Saturday, December 13, 2008

Crushing on the Positano Tote


Ok, I just happened to peek at the Positano Bag from Interweave Knits' Winter 2008 Mag and am smitten! The old KPG would've rushed right on over to Knit One and purchased suitable materials for the luscious bag - but I just admired from a far instead. *Still on yarn diet. Still needing to finish heaps of projects. Still broke.* Repeat from * to * until urges subside.

Interweave Knits is so not good for my yarn addiction or my KADD. Yet, I cannot, CANNOT, imagine not being able to drool over the awesome patterns featured in every issue. I'm guessing that's why they call it an addiction.

I've got one sick kidlet today who won't let mommy pick up the needles. I'm hoping praying for her to take a nap so that I can spend quality time with my poor neglected Market Squares Bag. Oh, what a bad mommy I've become!

I've decided that if I finish 2nd second sock, scarf, princess shawl, and market squares bag, I WILL CO the Positano bag and make it for MYSELF! Oh boy.. it may be awhile. (Kinda like IMDB Production Notes - pre-production) But at least I have something fun to look forward to.


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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Afflicted with KADD/YADD and LKD!!


Okay, it's official.. I am afflicted with KADD/YADD: Knitting Attention Deficit Disorder/Yarn Attention Deficit Disorder and also LKD: Lazy Knitters Disease. Although I am self-diagnosing here, there is reasonable evidence to suggest that I do have these afflictions. Let us consider the following:
  • I have __ projects on the needles
  • I start to knit and get so distracted that I don't return to my knitting for days at a time.. sometimes even weeks (EGADS!)
  • I work on a project until I get thoroughly bored or another bright, shiny project catches my attention (I do not take full credit for this little symptom. Ravelry and my LYS are just as much to blame.)
  • I keep meaning to complete projects but find that the next project is so exciting..
  • I can't knit in the company of my family or else it all goes to pot. Hearing "Mommy?!" in rapid-fire succession throws off my knitting-Fu
  • I start knitting in front of the TV and then realize after a TV show has ended, I'm staring at the TV, needles in hand, having knit 1 lousy row.
I realize that there is no cure yet available, but palliative treatment is helpful. So in an effort to regain my knitting health, I vow to not start any more projects until I finish at least half of the ones I have on the needles currently. Sure there will be withdrawl and my body and stash will need to adjust to the treatment, but I am positive that I can overcome these afflictions and in time be fully recovered. Just think of this as your public service announcement. Don't suffer in silence, knitsters! Go to your local Stitch 'N Bitch support group and seek the help you need and deserve. And get those projects done!

(Header picture is of a knitted brain and brain stem.. Obviously, given said afflictions, I did not knit it.)


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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Just a Glimpse

Here's a glimpse of all 5 colors together in my entrelac Market Squares Bag. I think it's going to work well. I'm so anxious for my bag to take shape and actually look like a bag. If I can whip out a couple more tiers, it will start to look like something.I forgot to post a pic of these little gems.. It's amazing how much you forget when you are posting to more than one blog. (I've had that CotLin yarn for well over a month and didn't get around to posting it and updating my Ravelry stash until yesterday!) I bought these gorgeous little earrings from Polished Two. These are gold-tone yarn ball earrings! Aren't they the cat's meow? They don't photograph well as the flash on my camera mutes the detail, but they are so adorable. I wanted to remember to mention them. I also got some cutey-patooty elephant earrings from Polished Two.

(I had purchased lovely pumpkin earrings from her a couple of months ago.) Her prices are ridiculously low and her earrings are cute, funky, and fun! Give her a peak!


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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Got Cotton?

'Tis the season to knit dishcloths... or at least it is for me! I absolutely adored the Thanksgiving Cloths patterns I purchased from KrisKnits and had also bought her Winter Wondercloths patterns. But to my shock, the knitalicious Kris has also created Christmas Cloths patterns! Oh my yarny goodness! I had to have 'em! And voila! Through the magic of television Ravelry, I purchased these yummy patterns. I plan to knit them up and give them with some homemade Peppermint Stick Salt Soak as hostess gifts. What hostess wouldn't love to soak her tired tootsies after a long day of entertaining and relax in a warm bath with some peppermint soak and exquisite handmade washcloths? So I went on a mission to find the perfect cotton for the job.

For the Winter Wondercloths, I ordered some KnitPicks CotLin in Desert Turquiose, Kohlrabi, Glacier, Swan, Nightfall, and Coffee. I liked KrisKnits' blue theme for the Winter Wondercloths so much, I decided I would do my own version.

For the Christmas Cloths, I picked up some Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton in Cumin, Drift, Honeydew, Orchid, Periwinkle, Pickle, and Tomato. And I got a hank of Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton in Sand.

In other news.. I finally got to return to knitting my Market Squares bag. Mostly, I just ate lemon squares from Mimi's (You know I love me my Mimi's!) and chatted with the lovlies at KnitOne - but I did finish the third tier of my bag. Only 12 more tiers to go! And the i-cord. Oh, and the felting. But other than that...

Celeste has finished her bag (awesome) and Karen is working some modifications to lengthen her bag (and is almost finished) - so I am way far behind. No shocker. Hubby took the kidlets with him for the weekend so I could knit my heart's content. As Karen says, "He's a keeper." So I am currently taking time to update my stash on Ravelry; sip some premium hot cocoa (sadly, I am outta Bailey's or it would be a pretty terrific evening); and curl up in front of my fireplace, in my fuzzy jammies, on my comfy couch, watching Starter Wife, and knitting my bag. Oh sweet indulgences..

