Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back Together Now

Well, I finished the back of my shrug, I got a little confused with the directions around which chart to follow and when to start what chart as it didn't seem super clear to me, but it could have been the fact that I was working on it in the evening when I tend to get a little delirious as it gets closer to beddy bye time. In these types of situations, I always look towards my good friend, Common Sense, to give me a little guidance. She rarely steers me wrong and this time was no different. Pattern crisis averted.

I tried on my shrug tonight but I thought I would save you the agony of seeing it worn with a lime green Mackinac Island tshirt. Just typing the words makes me shudder again. I know I am no fashion maven, but even I know it clashes horribly.



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Monday, August 29, 2011

Who Wants to Be a PMP?

Imagine yourself on a game show where you have to answer questions to win the ultimate prize and if you answer too many incorrectly, you get sent back home to try again. Well, that has been my life recently and a reason why I have not gotten nearly as much knitting and designing done as I would prefer.

I have been studying, studying and studying for my Project Management certification. Every night I would look longingly at my current knitting project and then turn my back and head upstairs to the spare bedroom which is my official study room and has been for about a year now. Let me tell you the Project Management Book of Knowledge is not especially exciting reading, as you can tell by its scintillating title. The Heldman book is much better, but of course you HAVE to read the PMBOK. I really enjoyed the audio of Heldman's book as it let me sneak in a few rows of knitting every night and in the car.

So, the point of the post (I know many were wondering) is that today was the day. Today I went to Grand Rapids to the test center and sat for the exam along with 19 other noisy test takers (thank goodness for my foam earplugs). Today I wished for a lifeline, or even a 50/50 deal on some of the questions. But for the most part, I knew the answers. And today, I passed the exam.
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Saturday, August 27, 2011

150 Knitted Trims

The cover of 150 Trims reads "Designs for beautiful decorative edgings, from beaded braids to cables, bobbles and fringes." After I read the foreward from the author, Lesley Stanfield, I realized that the book wasn't so much geared towards knitting as it was towards having the ability to create trimmings if you can't find exactly what you want.

After a traditional "refresher course" of knitting basics, she moves right into a pictorial dictionary of trims, broken down into the following categories, easy pieces, braids, frills and flounces, lacy edgings, loops and fringes, insertions and additions (which are basically miscellaneous things you can pin or sew onto something like flowers or leaves).

The technical section comes next, which of course includes the directions to make your trim. The really nice thing she provides is a visual indicator of what type of yarn she is using as well as extra information about the pattern.  For example, on the umbrella flounce, she notes that it is an adaptation of a well known repeat pattern that makes a crisp, curvy edging. The big downer for me, is that she only uses written patterns and does not include a chart as well, which I would prefer.

Last but certainly not least, we get to see trims in action, also known as the projects section. I absolutely love, love, love project 2, the herb cushion which features insertions (and uses ribbons) very cool!

I just want to say, Dear Lesley, your designs have inspired me and I think I will be using some of these concepts as I develop new knitting patterns. Thank you for the inspiration!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Over Committing and Under Performing

Well, I am guilty of poor planning yet again. I think I have all the time in the world to get things done so I create this inflated list of things to do. And then I am somehow disappointed when they all don't happen exactly as I would like......case in point, I thought for certain I would be able to finish my shrug during my road trip to Columbus. Well, I did get a lot of knitting in, but what I failed to consider was that I simply am not accustomed to knitting for 5 hours straight. My hands get all crampy and tired, much like a runner or swimmer or any other athlete (notice I am grouping knitters with athletes, lol). Not that I am trying to make excuses for my lack of completion, oh no, indeed, I feel that my shrug is looking very fine and at the end of the day, I am pleased with my progress. To update where I am at in the pattern, I have just started the 8th repeat on the back; there are 9, so I am very close to finished on the back. I had my daughter take a snapshot of me wearing it, but I am holding it up on my left shoulder, which makes me look slightly odd shaped. Oh well.

