

It has been a busy couple of days, with travel and such. We left the island of Grado and headed south to stay in Venice near to the airport so we could catch a shuttle over in the morning. This allowed me one day in Venice with hub. It was beautiful. I don't know how to describe how it can look so shabby, and yet so beautiful at the same time. As we rode the bus from the hotel to Venice, you could see a lot of areas that seemed very poor. It is very common to hang clothing out to dry from the windows as they do not have gas/electric dryers in many areas.

It gave me and interesting perspective when we spoke with my supplier about their experiences while in the United States. They were surprised and slightly baffled by the whole concept of bulk as well as premade foods. For example, my supplier contact cooks a pear and then blends it to make baby food. We, on the other hand, go to the store and purchase jars of baby food.

The United States is all about convenience, throwing things away and fast, fast, fast. Maybe it would be a good idea for us to relax a bit and learn from the Italians to enjoy life at a slower pace.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

We left Saturday evening for Venice. Our route was from Grand Rapids to Minneapolis, to Amsterdam and then onto Venice. All of our flights went well, although we were unable to sleep on the long flight. Even with the lack of sleep, we managed to take a quick nap and then go out to dinner with my supplier that evening.

I have been working with my new supplier during the day doing training and developing our relationship, which is very important when you are so far apart from one another. I swear I have eaten more food in the last 2 days than I have eaten in a week in the US. Our hosts have been very good about taking us about and showing us the sights and translating for us. It makes it much more easy to do thing in this manner. The people have been so friendly and helpful.

Hub took over 150 pictures while in Venice, so he did a great job capturing this while I was at work. Today he went to see some Roman ruins while I was finishing up my work this morning. So, we are finishing up in the Venice area today and then we head north this afternoon almost to the border of Italy and Slovania. We will be staying on the island of grado. I can't wait for the next step on our Italian adventure.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Waiting for Mr. UPS

A United Parcel Service Van (package car in th...Image via Wikipedia
The past few days I have been scurrying around trying to get things done before "the trip". I am glad we are leaving today as I am getting a bit sick of all of the planning. My patience is wearing mighty thin. I just want to go already!

I rented cell phones for use when we are in Italy. They were scheduled for delivery yesterday via UPS with signature required. So, I called UPS and asked, "what happens if I am not there when they deliver? Would I still get my package?" "No, I would have to call by 7pm and then pick it up at their service center." (45 minutes away.) Then I ask, "what time will they be at my house?" "Sometime before the end of the day." Do you have all day to just sit and wait for UPS to stop by your house? Seriously?

Since Hub and I had to go to a meeting in Grand Rapids, we tell Elizabeth, "don't open the door to anyone unless he has a brown uniform on and sign for the package he brings." We get home at 5, still no UPS. Great, I am thinking, we aren't going to get our phones. I check the website, still out for delivery today. We have dinner at 6. Spaghetti, ironically enough. We finish at 6:30. Still no UPS. Hub sees me looking at the clock for the hundredth time. He smiles as he is familiar with my patience or lack thereof, after all we have been married almost 17 years. I clean up the dinner dishes and then go to sit on the front step.

At 6:45 the UPS truck comes zipping down the road and past the house. Since I live in a subdivision, I know he can't get past me as my road is the only way out. Yes, I am ready to tackle the truck at this point (hysterical comes to mind). Slowly he makes his way back towards my house, craning his neck to see the house numbers. Conveniently enough, we just removed our house numbers to install our new screen door. So, I walk down our sidewalk and he yells out to me, "hey are you 254?" "Why yes I am." "I have a package for you." "I know."
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Friday, June 17, 2011

Tomorrow is the Day

Caserta, Reggia di Caserta. Appartamento nuovo...Image via Wikipedia

Tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow my husband and I leave for Italy. All we have left to do is get our rental cell phones (which are en route) and pack. When we set this trip up in May it seemed like it was a long way away. Now it is here. I am super excited. We fly thru Amsterdam and land in Marco Polo Airport. Yes you guessed it, we are going to be in the Venice area!!!!!!!! While I am working with my two new suppliers, my husband is in charge of the camera. I know he plans to visit Venice the first day, but not sure what next, I think it depends how things are going. It sounds trite, but I do want to ride in a gondola, even though I know its a rip off and not what I think it will be. After a couple of days in the Venice area, we are heading to Udine, which is close to the Slovenia border. Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait!!!!!!!!

As you may have guessed, pictures and posts to follow.
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Power Cables

I stopped by Barnes and Nobles this past weekend to pick up a tiny book on Italian to help us out on our trip. Since I can't help myself, I stopped by the knitting book section and browsed for a few minutes. I managed to get away with only one new book, but a very useful one, Power Cables by Lily Chin.

The cover photo itself is captivating, but once you open the book you will be thrilled with all of the tips Lily provides the knitter. Included in her tips are a dose of dry humor that leaves you with a smile on your lips as you turn the pages. Not only does she have easy to read charts, she also provides written directions to clarify the pattern, see the Gilligan's Island braid for that little gem of a story.