Knit on!


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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Radical Knitting: Radical Web of Terror!

I hope you all find this as funny as I did. ;P


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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Update on my Entrelac Market Squares Bag


Okay, I'm on tier 2 of the felted Entrelac Market Squares Bag.. All was going well at Knit One. Karen helped me with the instructions for Tier 2 and Celeste gave me an awesome shortcut on picking up stitches that she at learned at a Cat Bordhi workshop (score)! I was feeling like this entrelac bag might become a reality. I even bragged that when I finished this one (knit in Cascade 220), that I would knit one up in Lamb's Pride in different colors. Then I got home, picked up the knitting during the utter chaos that is my house and WHAMMO! I messed it all up! I had frogged back because I made an error I wanted to correct and ended up dropping stitches off of one of my base triangles!! ARGH! Tears immediately welled up in my eyes. My husband thought something bad had happened. When I told him that I just messed up my bag (which has taken me 5 hours so far), he let out a chuckle. I feverishly emailed the gurus of Knit One asking begging for help. Here's a look the boo-boos I created.
Hopefully the nice ladies of Knit One will have mercy on me and help me fix this so that I don't have to frog back to the bag band. In the light of a new day, I realize that this too is a learning experience and that even if I have to frog back and my project boo-boos are beyond help -I will have learned something and have another chance to practice my entrelac.

**UPDATE**
The amazing Celeste helped me get my bag back on track. She has no idea how I did what I did to it but thankfully was able to fix it so that I didn't have to frog all the way back. Thank God!!


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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Entrelac Market Squares Bag

Knit One North is hosting a felted Entrelac Market Squares bag KAL.. for some unknown reason, I am attempting this bag. I've never successfully felted a project and I've NEVER knit entrelac before. With the help of uber-patient Ms. Connie, the wonder knitter, I was able to get the bag band completed and the base triangles knit. I didn't get to ask her for help with the next step - so I'm at a loss. I tried (unsuccessfully) to figure it our on my own - but like with so many other knitting techniques, I need to see someone do it. Reading about the technique just doesn't do it for me. I need to see it and do it before I understand it. I'm written-instructions challenged!

I'll post some pics once I figure out how to get past the base triangles.


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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yummy Yarnie Goodness


I got 2 shipments yesterday at the same time!! First off, I got my Knitting Help.com 'Kit 'N Kaboodle' swap package from Gargoylelib (Libbie)! WOW! She went over and above and I absolutely love everything she packed up for me! The package includes:
  • 1 Skein Nalle Four Seasons by Novita (a Finnish yarn company) in what I believe is Autumn colorway
  • 2 Skeins Isoveli Colori by Novita - I don't know the name of the colorway but it has red, orange, teal, brown, and purple in the colorway.
  • a grey Christmas themed felted bowl
  • 2 on-the-needle row counters
  • 1 Clover (Kacha-Kacha) row counter
  • a set of 4 stitch markers in mixed color agates (quartz)
  • a nifty tape measure
  • a pewter yarnball w/knitting needles charm
  • a journal
  • Finnish milk chocolate - Karl Fazer - 200g bar!! (over 7 ounces!!)
  • Finnish coffee - Paulig Presidentti - 250g (8.8 ounces)
  • A natural-colored, lightweight tote

For those of you NOT involved in the swap: you had to pick 5 patterns you'd like to knit up and submit a questionaire indicating the patterns you wanted to knit. The swap hostesses then picked everyone's swapee and emailed everyone. No one is suppossed to know who has them. Then, you package up a pattern or two that your KH swap person has selected along with the yarn to complete the project, a notion or two, and some goodies. You don't know which pattern your swap partner is going to pick out of the 5 you choose. And it's up to the person packaging everything to choose the yarn to go with the pattern. So you have no idea what yarn you'll get either! It's exciting! Libbie did a terrific job and sent me yarn I'd never used before - so I'm excited to knit with it! The patterns she choose for me from my 5 were Lifestyle Toe-Up Socks by Charisa Martin Cairn (which is sort of a guide for making toe-up socks) and the This Way Up Scarf by Ann S.
I finally took a picture of my Olive Namaste Newport bag!! It's pictured here with one of my Thanksgiving washcloths (Pilgrim Hat, also in olive) which just happens to match my bag.I also FINALLY got my shipment of Tilli Tomas Flurries yarn in Lillies colorway. It had been on backorder since the end of September... So no, dumplings.. I did not cheat on my yarn diet. ;P

With all of this yarnie goodness, I don't think I will have a hard time adhering to my yarn diet! I see afghan, knitting needles, yummy yarn, and hot cocoa in my very near future!


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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yarn Diet

First off, 'sorry I haven't posted any pics of late. DH has my camera charger/dock in his car at his office and is out of the country. So, pics will have to wait until he comes back from Canada.

I am officially on a yarn diet. I have been adopting poor, homeless skeins/hanks in order to give them a loving home. The problem you ask? They are taking up all available space in my bitty apartment. And with the added financial strain of selling our house and all of the additional expenses right now - it's time to dig through my stash and knit up projects (and finish them) from what I've already got. I can no longer justify buying more yarn... As DH reminds me, electricity, food, and shelter are a tad more important. So, I will seize this opportunity to FINISH current projects and to do some major stash-busting.

