Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm always the 'difficult' one..






















So I completed the first lesson of the magic loop socks class and Voila! I have knit them both inside out!! I feel like a complete idiot! According to Suseeq- a moderator for Knitting Help, I am knitting with the needles away from me instead of toward me. This will take some getting used to. Since I have never knit anything in the round before, I was missing this vital piece of info. You live and you learn! (At any rate, I guess the worse that could happen is that I knit the entire sock inside out and have to invert. At least I have gotten the hang of the basics.)

In other news, I got to visit a couple of LYS this week while in PA. First I visited Yarns Unlimited in Sewickley as it is much closer to me than the Pittsburgh shops. It was a cute little store jam-packed with goodies and really friendly, attentive staff. I picked up a couple pair of Addis and was on my way! :)

Next, I visited Knit One in Squirrel Hill. It was much larger and very colorful!! My kids loved it! They gave Maddie some markers (big mistake for a 3 yo) and Brian some yarn and needles to keep them both busy while mom shopped. Brian wowed them with his seed stitch swatch and Maddie lost the caps to their markers (this is to be expected). It was a good trip and I picked up some supplies. I am so excited to hear that they will be opeing a shop in the Cranberry/Mars area. I love this shop, but with gas prices (not to mention the traffic) doubt I would venture to Squirrel Hill often.

I picked up 4 skeins of Nashua Creative Focus Superwash in Camel for a wrap I intend to make someday.. I also picked up some stitch markers (how do I always lose these puppies?), some Crystal Palace DPNs for an upcoming class I am taking from KnittingMitchie at The Fuzzy Lamb, and Knit Chek (gauge and needle size checker).


I picked up the gauge because I finally procured my beloved KnitPicks Options needle set. The only gripe: the size is not etched into the needles, so you have to either make sure the needles don't socialize with one another as not to incorrectly pair up -OR- keep your size checker handy. Since I cannot trust that I would be organized enough to sequester said needles, I thought the latter would be best.

I have also discovered that I am a needle junkie as well as a yarn junkie... I have Denise Interchangeables, KnitPicks Options Interchangeables, Addis, Crystal Palace, Lantern Moon, and even cheaper plastic, bamboo, rosewood, aluminum, & acrylic needles.. I love 'em all. Of course, I have preferences, but like any good mom, I would never let my needles know who my favorite is.

Awww.. so much to knit, so little time. ;P


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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Podcasts and Audiobooks are the stuff of Heaven

Again, I am not techno-savvy - but I am trying. I have decided rather than to be a passive knitter, I'd jump right in. Beginning with Ravelry! I joined some groups and started posting on forums. That's how I discovered some TERRIFIC blogs, podcasts, and vodcasts. (This also lead to my discovery of audiobooks!) I am so hooked on knitting podcasts. Especially, Y-Knit, She-Knits, and CRL. Today, I listened to the hysterical Y-Knit podcast: Hot for Harlot. If podcasts were yarn, Y-Knit would be Qiviut! I also downloaded Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off and listened to it all morning (she narrates the audiobook) whilst scrubbing dishes and washing teeny finger prints off of my walls. -Sorry it wasn't more glamorous than that Stephanie - I would have like to say that I listened to your glorious audiobook while lying on a long stretch of white beach being fanned by bronzed, muscular gods who had a keen appreciation for my Rubenesque figure and Addi Turbos...

(Wait, did I just actually say that outloud?) All I can say is AWESOME! I found out alot about my knitting personality. (For those of you familiar with her book, I am a process knitter who does, infact, take up permanent residence in The Land of Knitting.) Since there is absolutely no hope of The Harlot finding her way to my kitchen, listening to her audiobook was the next best thing. The Harlot's literary adventure really spoke to me. I bought a copy and sent it to my knitting teacher and all-things-needlearts guru, Linda. It is so true about how non-knitters perceive us: as annoying dorks who obsess way too much about sticks and yarn. My husband even compares us to a cult. He says he doesn't understand why we all seek fellowship in the pursuit of all things fuzzy and he feels that there must be tainted kool-aid at all of the sit n knits. Tainted kool-aid. At sit n knits? PUHLEASE! We drink tea.

