Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Look at me! I have FOs!

Mom is in California for Grandma's funeral, which is starting in five minutes. She called me two hours ago to let me know that she was taking my sister to the yarn store that was only five minutes from our old house. In her own words, "We have time on our hands before the funeral and Heather and I need some yarn." I love it.

It's been hard not being there with my family during this time, but I've had knitting to console me. A few little items for your perusal...

2 Finished Scarfs and an Almost Finished Purse (All stashbusters!!!)

From left to right:
Irish Hiking Scarf in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, knitted with size 6 US needles.
Random Christmas Scarf (starting early this year!) in Classic Elite Waterspun, knitted with size 10 US needles.
Cabled Purse in Lamb's Pride Chunky, knitted with size 13 US needles. (Almost finished, just needs to be lined and have the handles put on. Anyone with ideas on how to do this?)

Honey's Prayer Shawl
I met Honey through my LiveJournal, which I still keep active though with only stuff that isn't knitting related. (So basically, all the boring things.) She is battling uterine cancer and going through a series of surgeries that will hopefully allow her to keep her uterus and have children. We decided that we needed to make prayer shawls for eachother and this one will be hers.

I'm using Cascade 220, doubled and using size 13 US needles. The colors are blue, pink, green and white. Blue for healing and hope. Green for the growth of healthy non-cancerous cells and the personal growth she is experiencing. Pink for the love of her friends and family which is helping to see her through this ordeal. And white for wiping the slate clean and starting new. (Kim, this is not from my stash. I purchased the 4 skeins from my LYS. If I get kicked out of the Stashalong for a Prayer Shawl for a cancer patient, then so be it. But I was hoping that there would be some grace given for it.)

Seed Stitch Sweater
I love making stuff for other people, and here is another project for Owen, my little man. This is a Debbie Bliss pattern from Baby Knits for Beginners, the first knitting book I ever fell in love with. It uses 5 skeins of her Baby Cashmerino, which I just happened to have in my stash. Don't you love that?! This thing sweater is being knitted on size 3 US needles, which I think is a little crazy, but I'm loving my results! I started this project on Friday night during my LYS' Knit In and it is smooth sailing right now, though I'm only 5" in. I definitely need some cool buttons for the front. I'm thinking cars or trains or something.

My SP7 just emailed me today to let me know that I should expect my first package to arrive on Friday. Thank goodness because I could use the pick me up right now! With all the stuff going on in life right now, I need something fun to look forward to!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A slight reprieve in posting

Sorry for the lack of posting late this week. Our family has had some things come up and life has quickly gone from okay to stressful.

Of special note, my 96 year old Great-Grandmother passed away on Friday afternoon. She had a stroke last weekend and went downhill very quickly. She had a wonderful life full of family and friends and she was ready to be with her husband and kids who had all died before her. I'll miss her a lot.

I'll try to put something new up in the next few days, but in the meantime, send some prayers and good thoughts our way. My sister is having problems with her heart and my hubby needs a new job with a good and stable income.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Thanks and a Meme

A big thank you for all the wonderful comments about yesterday's post. It means a lot to hear praise from such wonderful people!

I've been tagged for this Meme... here I go!

4 Jobs I've had in my life:

1. Accounting Assistant
2. Purchasing Manager
3. Night Front Office Person for a 9 doctor Pediatric Office
4. Front Office and Accounts Receivable for a Retirement Community

4 Movies I could watch over and over:

1. Gone with the Wind
2. Best in Show
3. The Rock
4. Girl with a Pearl Earring

4 Places I've lived:

1. Alexandria, MN
2. Carlsbad, CA
3. Oceanside, CA
4. Vista, CA

4 TV shows I love(d) to watch:

1. Friends
2. Scrubs
3. House
4. Law & Order (all of them)

4 Places I've been on vacation:

1. Bucharest, Romania
2. Hermosillo, Mexico
3. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
4. NYC, New York

4 Place I want to visit:

1. Europe
2. Japan
3. Africa
4. Alaska

4 Websites I visit daily:

1. My LiveJournal
2. My blog (to post and check favorite blogs)
3. CNN
4. Google

4 of my favorite foods:

1. Chicken Mexicalli
2. Pesto Lasagne
3. Sushi... all of it!
4. Moo Shoo Chicken

4 things currently on the floor in your car (trunk)

1. Baby wipes
2. Dust pan and hand broom
3. Cheesy goldfish crackers
4. Cds

I'm not tagging anyone for this one. If you want it, take it!