If you get a chance to review this book, check out the reversible honeycomb scarf, it is beautiful.
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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hearing it Twice Does Not Make it True

My hub and I have a little joke, if you hear/read something twice, it must be true. In this internet day and age, with everyone copying everyone, it is very easy to meet our silly criteria. This week, however, our little adage was proven wrong.

I needed to pick up Euros for our trip to Italy. Hub told me the next time I was in Grand Rapids to stop by the 5/3 bank by the airport and get them. He knows this because that was where he picked them up for me the last time I went to France. I checked the 5/3 website and it said that you needed to order them and you can pick them up in 48 hours. Hub disagreed. I called our local branch (as I did not have the phone number to the Grand Rapids branch and our home computer was having its yearly fix at Best Buy - don't get me started on that topic) and they confirmed that I would need to order and pick up.

Well, the next day I was in Grand Rapids at a supplier and just down the road from the bank. I decided that I was just going to stop by (which is not normal for me). Sure enough, they had Euros. When I asked why the website and the Holland branch told me they were not stocked, she just shook her head and handed me her card and told me to call her next time. Ha ha!

I did not get a lot of knitting done this week with many things going on it seemed. I ended up with 25" of scarf with the first ball, so I was pretty happy with that since I had purchased 3 balls, this should get me right to the 70 plus inch mark. The garter stitch sections are a perfect area for connecting the next ball and hide the weaved in ends perfectly. Check out how it drapes so nicely.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Will You be Yarn Bombing on Saturday?

Utility pole warmer on a New York City street ...Image via Wikipedia
Utility Pole Bombing
A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a link about yarn bombing, teasing me about leaving my knitting around town. Then I just read that Saturday, June 11 is the first international yarn bombing day. Who knew? The movement appears to be gaining popularity with social groups showing up on Ravelry and Facebook.

So the question is, will you be out getting your graffiti fix on this weekend?
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Just Sittin' and Knittin'

Outdoor Knitting Spot
The weather has been fabulous lately and I have been taking advantage of it by taking my knitting outdoors. Last summer I purchased a wicker chair and sofa from Craigs List (great deal) and then I bought cushions from Pier One (not a great deal, but they were cute and I had a gift certificate). It is now my summer knitting spot as our deck is covered and provided me the shade I need but still gives me the view. If you haven't guessed from all of my pictures, I am R E A L L Y fair skinned and I burn very easily so shade is a must for me. But I digress; I started a new knitting project, kind of a repeat project, but a scarf pattern that I simply love the look of, it is the gathered scarf by Skacel and this will be scarf #3. Seriously. I am using Panama by Rowan. It is a blend of viscose, cotton and linen, which when combined make a silky and drapy fabric that feels lovely. I can't wait to wear it.

Me and My Twin Brother
I celebrated my birthday with my family this weekend, we try to group the family birthdays for efficiency. The lucky birthday girl got a gift certificate to my LYS Lizzie Ann's Wool Company. I sense more yarn in my not to distant future. . . . .
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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ladders Handwarmers

The Ladders Handwarmers pattern was inspired by a desire to have warm hands but to not look overly bulky at the same time. The ladders lace pattern balances a delicate look and a chunky yarn.

Size: 8" x 6 1/2" (Before sewing)

Loops and Threads - Dewdrops color smokey quartz - 2 balls

US Size 13/Metric 9mm
crochet hook to weave in ends
needle and thread

K - knit
P - purl
YO - yarn over
KBL - knit thru back loop
PBL - purl thru back loop
K2 - knit 2 together
SKP - slip 1 stitch knit wise, knit 1 stitch, pass slipped stitch over

Ladders Pattern (Multiple of 7 stitches):
Row 1: K, SKP, YO, KBL, YO, K2, K, repeat across row
Row 2: P 3 stitches, PBL, P 3 stitches, repeat across row
Repeat rows 1 and 2

Cast on 14 stitches
Work Ladders Pattern until piece measures 8" (or desired width of hand). Finish on row 1.
Bind off in pattern on row 2.
Pick up 24 stitches along one side and work K 2 P 2 ribbing for 1"
Bind off in pattern.

Weave in ends and sew side seam, leaving thumb opening 1" down from the top.

Work 1 round of single crochet around thumb opening if desired.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Snowflake Beret

After having whipped out the Plymouth beret earlier in the year, I decided to try the pattern with a different yarn. I had some Yarn Bee Snowflake Wool Blend in my stash, so I decided to go with it. It is a beautiful mix of blues (my favorite color) and burgundies and the color is aptly named berries. I used a 6 needle and after having completed it, I think if I made it again I would go with a 7 to give it a touch more drapiness (if that is even a word). Maybe I was just knitting tightly because I was using dps. It reminds me of a rasta hat. Kinda.

After complaining for weeks on end that it was too cold, it suddenly got R E A L L Y hot. So we had to turn on the air conditioning. Tonight was the first time this week that we could open the windows. So the kitties are really enjoying the new storm door and their awesome view of the happenings in the front yard. Who knew life was so exciting up front??