In other news.. I completed the Cryptic Message Dishcloth KAL (it was a 6 day KAL)from the Rachel's Knitting Room Yahoo group. I think it says: BCR8VE or be creative.. I took a pic, but you can't really tell from the pic what it looks like. But I'll post it just the same:






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Thursday, June 19, 2008

OMG - Lovin' the Adagio Tea!!

Every time I knit, I have the urge to sip tea. Well lately I have been very interested in the health benefits of tea (especially green teas and white teas). And like with knitting, I am a tea novice. Sure, I partake in the ever-so-elegant Lipton tea bags. Sometimes, I even drink tea from Starbucks.. But I thought I would branch out and try loose tea and all it has to offer.

I came across Adagio teas. I ordered this neat teapot called, 'ingenuiTEA.' It holds 16 oz. of tea. (You can get one that holds 32 oz. as well.) It is the coolest thing. I know alot of tea snobs will be turning their noses up at Adagio and this handy little device. To them I say: Pfhuh! You take this plastic contraption and add 16 oz. of water. You can microwave the water right in the cup. (Their loose tea containers tell you exactly how hot the water should be for that particular tea and how long that tea should be steeped.) I chose to make Masala Chai today (a freebie the company threw in my order). It said that the water needed to be 212 degrees and that the tea should steep for 5 minutes. So I heated the water until boiling and then placed 2 tsp of the loose tea directly in this device/teapot. (NO filters!!) Then after 5 minutes (or you can steep to taste), I placed this entire device ON TOP of my tea cup. The mechanism in it disbursed the tea (downward) into the cup while automatically filtering out the loose tea. So the loose tea stays in the teapot. This is GREAT for people who just make tea for themselves, like me! No one else I know loves to have tea when they are at my house.

I ordered the green tea sampler.. not too pricey at $14 for 6 (sampler sized- I think each is a 2 oz. container) canisters of loose tea plus this teapot for only $33. They also threw in a sampler canister of the Masala Chai (a really good, spicy black tea) for me to try (FREE). On the back of their packing slip, it explains how to make tea (for novices like myself). Plus, they gave me a $5 gift certificate to give to any friend I wanted. (I gave it to my dear friend, Charlotte, who is studying hard away from home all summer!!) AND you get points for every dollar you spend. When you've spent $100, you get a $10 gift certificate. They aren't THAT pricey. And it IS pretty good tea. (IMHO)

You can purchase their tea in almost any flavor or type of tea and sized container (2oz canister - 16 oz. bag). Check it out! I'm going to go sip some tea right now!! I mean really, what could be better than a cup of really good tea and a pair of Addis? Seriously.


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Magic Loop Ankle Socks




















I am taking an online ML socks class from KnittinMitchie and decided to play around with ML knitting. Truth be told, I didn't want to be the one student in the class who couldn't 'get' it. So after 5 unsuccessful tries and an unraveled and knotted skein (DD was left alone in living room with said skein when it magically became unraveled and knotted up. The culprit was apparently stealth because she had no idea how or what had happened to my yarn. Imagine.), I decided to try, try again this morning. Here is the first 24 rounds (cuff). Beyond that, I cannot do it without the class and the help of Guru KnittinMitchie. I am using Knit One Crochet Too's Wick yarn in the soft petal colorway. I love knitting with this yarn!! I have read that the color pools on this yarn and I think I can see that it will - but I'm kinda diggin the fun colors. Now, I am a sock virgin as well as an any-shape-other-than-rectangles virgin, but I can tell you that I am in love with ML knitting. Once I got the hang of it, it was so much more easy and less cumbersome than I had first thought.


















I used a couple of video tutorials (KH and the Knit Witch )on ML since I can't read instructions and just do it. (I'm totally too kinestic for that.) I know these pics are upside down - but I couldn't find my camera (packed away) and used my cellphone to shoot these. I should've turned the work the correct way while shooting, but you get the idea. (This is a cuff down sock.)


