P.S. I finished the Irish Hiking Scarf!!! Pictures tomorrow. Yay!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Friday, January 20, 2006

Showing off

Pictures, how I love thee!

Mom and I finished off our fingerless mittens last night. We met our instructor at the LYS and she showed us the 3 needle bind off, which was a new trick for both of us. Mom paid attention to what she was doing and therefore was able to bind off without any trouble. I, on the other hand, quickly went into "working stuff out in my head while knitting" mode and thus found myself with all my stitches joined and on one needle, wondering what the heck I was supposed to do with a mitten that had a knitting needle permanently attached. I should have taken a picture, because I totally could have been Wolverine's sister... or new girlfriend. (He's cute!) We laughed and I tried again. Alas, halfway through binding off I looked down and discovered that I had, yet again, not bound off anything at all. Third time's the charm though, and the second mitten was bound off without incident.

Project: Fingerless Mittens
Pattern Source: Weekend Knitting
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay, color 28 (Love it!)
Needles: Brittany US 9
Time per mitten: 2 hours (not counting binding off)

I'd like to try this pattern again, but using a finer weight yarn.

Owen's sweater vest is complete and ready for some wearing! I have yet to get a picture of him in it, which I will have to remedy shortly.

Project: The Little Man Sweater Vest
Pattern Source: Me!
Yarn: Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK, color Blue Boy
Needles: Denise Interchangeables, US 6
Time: Uh, a lot if you count the time I spent doing math.

I'd like to make this again and work out my v-neck issues. I actually had to do some steeking in order to make room for Owen's head to go through. After cutting into the knitting (GULP) I single crocheted around the whole top edge to stabilize the whole thing. It works fine, but I'd rather master the v-neck than to MacGyver it into working.

Bryan is going to help Dad chop up some wood on the land tomorrow. This gives Owen and me a great opportunity to hang out with my Mom and the boys. We'll do some knitting and they'll do some playing. Mom finished her twisty wrap from Wrap Style and I hope to get some good pictures. I'll be introducing Hopeful to the world as she is now finished and blocked. Mom is good at the artsy pictures, so I'm sure I'll have some to show off.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

It was a tough weekend and to be honest, yesterday and today have been difficult. Today I've been trying to pull myself up by my bootstraps, but it's not quite working. It's bad enough that even knitting isn't making it better. I sat for fifteen minutes and tried working on the Irish Hiking Scarf, but gave up because it wasn't doing any good.

I did make some progress on my projects, though...

The sweater vest is done and I'm getting ready to wash and block it. I'm hoping that it will fit over his head. This morning I woke up and looked at my sweet boy and the first thing I thought was, "I think his head grew overnight!" I'll let you know if it works.

The Irish Hiking Scarf is coming along well, though I'm not getting in my two repeats each and every day. I did add about 7 inches to it over the weekend.

Hopeful is now 4" in on that second end panel. 16" left and it'll be done. I think that if I could dedicate two nights to it, I'd have it finished and blocking.

The fingerless mittens are done except for the seaming. I'm waiting on that until Thursday. Mom and I will be going back to the LYS to get a little instruction from the teacher. We'll be going in early so that we could look around and some of the new stock. I'm also hoping that we could stay a little late since Bryan is meeting us there to take Owen home. I love knitting at my LYS.

The girls' tank tops haven't even been started yet. I'm wanting to get some projects out of the way before I get going on these.

The socks! I'm loving the sock. I lost my tally/notes paper for a little while, but it is back now and ready to be written on. The sock is happy to be back in game.

I'll try to get some pictures up tomorrow... and if I did it right, you'll see pictures and a pattern of the sweater vest.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Good Gracious!

I'm a sock knitter!!!

I just finished turning the heel and picking up the gusset on my first pair of socks. Woah! Turning the heel was a bit tricky, but picking up those stitches was easier than I thought it would be. I'm really enjoying the sock knitting and see why some people *coughLauracough* are addicted.

Mom and I took a mittens class at our LYS tonight! It was my first official knitting class and first time really getting together with other knitters. I loved being able to share the obsession with others who could appreciate it. (Hubby dearest tries to be understanding about it, but I know that it's more because he loves me than for real interest in the wooly wonders I "whip up".) The class itself wasn't anything too difficult. We're making fingerless mittens from the Weekend Knitting book. They're being knit on straight needles and seamed together using a three-needle bind off.