I will be posting pics of my stash-busting efforts soon... Time to get my knit on!


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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

OMG!! I almost forgot about knitting group!!

Happy, happy.. joy, joy!! Today is knitting with Knit One!!! I have been so distracted and super busy, that I forgot that Wednesday was upon us!!!

There is bad news - I have to cancel the crochet class and the Felted Entrelac Bag KAL for this weekend because hubby is going to Toronto for a trade show (now that he's a big muckity-muck, he has a lot of presentations he has to give) and won't be home in time for my class. :(

But I get to knit today! I get 2 hours of knitting enjoyment and yummy yarn goodness this afternoon! I think I will take my Thanksgiving dishcloths with me to work on today. I really should finish them before Thanksgiving! I'll post my progress pics and a pic of my Olive Namaste Bag tonight!

Knit on!


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The knitting has suffered...

My poor lonely skeins have been put away for the past week as I pursued other endeavors this week. As much as it pains me to put down the needles, I having been reading and writing quite a bit recently. I rediscovered my passion for writing and have decided that I need to pursue that a bit further . So I'm enrolling in some writing classes and we'll see what happens. I need to pick up the needles as well -but as I look around me I realize that the only things that I've accomplished this past week are:
1.) Finishing 'New Moon' by Stephenie Meyer. OMG, I couldn't put it down. I'm such the Twerd now (Twilight nerd). It's fun, fluff - but it really sucks you in (no pun intended).
2.) Writing some short stories. I haven't done this since college and I haven't gotten the bug to write again until recently. I took a writing seminar in college and a creative writing lab and enjoyed it so much. And, to everyone's surprise (no doubt), I was actually a pretty decent writer. So I decided to pick it up again. Boy oh boy am I rusty! I need to take some more classes and focus on story development and dialogue.
3.) Trying to spend time doing crafty things with the kidlets.. gotta hook 'em while they're young!
4.) Blogging and engaging in social networks (TwitterMoms, Twitter, Facebook)
5.) Catching up on the oodles of TiVo'd shows I haven't had time to watch.


My apartment is a mess. There is laundry out the wazoo. And I have been cheating on WW! ARGH! The knitting will have to wait until my domestic duties have been completed...

Take heart, Noro Silk Garden, we'll meet again soon...


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Friday, November 7, 2008

Acquisitions/Updates

Okay, I got me some Lion Cotton and am knitting up the Thanksgiving washcloths (patterns purchased from KrisKnits). I have one down and 5 more to finish the set. They knit up really fast. I knit up the pilgrim hat cloth while listening to a couple of chapters of an audiobook.

And for some unknown reason and I'm pleading temporary insanity here - I signed up for the Felted Entrelac bag KAL at KnitOne! So I got myself some coordinating Cascade 220 in earth tones. I have never done entrelac before and I've never felted before. I don't know what I was thinking. I think it was the yarn fumes. Yarn does weird things to me - it caused me to attempt socks... to adopt skein after skein... to spend countless hours with pointy sticks and to purchase gorgeous bags to place WIPs in (just got an Olive Namaste bag that is to die for!). It's a sickness really.

I would post pics, but DH took my camera with him on his business trip so that he could take pics of California.

I've also been collecting items for the Kit 'N Kaboodle swap I'm in on KH. I'm nearly done collecting items for my swwap partner. I can't wait to send her package off to her. She's going to love it!

In other WIPs: I got 1 1/2 skeins into my Knitting Meets Crochet scarf and made some horrible error (no doubt because I was trying to listen to an audiobook that I was engrossed in) and the tried to tink back a row.. but wasn't paying attention yet again (damn those audiobooks!) and dropped one of each of the p2tog(s) across the row. By the time I realized this - I tried to pick up the stitches (tink, tink.. find crochet hook..), but placed stitches that didn't actually exist on the needle and missed other stitches. I was in such a tizzy! I didn't want to frog the whole scarf over a couple of bad rows. And although I absolutely LOVE-LOVE-LOVE the Noro Silk Garden I am knitting the scarf in - I sure as heck did not want to start from square one. (And God knows I'm still green enough that I have to tink back a stitch at a time or frog the entire project because I can't seem to rip and know where to stop or where I am in the pattern!) So I enlisted the help of Dawne at Knit One who saved my scarf. But unfortunately, like a complete goof, I started knitting this pattern (which is essentially lace) while at an afternoon stitch 'n bitch at the shop and messed up again. ARGH! I need to pick it back up and find my error. Tink, tink, tink..

Still haven't brought myself to finish Ms. Maddie's Magic Princess Shawl. I'm so close to being done, but I need to finish the scarf for my grammie and I need to knit sock # 2 so that I don't forget how to knit socks! (And also an actual pair works well when you have 2 feet.)

So there you have it - ADD as ever in my knitting. I have so many projects OTNs that I MUST finish. I cannot keep starting projects or at my funeral, instead of flower arrangements there will be a room full of UFOs and uncontrollable stash lining every wall. My obituary will read: survived by 2 children, 1000 unfinished projects, and 10,000 skeins of yarn... And someone will give a eulogy: "She always wanted to finish Ms. Maddie's Magic Princess shawl for her great granddaughter..." ;P


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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The People Have Spoken...