Here you can get an idea of the yarn. (Now in a ball after unraveling incident.) And of course, my beloved Addi Turbos are pictured! This is the first time I've ever really knit with them and I LOVE them! I still love my Denise Interchangeables, but the Addis are so light weight and smooth to knit with. If only I could afford a complete set in every cable length. Maybe I'll sell some plasma. ;P


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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Having a mini-nervous breakdown

I've got a mere 5 days to get my entire house ready for the move. Of course, DH is in Cranberry Twp. already so he is not here to help right now (he'll be able to help on Saturday and Sunday). My house looks like nomads came in and camped. I am so overwhelmed by all that is left to do, I want to cry. Monday and yesterday, I stayed pretty much curled up in an afghan on the couch with a box of Kleenex in one hand and meds in the other. It seems the sinus infection I had dripped down the back of my throat into my chest and now I have a bronchitis. The good news is that the antibiotic I am taking is a broad spectrum that will kill anything related to the bronchitis. The bad news: I lost 2 whole days to resting and feeling crummy. Today, I still feel pretty crummy, but good enough to shower and start working on the house.

Meanwhile.. the kiddos are driving me insane as well.. Every scrap of mess I clean up gets redistributed before I can get to the next mess. Yarn therapy would be so great right now if I knew the kids wouldn't destroy the house whilst I was knitting. (Dare to dream) I think I am just oversensitive today because I don't feel well.

Today's mission: get all of laundry packed up; clean out closets on first floor; actually make dinner (we've been eating pizza and fast food - yuck!); and have first floor clean and presentable.

God help me. :}


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Monday, June 16, 2008

Missed WWKIP Day! :(

Due to a wonderful case of Strep throat and associated sinus infection.. I spent my WWKIP DAY on the couch, sleeping.. DH woke me up to take my antibiotics and my prednisone. I felt so crappy all day. It really disappointed Brian, who wanted so badly to go. I promised we would, and then I felt so crummy Friday night - I ended up going to the walk-in clinic and seeing a doc there who ran a quik-strep that ended up positive. He told me that I couldn't be around anyone for 48 hours until I was no longer contagious. BUMMER!!

So I slept all day Saturday and then Sunday afternoon, we went to see the families for Father's Day. It was a nice day, but I still feel worn out. My throat is oodles better, but I feel like a truck ran over me.

So that's how I spent my weekend. How lack luster. The first year I want to get involved in WWKIP and it's a bust!! Well, there are more important things in life than knitting (not many) and I should be thankful to have such a caring DH who took care of me and the kiddos all day Saturday so I could rest and feel better. There's always next year. :(


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Friday, June 13, 2008

Technology alludes me..

I enjoy hand knitting (as oppossed to machine knitting or looming) because it is a return to simpler times. It's the same way my grandmother, great-grandmother, and my great-great-grandmother made their garments. They knitted and crocheted. Infact, they would get together in ladies' circles and crochet beautiful lace to give as wedding presents. They would sew, quilt, and knit or crochet almost everything they had. Now, I am not a purist. Nor am I competent enough to sew, quilt, knit, or crochet anything of any value at this point. But the feeling of yarn (or fabric) in your hands is magical. The moment I held needles and yarn in my hands, I fell in love. I knew that I would knit until I die. (Bury me with my Addis, I say!) But now I have to actually give in, a little, to technology. Sure, I know how to post to a blog; check my email; purchase yarn on the internet... but now I have to learn to Skype!

KnittinMitchie on Knittinghelp.com is hosting online knitting classes. {{{JOY}}} I am so excited about this, I could just burst. But then I realized that I need to learn to Skype. Oy! I bought a headset and camera. We'll see how it goes.

Also, there are a tremendous wealth of knitting design softwares available. I have started to check out the Scrapbooking softwares, so naturally I decided to check out the knitting softwares for design. Digital scrapbooking is a tad different than designing knitwear and making knitting charts, but it all falls under technology. Almost an AutoCad for Knitwear designers if you will. I am in no way ready to design garments. (Not unless they have no shaping and consist of rectangles only - LOL) But it is a good idea to become familiar with the various technologies that assist us in this 'simple' art of knitting.