Though they're an easy project, it is incorporating a few new techniques for me:

~ short rows
~ button holes (for the thumb)
~ three-needle bind off

I'm using Manos del Uruguay in color #28. I've never used Manos before and I'm really liking it, though I think that I have more thick and thin in this skein than in Mom's skein, but it is making the finished product more interesting! I'll post a picture of this work in progress and of my sock tomorrow.

By the way, I'm one strong woman! I spent 2 1/2 hours in a yarn store and only bought the needles and skein of yarn necessary for the project... in complete compliance with the Stashalong rules and regulations. That was difficult. I loved being in the yarn store with my fellow knitters surrounded by all that yarn, but I really wanted to buy yarn.

My current works in progress:

1. Hopeful. Lace middle and first end section completed. I just picked up the stitches on the second end and worked about 3 inches. Only 17 inches left to go and it'll be done!

2. Irish Hiking Scarf. Yeah, I haven't worked on this. I'm still at the halfway point.

3. Stashbusting tank tops. Laura found a great pattern for these! Email me with your address and you'll find a little something in your mailbox. Yay!

4. Owen's Sweater Vest. The front part is almost finished. I had to rip back the v-neck because I didn't start the shaping early enough, but that's easy enough fixed. My plan is to have this finished by the end of the weekend. The exciting thing is that I have someone who wants me to do sizing for a 4T so that they can make one for a family member! I think I'll probably end up doing a few sizes and then making it available as a free pattern here. What do you think?

5. The socks. Oh yeah.

6. Fingerless mittens. It's a good thing.

Am I going a little crazy with the knitting?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Secret Pal 7 Questionnaire

  1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?

I find myself rapidly becoming more of a yarn snob. I love working with natural fibers, however I know that Lion Brand has some nicer yarns they’re coming out with. I definitely don’t like novelty eyelash kinds of yarn.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

I don’t spin, but I do crochet.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I have a Denise set which I use often, they have their own case. My Brittany needles are in a cup… I need something to hold them in. My hooks are in a new holder that I just made.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I’ve been knitting since July, but didn’t really get into the swing of it until August. I’d consider myself to be an intermediate since I can do things like garment construction and alter patterns as needed.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

No. I’ll let you know if I make one, though.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

I prefer lighter scents for bath products. (Vanilla is an all-time favorite.) With candles I like something a little more heady. I have a Cinnamon Clove candle on my living room table right now and I’m loving it.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Yes, but I’m trying to cut back on the sweets. Heath Bars are my favorite, fyi.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

I had a great time making stitch markers. I also cross-stitch and scrapbook. (Who am I kidding. I mostly knit and crochet.)

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

My music tastes change. Right now I’m enjoying the new cd by Carrie Underwood (though I wouldn’t consider myself a huge Country fan). I also love Josh Groban at the moment.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

The lifetime favorite color is blue. I love muted and natural colors, though a lovely red has been known to make my heart skip a beat.

I stay away from anything too bright (for myself). Oranges, yellows, highlighter green.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I have a wonderful husband and a little man who turned 2 in September.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

I just moved to MO from San Diego, so my repertoire of scarves and hats is growing. I have one pair of mittens and could use another pair. Ponchos aren’t my thing.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

The list is rapidly growing! I just started knitting something with Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK and I’m in love. I also love Debbie Bliss and Cascade 220. I have an upcoming project in Lamb’s Pride, so we’ll see how I like it. Oh, and I have 2 skeins of Lorna’s Laces that I have just to look at for a while. If it works up anything like it feels, I’ll be addicted.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

Besides novelty glittery stuff… not much.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

Oh golly. I have a couple of bags/purses that I want to make. Oh and garments! I’m doing a sweater vest for my little guy and some stashbusting tank tops for some friends’ kids. I’m also drooling over socks, but I’m taking a class for that in Feb. I think.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Look above! Garments and bags.

17. What are you knitting right now?

A cabled scarf for my grandma. A sweater vest for my son. 3 tank tops for 3 little girls. I also am crocheting a wrap and I’ll be casting on for a shawl soon.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

Every project has it’s perfect tool. I have a Denise set, so I’m set on circs, but I don’t have much in the way of straight needles.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Ooh. I love my Brittany needles. Those things are incredible. I’ve also got one Addi Turbo circs that made me melt a bit because they were great.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Yes! My hubby’s Christmas present to me. (Is he great, or what?)

