Wednesday, July 27, 2011

1st Anniversary--A year of Knitting Furiously

I completed my first knitting project last year in July.  It was July 3rd.  I finished a garter stitch scarf for my step-granddaughter.  It was pink and brown-Chocolate Cupcake. I followed that with the matching hat and its been a rolling ball of yarn ever since.  Knitting has really brought me something I've always wanted:  to keep my idle hands busy.  My mind doesn't ever shut down, you see.  It moves and thinks and ponders and creates constantly.  I would say its attention deficit but coffee seems to keep all the loose ends within arms reach.  My husband and I laugh to ourselves whenever someone answers the question, "what are you thinking?" with "Nothing."  We find it hysterical because he and I have never thought of "nothing." It is completely inconceivable to us.

I was a quilter before I started knitting.  I constantly looked for something to carry along with me like redwork, embroidery, applique', English paper-piecing...I have done tons of it.  Don't get me wrong, I loved it but knitting is, well, better...better for me.  I completed four quilts last year and only enjoyed making one of them.  I really want to make one for my bedroom, king sized.  I have all the stuff just not the desire. Maybe the years and years and hundreds of quilts was just too much for me.

When I first started, all I really wanted to do was make a pair of socks.  I don't know why I wanted to make the socks but I was in the craft store and saw this loom and next to it were the instructions for making socks on it.  I thought, yes, I'll try that.  Much to my dismay, the sock was "Dobby" sized, meaning very small.  I gave it to my husband as a book mark (I should find it and photograph it).  Next I endevoured to buy a book with hand knitted socks in it not realizing that a beginning knitter doesn't start with socks.  Actually, I had made knitted items in the past, years ago when I was really young so I had this idea that I knew how to knit.  I have to laugh at myself now.

The thinking over the past year has gone from "I will make this thing next," to "my next 12 projects are these..." 

I have proof, of course.  I have a basket full of gauges, "tried it and failed," goofs and oopsies.  I have two drawers of completed-and-don't-know-what-to-do-with's, all meant to be learning experiences.  Then there's my completed list on my Ravelry account.  I currently have 10 active projects and nineteen bins of yarn.  Its been a productive year and a happy one. One thing is for sure, I've learned so much and I know there is still much to learn.  It has been and will be an adventure from here in my little sewing room.  Maybe I need to change the name to the "Yarn Room."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Dish Clothes

I have a new friend named Nancy.  We just met last month but have really hit it off.  She's one of those really "up" people.  Type "As" I guess they are called.  Always laughing and joking.  Of course, she has her serious side just like us all.  Anyway she sells a skin care product called Aloette and that's actually how we met.  She was at a party and I thought she was younger than me and turned out to be 5 years older.  I thought she looked soooo good I had to ask and of course that lead to her selling me her product line, lol.  She showed me pictures of herself 10 years earlier and she actually looks younger now.

So I decided to make her these wash clothes to go with her skin care products:


Friday, July 15, 2011

Learning to Lace

I have wanted to knit a shawl in lace since I first started knitting, well after socks, of course.  I have seen some spectacular shawls in magazines and on Ravelry.  So I saw some lace weight yarn that wasn't too expensive the other day and thought I'd give it a go.  I have just the top part started, eventually the lacey part begins.  I hope I don't mess it up.  Better make sure I use those life-lines that I learned with my scarf!!

Here's the new socks too:

Keeping busy, just like I like it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bleepin' Hot

Texas in the summer is a special kind of hot.  I was in my husband's minivan over the 4th weekend and it was 108deg F.  Its been over 100deg everyday except one for the last two weeks.

<108deg F

So you probably are asking yourself, why in the heck would anyone want to live here for Pete's sake? I guess because we never see a negative sign in front of that temperature gauge.  we rarely see single digits either.  In fact, the lowest I remember is around 15deg F.  I don't own a winter coat.  I just wear sweaters and sweat shirts in the winter.

Usually I stay inside when its this bad but today, I have to go interview for a job.  My company is going away after over 100 years in business.  I've been told my job ends August 31. No more working from home as it were. So I'm dressed in work clothes and have on my make up.  It will be 102deg when I step outside....I can't wait. /sigh

Sunday, July 10, 2011

From New Zealand with Love....

My new romance begins:

Just received this lovely last week from Paradise Fibers.  Its an Ashford Kiwi. I put it together and started trying to spin.  So far so good.  I plied some yarn I had and I tried to spin some wool that I've had in a baggy.  I admit I only did about 12 feet of the spinning before I was tired. 

My husband and I decided it didn't look too bad for a first try....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

This Week, Knit-Wise...

So this has been a strange and wonderful week.  I've so much to do but I've enjoyed it a bunch!  I enjoy cooking to a degree just not all the time.  I had the cooking party about two weeks ago so it got my creative kitchen juices flowing.  Mostly I've gone back to things I used to do all the time like making homemade salad dressing instead of buying.  I like it better for sure.  I usually stick to the perimeter of the store where the whole foods are, avoiding the center aisle where the processed food is.  There are some things there I still need like cleaners, cat food and oatmeal, etc. 

Also, my mom has worn out the cotton slippers I made her for her birthday last year so I made her some new ones.  I decided to use a different thread so that the slippers would last longer.  One with more or all acrylic.  You see, its Texas and wool can only really used about 4 days out of the year.  So this yarn is beautiful and only 20% wool.  I saw this adorable pattern in a magazine.  I should have known there was going to be Yarn Violations when the 3rd line of the pattern was incorrect.  But trudge on I did, finding additional errors.  Now you're wondering did she make a swatch, the answer is "yes!"

Needless to say that first slipper was a nightmare and is now rolled up, the cat plays with it, we call it her "rat." She loves this thing.

So I dragged out my Mon Petit Violon patterns and selected the suitable pattern.  Here's where it went wrong:  So without a gauge and thinking that 2 strands of DK would be more than enough to work the pattern which required worsted, I proceeded.  It didn't come out quite like the pattern, in fact the slippers were small.  Huh?  should have been slightly too big, right?  Slightly too big would have helped me finish the pattern which called for stitching the top section over the toes together. I couldn't do this or the slippers would have been too small to wear.  Well, they are slightly tight for me without the top stitching so they will fit my mom.  I also think these will last much better than the cotton one but they may not be as cool.  I may have to resort to making her two pair per year.

Next up, I needed to knit something so I selected a specialty stitch cowl pattern that I had bought on Ravelry ( which turned out really great, It was so easy, I finished it in one evening and then added a crochet chain around the edge and a button the next evening.  I can't wait to wear this!!!

So the last thing I tried this week was lace knitting.  I bought one of those "teach yourself" books.  Its really pretty good.  I made a very pretty bookmark but I can't show it to you because I think Sassy the cat has it but second, I tried a bulky weight yarn scarf.  This is still in process but it is going quite well.  I did learn from the book to periodically lay in a "lifeline." Of course, I didn't at first, not until I made an error and then dropped stitches.  It was too tricky for me to least not without spending forever on it.  So I pulled back to a neater row.  Now, I'm putting the lifeline in every 10 to 15 rows.

Considering its not blocked yet, it doesn't look too bad.  Its certainly a great way to learn. 

When I write my next blog, I have one more thing to tell you about.  Its really exciting but it will need its own blog entry. 

So for all you Americans out there, Happy Independence Day!!! If you are reading this then you live in a country that is free.  So lets remember those who are not so fortunate with our prayers and/or donations to UNICEF, Red Cross, Save the children or whatever charity speaks to your heart.  God bless us all.