Okay, so Ms. VanHoofen did not win the general election.. but to be serious for a moment - let me just say how proud I am to have taken part in this election and that Barack Obama has been elected! As a lifelong Democrat, it wasn't a surprise that I would vote for the democratic candidate. But it was so much more than that. For me, Obama signifies hope and change. He is the embodiment of opportunity and hard work. He restores my faith in humanity and in government. I think we can create [again] a strong America. I think we can at last tell our children that you can do anything you put your mind to. As long as you work hard, anything's possible. And as the aunt of a bi-racial niece and nephews, I am so overjoyed for them. To know that this country will be united for them, not divided along the colorlines. To know that they will grow up in a country where it is not the color of your skin that matters, but the fabric of your character; your hard work; and your compassion for all.

God bless America!


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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Now is the Time!

This country has gone far too long without a true leader. Now is the time to get out and vote. Vote for someone who will better this country..one skein at a time! That's right knitsters, it's time to vote for Dolores.

Ask yourself these important questions:
1.) Which candidate will provide real change? More accessible wool in more hand-dyed colors?
2.) Which candidate will stand on a platform of yarn for all, not just some?
3.) Which candidate will fix our economy so that my stash may increase and I can keep more of my stash?
4.) Which candidate cares about my moth issues?
5.) Which candidate will bring peace to all...alpacas, sheep, goats, and bunnies? And bring these fibers together in united blends?

Only one candidate...Dolores. Don't rely on the polls! Get out there and vote your conscience! Your country needs you. Your stash needs you. Dolores needs you!


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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Back to Basics

Unlike my more ambitious knitsters - I am NOT knitting up oodles of Christmas gifts for the family/extended family. It's just way too much knitting and a whole lot of people who do not understand the time, commitment, and care that goes into handmade knitted items. I mean, according to one Ms. Pearl-McPhee, it is approximately 34,000 stitches for 1 pair of socks... no one else but another knitter would appreciate that kind of commitment in a gift. Having said all that - that doesn't mean that a nice handmade hostess gift wouldn't be appropriate. And I have to say that I am LOVE-LOVE-LOVING KrisKnits' blog! She has some beautiful dishcloth patterns. Some are free and some are for sale. But even the pattern kits that are for sale included SEVERAL patterns in a themed kit for a very nominal fee. I plan on knitting up the Thanksgiving Autumn and Winter Wonder Cloths. Give her blog a peek!


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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mommatudes

I do think blogging is becoming addictive. When I was in HS, I used to journal nonstop. It was a great way to rant and vent or just express my thoughts. This is basically the same thing - only some people read your thoughts. I wish Blogger had an option of having one blog page and adding different pages for different themes. But alas, they do not.

So, in addition to my knitting/crafting blog and my digiscrapping blog, I have started a mommy blog. I used to have an Aspie blog, but DS was uncomfortable with the entire blog being about him. So now I just have a mommy blog. I may move some of my general crafting to that blog because my knitting blog is getting really crowded. I may end up finding a blog application that allows a singular blog with multiple pages and move everything. But for now.. be sure to check out Mommatudes, my new mommy blog.


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Monday, October 27, 2008

I WILL conquer Toe-Up socks!

Okay, I have been bitten by the sock bug. They told me it would happen. They told me that once you finish a sock, the floodgates will open, sock yarn will occupy your thoughts, your checkbook register, and your closet. They told me that I wouldn't be able to walk past a hand-painted yarn without fantasizing about the gorgeous socks it would make while fondling the fabulous fiber. And you know what - they were right! However, they didn't tell me that knitting toe-up socks would cause a migraine-like sensation in those unfamiliar with the likes of Turkish Cast-On, Magic Cast-On, Figure 8 Cast-On, or any number of provisional cast-ons useful for toe-up sock creation. As I finally did figure out all of these cast-ons, I realized that they ask you to knit ML in the opposite way I was taught to knit ML. So while I reconcile this anomaly, I will go about my happy way of knitting cuff-down. I would also like to learn two socks at a time (toe-up) on ML.

Toe-up socks, you will be mine.. oh yes, you will be mine! Knit on, dumplings!


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Saturday, October 25, 2008

One Sock Down..


Okay, I have finished my first sock!! I had a bit of trouble with the Kitchener Stitch at the very end, but figured it out with the help of the KH Forums... It fits absolutely perfectly (the allure of knitting your own socks) and feels terrific! I can officially say that I am 50% done with KPG's Camo Socks!! I have CO the 2nd sock right away so that I don't wimp out and not knit it. Here are the pics! I think I will try to knit from the toe up for the next pair because I'd like to see the toe shaping for a toe up sock vs. the cuff down sock. Even my hubby said that it was so cool that I actually knit my own sock. If he hadn't seen me knit the sock himself, he'd never believe it! Be sure to catch the flouncy-flouncy action at the top of the sock! OH - and FYI: my foot is arched funny and to the side so this pic makes me look like I have half the toes!


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Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Once upon a time when I took a really interesting 'Psychology of the Adult Learner' class for my Allied Health Educator major, my prof insisted that the adult learner has a need to focus on 3 core ideas about their learning process: the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you can get an adult learner to move past the ugly, analyze the bad, and recognize the good then you've connected with them and will likely yield good results. And honestly, I found that simple philosophy to be dead on.