22. How did you learn to knit?

I learned by book.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

That would by moving therapy blanket that I started when we first made the lightning move to MO in September. Simple garter stitch, nothing fancy or complicated.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

Umm. I don’t know that I have one. My son loves VeggieTales so I suppose that would be my favorite, too!

25. What is your favorite holiday?


26. Is there anything that you collect?

Besides yarn and needles? Books and tea cups… oh and black and white pictures.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I have a subscription to Interweave Knits.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?

The Debbie Bliss Astrakhan looks like it’d be interesting to work with. (The green is beautiful.) I’d also love more Brittany straights and dpns. I’m always on the look out for cute patterns for boys and nice sweaters for men.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I’d love to learn short row shaping, socks, and get more comfortable with dpns.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I’m not a sock knitter yet. I hope to be one soon! If you’d like my foot measurements, let me know what you’d need.

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)

October 16

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Note to self:

You want to knit Owen a sweater vest kind of thing, reminiscent of Chandler's on Friends. Use the Rowan Cashsoft DK in Blue Boy from the stash and don't do anything too fussy. 4x2 ribbing on bottom edge and a ribbed v-neck. Maybe knit in the round?

In knitting news:

I finally decided that I could rip and rip Hopeful from now til kingdom come, but the whole purpose behind that piece is what it represents. I want to look at it and wear it and know that it represents my hopes, dreams and prayers for my future. If I continue to stress over this, the only thing it will represent is my frustrations and I won't be able to wear it with the joy that I want.

So last night I started working on it again. When I noticed that I had decreased by one stitch three rows back I just increased one on the row I was in and moved on. No stress. No frustration. No beating myself up for the mistakes. No!

I worked all last night and a good portion of today and I'm now past the lace portion of it and beginning the solid end panels. That means that I'm 1/3 of the way finished.

It feels really good to have made up my mind about deciding to let it be what it is. Not to get anyone down, but I'll be honest here. I've been pregnant four times and have one child. Childbearing has not been a perfect experience for me and I've had more than my share of heartache over it. Hopeful is a pretty good representation of that. It's not perfect and I'm not expecting it to be anymore. I'm moving forward and doing what I can.

I'm looking forward to finishing it and wearing it. I'm not saving it "until" because, though I'm optimistic for the future, I'm also having to come to terms with the fact that that particular "until" may not happen again. And you know what, if that's the case then I'm blessed to have my Owen because he's one heck of a little man and he'll always be mine.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The stash... it is decreasing!

I'm motivated and also challenged by this whole stash decreasing thing. I really want to make stuff with my yarn, but sometimes I'm really clueless as to what to make with it. Prime example: Bright pink and a little bit of purple yarn in Baby Soft by Lion Brand. I know what I had in mind for this when I first bought it (baby blanket, when mixed with other colors) but this doesn't want to be a baby blanket. I could make something for Owen, but Bryan would take away my knitting needles and then I'd have to cry.

Then I realized that I know people who have little girls! My friend Heather has two little girls (age 2 and almost 1) and my cousin Ashley has a little girl who will be 1 soon. I have enough of this yarn to make at least 3 tank tops and probably a little purse for the 2 year old. Anna, Grace and Adele will be sporting some handmade lovin'!

I'm kind of fudging a pattern for this right now. If anyone has any ideas where I can find a cute free pattern for those sizing... you'd have my eternal thanks and possibly a wooly surprise in the mail from me!

An update on my works in progress:


Doing not so well. I've ripped back this baby five times and you're looking at try #6 which will also be frogged. I keep decreasing unintentionally and it's a pain in the rear. I even broke out the "Crocheting For Dummies" book.

I'm not giving up on this project, but I'm also not going to put it to the side. This is something I'm determined to finish soon and so I'm going to stick with it... even if it kills me!

This would be the yarn for Hopeful. 6 skeins of Peace Fleece. Though it's not the softest yarn, I've really enjoyed working with it. I adore the color and I know I'll love to wear it and use it once it's actually done.

Irish Hiking Scarf...

I've made great progress on this project and I know that it'll be done in time for my grandma's birthday. Apparently she's planning a visit to Missouri in February (her birthday month) so I'll be able to give it to her in person which will be so much more gratifying than sending it to her by mail and not being able to see her reaction.

I'd like to do another cabling project soon, though I'd like to have it be some different cables. My soon to be brother-in-law loves Celtic history and I'm thinking maybe a lapghan size throw with some celtic knots? The wedding is in June, so that'd give me enough time to pick the yarn and design the pattern.