Not only did I knit,which is an efficient usage of my time, but I also listened to a book on my iPod for a portion of the trip. One of my coworkers was reading the book Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff, while we were driving home. It sounds like a really good read about a group lost in New Guinea during World War II. Definitely an add to my reading list.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Biggest Small Town in America

Heading back to Columbus to visit a supplier for a couple of days. If you are wondering about the title of this post, I am referring to Columbus, OH. I have been trying to get a majority of my business travel in before school starts next week Monday - where did summer go by the by?

But I digress, I am bringing my shrug with me and I am seriously hoping to get close to finishing it with over 10 hours of potential knitting time ahead of me. As I write this, I am thinking I better pack a few extra balls of yarn, as there is nothing more frustrating than having a ton of time to knit and no yarn!

I noticed this morning that Knitting Pattern Designs picked up my free cowl pattern, a big thank you goes out to that team! Be sure to check out their website if you are looking for free patterns.

Also a big shout out to Knitting Pattern Central who is also showing my cowl pattern, I always appreciate the ability to expand my audience with the help of others.

Happy Knitting!
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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Up My Sleeve

I have been making slow but steady progress on my shrug (in spite of myself). Today hub and the kids went to Michigan's Adventure, a park north of here about an hour. The kids love the water park portion. Not sure if you are this way, but when I really want to crank some knitting out, it helps to not have so many distractions and interruptions (aka people in the house). I thought they would be gone until 8 or 9 and I would have the house to myself. Alas, I was wrong. Hub calls my cell at 5 to let me know they are on their way home. What??

I did finish the first sleeve and started on the back. Its progress, I tell you, its progress. Wonder why I don't feel that way? It seems I am going as slow as my internet connection. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lace and More Lace

I traveled last week to the Chicago area and then up in Brillion, WI. We stopped along the way in Sheboygan and had dinner at the Duke of Devon, very cool place and great food. This road trip gave me some time to focus on finishing my snowy lace scarf. Unfortunately, I lost my tape measure and counter in the rental car, I think they slipped out of my bag and under the seat. I will have to pick some up today if I get a chance.

The trip was fairly uneventful until we got to the airport. We were delayed, waiting for some passengers from Kansas City for about 30 minutes and once we all got on the plane, they determined that there was too much weight with the new passengers and their bags....they couldn't figure that out before they put the people on?? So they decided to reduce the amount of fuel we were carrying and follow a different route. All in all, we were in the air about an hour behind schedule. but not a big deal for me, since I was just driving home from there.

Sunday I started work on my latest project, the leaf lace shrug. I had picked out the yarn from Lizzie Ann's a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to finish up a few projects instead of having yet more WIP in my basket. It is going pretty well so far, I love the look of it, it looks difficult, but is really easy to work. I am thinking I will do an extra repeat on the sleeves to get a little more length, but we will see. The yarn is a bright green, almost yellow, but it can be a touch splitty. So far, so good.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Adorn Your Hands

My addiction to knitting books continues to be fed by Barnes and Nobles. Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but I probably won't grow ill from this addiction, so, I guess its okay. It seems a little crazy to write about mittens and gloves when it is 87 degrees outside and humid, but alas, one fine day it will no longer be summer in Holland MI and we will all be hunkering down with the wind blowing and wishing for summer.....but I digress....

Robin Melanson, who also comes from a cold part of the world (Canada's Atlantic Coast), pulled together 28 patterns just for your hands. Who knew there were so many options? They come with fancy schmancy names like Aethelwyne and Rusalka, but also with warm names like Plush and Snug. (Maybe I should be more creative with my pattern names??)

Robin shares with us handwarmers, mittens and gloves and she is kind enough to provide patterns in all skill ranges, from simple one color garter stitch hand warmers on up to Fair Isle, lace and beading.

My very favorite pattern, Chevalier, is a pair of boucle cuff trimmed mittens with leather buckles sewn across the wrist. They are made from a bulky wool on size 11 needles (can you say fast knitting?). Just writing this is making me itch to get started on them! And that isn't itch like wool itchy!

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