As an adult, I consider myself a lifetime learner. A learner of nearly everything and anything that comes my way in my lifetime. I strive to keep an open mind and fill it with various things, even if they are trivial pieces of information. When you stop learning, you stop living. When you close yourself off from learning from others, you cease to be productive and influential. Now I do not profess to be either productive or influential - but I do learn each and every day.

So what does this have to do with knitting? In knitting we are always learning. We are always striving to produce our best product. Sometimes we can only see the ugly. Sometimes we fail to analyze the bad. Oftentimes, we completely neglect to look at the good. As a knitting newbie, I have frogged more items than I care to even think about. I almost gave up knitting because I felt that I couldn't devote the time and energy toward improving. I felt like a failure each time I'd show up to a stitch and bitch with a scarf or dishcloth to knit. As I'd eye everyone's gorgeous, complicated stitches in equally gorgeous and complicated projects, I'd think to myself: just put the scarf in your bag and walk away, no one gets hurt.

Recently, when I started my group on Ravelry, Moving Beyond Rectangles, a poster reminded me of how helpless you feel when your knitting skill set is small. And how horrible you feel the first time you reach for your needles and yarn from a chain store only to have more experienced knitters balk at your supplies. And I got to thinking.. those knitting snobs have closed themselves off. They aren't good teachers. They don't want to help the new knitter. And they certainly have not used The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly philosophy.

And WHY am I rambling on about this you may ask? Because knitting is such a source of therapy, escape, release, artistic expression, and most importantly (IMHO) - community. At least that's what knitting has meant to me. When I am in tears and feel raw from a bad day of meltdowns, anxiety, and arguing from DS - I make time to hang out with my yarnies and get in some knitting therapy. It provides therapy and escape. It's a release from all of the tension I cannot release at home. It provides me with an artistic expression and the gratification of knowing that I actually created something of use. I created something with my own hands. And it provides me with the means to socialize. To laugh. To gossip. To just be a knitter for a few hours. And when I think about all it does for me, I know that those newbies out there with limited experience in yarns and needles or the lack of funds to purchase more pricey yarns and needles don't need to be turned away - they need all that knitting has to offer too. And it's my job to pass on whatever limited knowledge I have.

We are all adult learners in something.. we all need help from time to time. We are all teachers of something. What would you like to be known for teaching others? Intolerance? Patience? Self-assurance? Self loathing? Today while you are going about your usual tasks, think carefully about all of the times you had the opportunity to teach with your actions as well as your words. Whether it is an attribute or something tangible. Life is made up of all of these. Life IS the good, the bad, and the ugly.


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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Re-Joining WW

Okay, there comes a point when you stop feeling fat and sassy and just feel fat. I am 54 pounds overweight and I cannot take it anymore! I need to overhaul my eating and exercise habits and I need to do it now! I'm not doing my family any favors by being overweight. I need to lose the weight so that I can be healthy. With heart disease, cancer, and diabetes running rampant in my family, it's not only a good idea to lose the weight, it's essential! Plus - think of all the knitting I'll get done if I pick up the needles every time I want to snack! Here goes.. deep breath: DAY 1

Most of my poor eating habits have stemmed from two main issues: 1.) The constant stress of having a special needs child. Those without special needs children will never understand how heartbreaking, stressful, and exhausting it is to live special needs 24/7. (Of course, with the tremendous challenges we face, come great rewards and an exceptional child whom we love more than life itself!) I don't drink, smoke, do drugs, or any other self-destructive, self-medicating behaviors. EXCEPT eating. I can't explain it, but Twinkies are soothing when you can't verbally vent your frustration and you don't want to hurt anyone. So I eat, feel better, and don't hurt other people. -Especially my son. I can't tell him how hard it is to be his mommy. That would be unnecessary and cruel. He doesn't need to hear it. His life is tough enough without dealing with my problems. -AND- 2.) The vigors of being a mom, wife, and until recently, fulltime employee. It was cheaper and easier to throw prepackaged foods into the oven and serve. Now that I am a SAHM, I have found that I enjoy cooking and preparing dinners from scratch -so that won't be an obstacle anymore. However, it is STILL cheaper to buy unhealthy foods than healthier ones. Drat! So, time for more constructive ways to vent. I have joined 2 knitting groups. I have vowed to pick up the needles every time I am frustrated or upset. And I have vowed to put DOWN the Twinkies.

Oh and I just have to say what a terrific, supportive hubby I have. When I told him I wanted to re-join WW and start on an exercise program, the first thing he said is, "Don't do it for me. I think you're beautiful just how you are." Of course he's a bit biased - but God do I love him for it!


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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Itchin' to start new projects!!

Have you ever been inspired to start new projects after browsing through Ravelry and seeing the awesome patterns associated with the yarns in your stash? I am! But, I have a pumpkin I need to finish; socks; a shawl... I need to cast on the Knitting Meets Crochet scarf for my the KAL they are doing at Knit One. I would also love to cast on the Noble Cowl pattern. I now have enough sock yarn to keep me quite busy all winter. ARGH! Must focus on finishing projects. I NEED to get this sock done this week. I'd like to CO the other sock right away so that I don't forget how to make the socks and also so that I actually have a pair. I need to finish the shawl for my grammie. I need to finish up my pumpkin before Halloween. Okay, I think I need to join 'ADD Knitters Anonymous.' Anyone with me?