I have plenty to work on. My ISE 2 scarf and hat are blocking in the other room as we speak. There are projects by my couch. So why do I have the sudden urge to start learning socks?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


I completed my first FO of 2006! Woohoo! It's a crochet hook roll thingy. No longer will my crochet hooks be stuffed in my notions bag. No! Thank heavens, too, because I was starting to run out of room.

Pattern: A modified free pattern from the girls at my LYS
Yarn: Plymouth Wildflower from the stash (1 skein)
Needles: Size 5 circs from my Denise set

Tonight was supposed to be a knitting night with some ladies in the Springfield area. We were to meet at the Barnes & Noble across from Battlefield Mall. Either I missed everyone or it got cancelled without me knowing because I couldn't find a knitter anywhere in that store. I was determined to knit since I had a wonderful hubby at home taking care of our son... so this is how I ended up. Quite nice and I actually had a wonderful time and got many compliments on the scarf and on my amazing knitting skills. (Amazing to the untaught, but I'll take whatever I can get!)

I said that I would write about my knitting goals for this year. I suppose now is as good a time as any! My main goal is to really challenge myself with new things. New skills, new projects, and even to work on a few things that may scare me a little bit. For example, it doesn't scare me at all to make a sweater for Owen, but the thought of making a garment for myself makes my knees shake a bit. I don't know why, but I think it's time to change that!

I'd also like to get myself a little better organized. Right now my patterns are all together, as are my notions, needles and hooks... but the yarn stash is a whole different story. It's mainly in a open bin... and creeping outside of the bin in bags and boxes. I'd love to get it sorted and bagged.

The last thing is that I'd like to change the way I buy yarn. I often go into a store and see yarn, and buy a skein of it with no thought as to what I'll use it for... it's just pretty. Now that's not a problem if you're doing it occasionally, but let's just say that I have a lot of lonely skeins in my stash that really have nothing going for them. I'd like to be more deliberate when I buy yarn. Either having a pattern in mind, or buying enough of it that I could really do something with it... even if it's something small, like a Sunday vest for Owen.

I joined the Stashalong and am committed to working down my stash so that it's ready for some serious knitting projects. Oh, I hope that I can do this! It'll be hard not to buy yarn for three months!!! Luckily, we're aloud to buy yarn for any classes we might be taking. I'm taking three classes with Mom at our LYS between January and the end of March, so that'll give me a needed fix.

And finally, for my sister, Heather... a picture of my new hair cut! You like?

January 2006 Goals

1. Finish crochet hook holder
2. Block and mail International Scarf Exchange 2 goodies
3. Work 2 repeat patterns on Pepa's birthday scarf (Irish Hiking Scarf) every day until completed
4. Get through half of Hopeful
5. Start on Cozy

Monday, January 02, 2006

Do over!

I've been able to partially reconstruct some of those 200 deleted digital pictures by the magic of a wonderfully tiresome phrase. "Remember the picture I took of you doing this? Can you do it again?" Though the pictures aren't quite what they were when I first took them (and I'm still about 125 short) at least they're something!

So today I bring you the pictures that somewhat resemble the pictures I was planning to bring you a couple of days after Christmas. (Catchy, isn't it?!)

This is the hat that Isaac requested after seeing me make a hat for Owen. He wanted it to be twirly, but settled for stripes... and a really big foofy thing. (His words.) I made my own pattern and used some Red Heart that I had on hand. It is truly the most bright hat ever... and he's completely in love with it. Mom says that Isaac has worn this hat almost every day since Christmas... even in the house! Makes a knitter proud.

This is Isaac's other favorite Christmas gift. A $2.95 Darth Vader mask from Wal-Mart. He about made me eject some chai tea out of my nose when he came out wearing the hat and mask together. This may be one of my favorite pictures of all time.

The final presents I made for my brothers were these crocheted bags. I thought they'd be great for keeping Legos in while they were stuck in the car on drives with the parents. I put their initials on the front of the bags and of course they were made in their favorite colors. Red for Jared and Orange for Isaac.

I leave you with a picture of me and the hubby, Bryan. I decided that 2005 stunk and that 2006 is my year!!! And what better to celebrate my new year with than with a new hair cut! I'll get a better picture of it tomorrow, but for now, feast your eyes this!

Tomorrow I'll let you all know about those pesky resolutions and stuff, because I certainly have some, but for now I must rush off and put together our new bed frame. 3 months of sleeping on a mattress on the floor is enough! (See, it's a better year already!!!)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Hello, 2006. So glad you're here!!!