And the technology goes on and on... a friend of mine just bought a sewing/embroidery machine that costs more than my car!! I was so confused by all of the buttons and the computerized technology. We stood there and stared at it for the longest time. I think we both heard the angels singing as she set it up for the first time. Before she even used it, she uttered.. "Next, I am buying a computerized long-arm quilter." And there you have it. Technology is infused in our 'simple' fiber arts. You can't escape it. You might as well embrace it (as long as your checkbook will allow, that is).


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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Where are all of the yarn shops???? and other Pittsburgh/PA rants

SO... officially I was in Coraopolis to peek at the local neighborhoods and look for suitable housing. UNofficially, I was scouting out yarn shops. So, I DID happen upon Yarns Unlimited in Sewickley (For all of you NON-Pittsburghers, like myself, I was told it is pronounced 'swickly.'). I didn't get to go in because as it turns out, Sewickley is a bustling little town and I could not find parking. It wasn't until later that I figured out that there must have been alleyways to parking lots that I did not at first glance notice.

I did not venture to the Pittsburgh yarn shops (maybe next trip), but did head up to Cranberry Twp. in Butler Co. Are there NO yarn shops in Butler? I mean, they have the usual chains, Michaels, JoAnns.. but I did not find any local yarn shops. If there are some, please post a comment here!! I must say that I fell in love with Cranberry Twp.!! It's so cute. There are so many shops, but it has a small town feel. I think I shall make this my home. (Even with previous mention of lack of yarn shops.)

I must point out that in PA, there are stop lights on poles (like stop signs) just on the side of the road. What the heck is that?? People park in the same direction on both sides of a two way street. And there are stop signs on the side of the road (not even at an insection). Needless to say, I am paranoid to drive anywhere in Pittsburgh now. Head ups Pittsburghers: OHIO IS NOT THIS WAY. It's so much easier to drive in Ohio.

While I was visiting the gorgeous state of PA, my car radio navigation (GM Nav Radio) went berserk and took me on a tour of Pittsburgh. It couldn't find me and told me that I was driving through lakes and that I was in WV. Gotta get a Garmin. Soon. Fortunately, I have SOME sense of direction and knew that I needed to go north and found a northbound artery. Somehow, I got back to my hotel. Thank God for small miracles.

All in all, I think I will love living in PA. It's so beautiful there. The people there are generally friendly. I will have to get used to everything being on a hill, cliff, or in a ravine.. but I think I'll adjust. Just give me the yarn, people!!


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Monday, June 9, 2008

OMG - SATC!!

Okay, so I have to totally rave about the Sex and the City movie!! No worries, I won't give away any tidbits.. but WOW!! Loved it! Unfortunately, other than a few scarves that I didn't get a good look at, there weren't many knitwear items to steal patterns from.. Bummer. If only Vivienne Westwood had created a knitwear wedding gown for the film.. Dare to dream, dumplings... Dare to dream.

I did take the kidlets to see a movie the whole family could see: Kung Fu Panda. It was cute. Again, no knitwear inspirations to speak of in this flick. I think SATC was a little closer.

Driving the clan to Pittsburgh tomorrow to puruse neighborhoods and peek at the locals. I hope to find some place for us to live. It's going to be real hard to duplicate Wooster in NW PA.. but something tells me that we will like wherever we live.

Of course, I will HAVE to check out the local fiber community. I mean how irresponsible would it be to go to a big city and NOT check out their yarn shops?! ;P


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Friday, June 6, 2008

A type of courage

Courage is a big word. It means different things to different people. With respect to myself, it means buying a bathing suit for the first time in years and actually putting it on; walking OUT of the bathroom; and going outside with it on (sans parka to cover it). I actually put on a bathing suit today. I felt really self-conscious at first, but then I figured: This is ME and I'd better get used to liking me no matter what shape I am. I just happen to be the shape of an amoeba right now (not clearly defined), but so be it! Neighbors be damned!