UPDATE:
I went ahead and CO Knitting Meets Crochet so that I could participate with the KAL. It is knitting up pretty well and really fast. Here's a pic of about 24 rows of the scarf. The Noro Silk Garden is a pleasure to knit with and feels kinds soft and squishy. The knitting part of the scarf pattern is so pretty (it doesn't photograph well - but there is some lacework with ribbing), I'm starting to think I'll wimp out with the crochet edging. We'll see once the scarf is complete.


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Sunday, October 19, 2008

A terrific birthday!!

Today is my birthday! What a terrific birthday weekend I've had.

Friday, Dh gave me a new laptop so that I didn't have to fuss with the old one and so that I'd have one that would work well with all of the computer applications I use: digiscrapping, blogging, moderating groups... He's a real sweetie and made this entire weekend just wonderful!
Yesterday, he sent me off for an entire day of knitting (while he took care of the kiddos)!! I went to the yarn shop and took part 2 of my socks class. I ACTUALLY understand how to make a sock without a pattern now! Ms. Connie, you are a magician! I turned the heel and began work on the gusset during class. After class, I stayed and sat and knit with Connie, a young lady making a hat in school colors, Victoria, and a mom trying to get a beautiful headband started for her daughter's art class. We sat and talked and knit until the shop closed at 4p! Then I came home and worked on my gusset until DH was ready for dinner. Then we went to a chinese restaurant and ate until we were all stuffed.

Today, my parents were suppossed to come and take us to dinner, but DD was sick in the morning, so we cancelled. But, DH went and bought all sorts of food to make at home for a special birthday brunch. Since then, we've all just hung out and relaxed. I finished my gusset and have started work on the foot. It's been so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday!

OH- and my old co-workers signed a birthday card that my FIL bought and sent to me! AND my FIL and MIL gave me a nice gift that I shall use to procure more yarn!

I mean really - what could be more perfect? A weekend of family, knitting, and relaxation!! I can die a happy woman now!

Below are progress pics of my sock. The top picture is a side view of the sock, heel, and gusset. The bottom pic is a front picture of the sock so you can see the beautiful colorway. BTW- the Alpaca Sox yarn I used is so beautiful (pictures don't do it justice) and so incredibly soft when knit up. I can't wait to knit more socks with it. Oh - and the bandaid is because the Addi Turbos are very pointy and my knitting is very tight and as you know I throw my yarn(English style knitting) instead of pick (Continental style knitting) so all of these come together to create SORE index fingers! But the bandaid helps to prevent injury. Plus, it is a Susan G. Komen bandaid. :)

Oh, and don't forget I have knit these socks on just ONE circular needle.. if you haven't tried magic loop, you're gonna love it!


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Thursday, October 16, 2008

To Broomstick or not to broomstick..


So I discovered Broomstick Lace, Peacock's Eye Crochet, or 'Jiffy Lace' as they called it in the '70s. Even though I have the most basic of basic crochet skills, it was pretty easy for me to pick up. I need to practice a bit more, as this this was my very first attempt. I think I will rip it out and try again. I need to practice my tension as well as my uniformity. But I can see why people are drawn to Broomstick Lace... it's so fast and relatively easy (it has to be if I picked it up this quickly). I'm just using a US size 35 knitting needle, a Crochet hook size "J," and some leftover worsted weight yarn I had in my stash. I think the pattern would be much prettier with a finer yarn, smaller needle (US size 19 or so), and smaller hook size. This was just cheapy acrylic yarn I had taking up space in my yarn bin - so it was perfect to practice.

I found some great tutorials from Stitch Diva:
Quick and Dirty Broomstick Lace
Intro to Broomstick Lace
Intro to Broomstick Lace, Part 2
Working in the Round with Broomstick Lace
Shaping with Broomstick Lace 1 - Decreasing
Shaping with Broomstick Lace 2 - Increasing

And another good one from The Art of Crochet...Teresa


Crochet Cabana and Gritty Knits have good written tutorials on Broomstick Lace. If you need a quick tutorial on single crochet (sc), double crochet (dc), or even how to get started with crochet.. Nexstitch has amazing video tutorials!

So get out there and make some neat Broomstick Lace scarves, wraps, afghan squares, and afghans!!


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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Feeling the time crunch

Okay - so I haven't found my big red "S," but I feel like I need another 12 hours in every day. SAHMs have no more free time than working moms! I feel no more relaxed or like I have any more free time than I did 6 months ago when I was teaching. DH came home last night and begged for clean undies! I have finally taken to organizing my day on Google Calendar. (I keep personal appointments private so the public can really only view my knitting classes.) When I look at it daily, I am amazed at how booked my life really is. I was gone all day Monday running errands and shuttling the munchkin to preschool and back. Monday is library day for us. Oh - and in all of the rush, I forgot the knitting guild mtg. I am a member now and have still to make it to mtg! Yesterday, I missed the MOMS club mtg. in favor of straightening up the apartment a bit before heading off to the Autism Resource Center for the day. Today, the munchkin has dance this morning, then a QUICK lunch (we have about 20 minutes to find and eat lunch and drive to next activity), and then preschool. I'm supossed to have my hair done this afternoon while munchkin is in preschool - but my socks class is on Saturday and I have had NO time to do my homework - so I will likely reschedule my appointment in favor of knitting at KnitOne for an hour and a half before picking the munchkin back up. Then I have to rush home, pick up the teenager and go grocery shopping (we have NOTHING in the fridge or cupboards!). Tomorrow, I have a mtg. with the advocate in the morning and an IEP mtg. in the afternoon. Friday is my day to clean, clean, clean the apartment!! Saturday I have knitting class and it's Sweetest Day! And Sunday my parents are coming to take me to dinner for my birthday! So please, God - can I have 12 more hours every day? ;P


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Monday, October 13, 2008

Feeling the need to ORGANIZE

OMG - I'm actually feeling the need to organize my knitting needles, notions, yarn, and crochet hooks! I know, I know.. it's like Bizarro-World from Seinfeld. But to be honest, all of my scrapbooking is organized in big plastic drawers: paper, cardstock, embellishments, inks and chalks, pens and markers.. My digiscrapping is organized in files by designer (so I know who to give credit to) and then in a Digital Scrapbooking File. My general crafts are organized on a 6 shelf system: decoupage and adhesives; die cutter machines, paper cutters, and die cuts; buttons, bobbles, and various embellishments; et cetera.. I have so much stuff to keep organized. Even my sewing desk is organized. So why have I not taken the time to organize my knitting? Who knows? But I seem to have bags and baskets, needles and notions all OVER the place and shoved in every crevice.
So I took the first step toward getting organized: I bought 20 zipper pencil cases (I got them for $0.20/each) and a paint pen. I wrote on the back of each case the needle size in US and mm and then put my circs in the correct pouch. I wish I had bought more cases. I had just enough for my circ. needle collection, but now need some for DPNs (which I may just give away since I've discovered the joys of ML), crochet hooks, cables for my interchangeable needles, cable needles, and notions. I bought a heavy-duty 4" binder and will place all of my zipper cases in it. I also just bought a 2" binder, tabs, and page protectors for my patterns and a 1 1/2" binder for my notions. (I had a pattern binder but for the life of me cannot find it - no big surprise there.)
I have a very functional rectangular basket for my straight needles. Now I just need to figure out a better way to store all of my yarn. So far, I buy the cheapy zipper storage bags (generic ZipLock bags) in all different sizes and store my yarn in baggies. I put all of the skeins of yarn from the same dye lot in the same zipper bag. This way, I can gauge if I have enough of one yarn to complete a project or not. I also put my entire project in a ziplock bag and write on the front of the bag the date I started the project, the yarn I am using (including the colorway, dye lot), the needles I am using, and the pattern name. I also place the label of the yarn in the bag so I have the washing and sometimes blocking information. However, these bags have overtaken my bitty apartment. They are under the bed, in the closet, in my night stand, my knitting bags, a canvas storage box, and huge basket, and a rolling suitcase. There has to be a better way. I may actually start using the 'Stash' feature on Ravelry so that I am able to put yarn away and NOT forget that I have it. (Been there, done that - and have too much yarn because of it.)
This is my mission this week. Get organized so I can enjoy a winter of care-free knitting. My husband thinks I'm such a geek.. and he's right. I'm a total knitting geek, but I love every minute of it!

UPDATE:
'Went to Office Max and bought up the rest of the CLEARANCE zipper pouches!! I have finished organizing my needles, notions, and patterns. The white binder has my circs in it; the pink binder my notions, crochet hooks, cable needles, and DPNs; and the black binder has all of my patterns and instructions booklets for various needle art items. I will have to tackle the yarn tomorrow.. :)


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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Started My Camo Socks

Well, I took Ms. Connie's ML sock class this morning and am on my way to creating a pair of alpaca socks! So far, I've only knit the cuff and have knit 5 rows of the ss body. The cuff has a little flouncy flouncy action - giving it more 'give' and a feminine look. I think I will like these socks. Now if I could learn to knit less tightly, I could save my index finger from the constant stabbing of my needle.. dare to dream.

P.S. I'm SO loving the complete absence of DPNs!


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Getting the bug..

I am getting the bug.. the inquisitive, creative bug. I have signed up for a couple of classes. I think most of this is due to my increase in knitting since I've become a SAHM and my knitting confidence rising since I am finishing projects. Now I am hungry to learn MORE. I am taking a sock class at Knit One this morning! 'Got me some beautiful Alpaca Sox yarn in Camo colorway and my trusty Addi US #2 needles - I'm good to go!

For November, I signed up for a Beginning Crochet class from Knit One as well as a sewing class from JoAnn's. But I still want to learn MORE. Here's my wishlist of sorts:

Locker Hooking
Quilting
Punch Needle
Cake Decorating
Embroidery
Rug Hooking

Of course, it will take alot of time to learn all of these things.. I want to really give each new skill enough time for me to learn it correctly and progress in my skill level with it before diving into a new skill. But it is just so amazing to me how I started wanting to learn to make some simple crafts that I saw on DIY --->scrapbooking--->paper crafting--->decoupage--->rubber stamping--->craft sewing--->knitting--->crochet--->more advanced sewing---> everything else I am wanting to learn. Once the craft bug bites you, you're doomed! (And so is your closet space, your pocketbook, and your finger nails.)