I am starting my Weight Watchers journey AFTER the big move to Pittsburgh this weekend.. I've been so anxious about meeting new people (knitting group) because I have felt so awful about my appearance. Then I thought to myself, if I can't accept me, who will? I'd love to lose oodles of weight and look slim and trim as well as be healthier over all - but if I don't, I'd better start being able to face myself every morning.

So today, I stopped 'waiting' until I was thinner to buy clothes and a bathing suit. I went shopping! I got only a few things, but I decided that no matter the size, I was worthy of a little fun and beauty. Someone who shall remain nameless once told me that if I lost weight, she'd buy me a dress.. You know what? I don't need to lose weight to buy a new dress. I may not be perfect, but perfect is boring (of course I have to say this, I'm a beginner knitter and none of my projects are perfect!) and life is too short not to live it.

So, I will eat healthier. NO DIETING!! I will join Weight Watchers and re-learn how to eat sensibly. I will love myself no matter what. Maybe now I won't put off knitting a sweater for myself (always afraid it wouldn't be the right size by the time I finished it).

Life is too wonderful to waste wishing and hoping. Live it. Do it. Be it. Love it. TODAY! :)


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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

True Colors: Asperger's Syndrome in the Autism Spectrum

Brian's Story

Brian is my WONDERFUL Aspie kiddo - also a knitter!! He is the reason I learned to knit. Knitting really helps to soothe his anxiety and is something he can do alone or with a group. I'll post some pics of him knitting when I unpack my camera!


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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder!!

I have been CRAZY busy trying to get things DONE!!! I first had to wrap up my class for the year (medical assisting instructor). I needed to get the students through the end and get them off into the workforce! Then I needed to get things ready in our house because we are relocating to Pittsburgh!! OY! So I have been sifting through what seems like endless mounds of what can only be described as 'crap' trying to decide what goes and what stays.. In all of this mess, I realized that I haven't picked up the needles in 3 or so months (FOREVER)..

So I went out on a little retail therapy trip to my NEW fave local yarn shop, Calla Lily, in Wooster! Uhhh... can you say total yarn crush?! I absolutely love this little shop! I've only been in there once really.. and I got to meet the owner (Donna) and an employee (Becky - sorry if this title is wrong). They were so amazingly awesome (They sent home some yarn for my Asperger's Syndrome son who knits! What sweeties!!), it makes me sad to move to the big city of Pittsburgh. I hope I can find a local yarn shop out there that has the same hometown feel: friendly, accessible, and fun! (No I don't get paid to advertise for Calla Lily! Hee-Hee) But seriously, it's the type of place that I could envision Stephanie Pearl-McPhee dropping in on. It seems as though it wouldn't be hard to find local yarn shops with terrific owners and staff.. but I spoke with a yarn shop owner recently ('bout 40 miles from my home) and she was more rude than the day is long! I was so turned off by her persona that I refuse to go to her shop! I mean how can anyone be unhappy around that much yarn?! ;P

So after I bought some beautiful skeins of Rowan Tapestry for a summer weight shawl (yes, I know what you're all saying: KPG, didn't you say you wouldn't start more projects? Cut me some slack, it's yarn therapy!), I rushed it home and played with some different stitches and needle sizes to determine how I want to design this shawl. 'Still haven't decided.. but playing is so much fun! I think being away from my yarn and needles has made me even fonder of knitting (is that possible?). Hey, if I have to join Weight Watchers and give up Twinkies, than the smallest compensation should be that I get to knit all I want. After all, Rowan is fat free. So why not?!

Meanwhile, like any true yarn addict, yarn is strewn about my entire house. Unfortunately, my hubby has given me the daunting task of PACKING it all away. We're going to be in temp housing (could be up to 8 months or more) and all of my precious babies (skeins and needles) are going to be locked up in a storage facility somewhere... Oh well. I am taking an emergency bag of various knitting projects so that I don't completely go bonkers. I mean really.. DH can't expect me to live without my yarn and needles. Dear God that would be unnecessary torture!

To the ladies of 'Calla Lily': I hope you read this!! I hope your store really takes off! You have such a little gem there. You're all so nice and friendly. I hope to visit the store soon.. (Maybe get in a sit n knit!!)


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