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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Finished my Curly Purly Pumpkin


I finally finished it! Just in time for the KAL to end!! Nothing like waiting until the last minute. The ladders I experienced early in the project disappeared and my pumpkin looks pretty good. And the best part - NO DPNs!! You gotta love Magic Loop!


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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

So much to knit.. so little time

So, I am the Moderator of the Ravelry Group, Moving Beyond Rectangles. And as such, I thought it only appropriate to start a Fall KAL. Of course the end date for this KAL is Oct. 31st and of course, I have not yet completed MY KAL project... So I picked it up today and started knitting it. Our KAL is to knit a pumpkin. I choose The Curly Purly Pumpkin. But instead of using DPNs, decided to go with Magic Loop on a pr. of US #11, 32" circs. I'm knitting it in Red Heart Soft Solids - Tangerine. Now, I have started a ML sock (pictured here awhile ago) but my ML is a tad rusty. After several attempts at this pumpkin using ML - I found that I kept twisting my first row of stitches. UGH! I put it down for 3 weeks. I just picked it up and tried again and NO twisting (score!) BUT I am finding that on one side and one side only I have ladders. EGADS! Since it is early in the project, I will try to correct this by knitting the first 2 stitches on that side more tightly. If it continues to have ladders all the way up, I'll have to frog. Right now, the ladders would not even be seen because this part of the project will be the bottom of the pumpkin. We'll see. Having to FROG and try again is not the worst thing.. I may get good at ML after this pumpkin. I'd sure like to say that I've at least finished the KAL since I am the one who initiated it. ;P

I also just started yet another shawl.. yes I still have 2 that need a-finishing.. but my grammie would like a shawl and I can't really say no to the woman. She's like a saint. So I traveled near to Knit One and purchased some Farmhouse Yarns 'I am Allergic to Wool' yarn in khaki colorway (2 hanks to be exact). I am using the same pattern I used for my Halloween Shawl. It's pretty simple and since it's on size 19 needles, it will knit up in a jif.


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Monday, October 6, 2008

One Shawl Down.. Two More to Go




I finished my Magic Ball Halloween Shawl in the car on the way home to Ohio Friday night. I couldn't wait to get back to PA so that I could take a pic of it and post it on my blog. I'm sure my neighbors thought I was insane - Picture this: Woman in flannel jammies, standing on her balcony taking pics of a crazy looking knitted piece in various positions on every piece of available patio furniture. It wasn't until I looked over that I noticed that my neighbor(s) were out on their balconies enjoying coffee while I was fussing with this shawl; trying to make sure my 3 yo didn't leap off the balcony (she climbs up our adirondack chairs which sit against the posts and spindles); shooing my curious puggle away; and trying to find the right light setting for my camera. It must have been a sight to see. BTW - I purposely left this shawl unblocked. I don't think that it would've blocked well and the stretchy, gauziness of this shawl combined with the multiple fibers is in line with the Bohemian feel of the project.

I am still finishing up Ms. Maddie's Magic Princess Shawl and the SS wool shawl. I'm really dissatisfied with the plainness of the SS shawl.. I may frog and try a different pattern. The variegated colorway screams to be showcased without being overpowered by a complex pattern - but I'm not loving the SS pattern at all. It just seems boring.

I got my Stampin' Up! shipment on Friday.. I had to wait ALL weekend to get back home and tear into it! I got:

Thoroughly Thankful Stamp Set
Craft Stampin' Pads Earth Elements
Buttons Earth Elements
Stampin' Embossing Powder Gold

I hope I get to make some handmade Thanksgiving cards with these!! Since we will not be traveling home for Thanksgiving, I'd like to send something special and handmade to the families.

Oh - and just for a bit of fun.. Check out the Stringativity blog.. this ingenius knitter, following in the footsteps of one Ms. Pearl-McPhee, actually got Barack Obama to hold up her sock-in-progress for a couple of pics! AWESOME!


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Friday, October 3, 2008

Halloween Shawl / Stash Buster



Here is the Magic Ball Halloween Shawl I am working on. I'll have used 2 hanks of Be Sweet Magic Ball when it is complete. It's really hard to see the shape here because I worked the shawl on straights (couldn't find US size 19 in circs), so I can't show you how wide it actually is. In the last picture you can see the bobbles that are a part of one of the fibers in the hank. I like that this project turns out looking like a controlled mess. There are bobbles hanging off asymmetrically in the shawl. I hated knitting the ribbon part - the stitch definition is not good, especially since I choose to knit with such large needles (or 'telephone poles' as Celeste put it). ;P I do really like this yarn however. But if you need complete control over symmetry and you have a need for all of your stitches to look exactly the same and even - then this is NOT the yarn for you. It's kind of a bohemian effect.

This got us all thinking at Wednesday afternoon knitting group - why couldn't one just create their own magic balls using stash? We all have bits of yarn left over from projects that we save but cannot make a complete project out of. Why not create a magic ball with our leftovers? Really a magic ball is just a bunch of different, coordinating, fibers that are actually tied together. How easy is that? What a great yarn swap that would be! Everyone creates their own magic ball and swaps with someone else. Of course, you'd need to make enough for a small project (200 yds or thereabouts). But what a cute, stash-busting idea. OR, it would be fun to have a group get together and bring all of their left over yarns and sit for an entire afternoon creating different magic balls! How fun! Oh, the wheels are a-turning..


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