Monday, July 28, 2008

Can't wait for a return to normalcy

As I was packing up all of my craft supplies and yarn (sniff, sniff), I realized how much I really do miss crafting. The kiddos and I usually pull out my Big Kick or my Xyron PCS, the papers, decorative scissors, and when brave, the markers - and create funky things. Both of my kids LOVE art and crafting. I can't wait until I will again have a craft room to store all of my stuff. While running errands this past weekend, I popped in The Pink Tomato and peaked at all of their precious papers! I am so jealous of all of the papercrafters that bought things from their grand opening sale. Someday, when I actually have some time and of course, some money - I plan to venture back there when I am in town. What a cute store!

I also popped in on my fave LYS, Calla Lily to see what Donna's been up to. I did by 4 skeins of yarn for some fall projects I have in que. The kiddos and I want to make some pumpkins. I'm going to help them create paper mache pumpkins and perhaps some felt pumpkins. I am going to participate in a KAL with my group (I'm the moderator), 'Moving Beyond Rectangles' on Ravelry in which we knit pumpkins. I've never knit in the round before (aside from ML socks), so the use of DPNs is new to me. More on that later.

Anywho.. gotta run, dumplings. The children are stirring and leaving them to their own devices for more than say, 1 minute, is a bad idea. A very bad idea.

I will post the yarn I bought at Calla Lily's when I get a chance. I left the yarn back home in OH as not to tempt me to start another project until my socks and bag are complete! Oh, and the Ravelympics are over.. devil thy name is Ravelry.


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Friday, July 25, 2008

Knit Witch presents.. Amia Yarn Company


Check out her fabulous yarns and enter to win some pretty great stuff!!


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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Never knit half asleep

So I am taking a colorworks class from The Fuzzy Lamb. It's an online class. Our first assignment was to have the base of the bag (Little Slip of a Thing) completed and be ready to start picking up stitches for class. Of course, I left my knitting bag in PA when I went back home to OH because I knew I wouldn't have time to knit. When I checked my email, I realized I was suppossed to have this done by Tuesday night's class. Then, Tuesday night I drove 3+ hours back to PA; set up my computer (the entire desk top had to be set up in my apartment - UGH!); and got online minutes before the class started. Needless-to-say I did not have my first assignment completed and ready for class. KnittinMitchie was kind enough to give me until this afternoon to be ready for an afternoon make-up class. So I knit my bag base really early in morning before anyone was awake (the only time I can really knit is when the kiddos are sleeping). Then I went back to sleep for an hour. I ended up taking a nap with Maddie in the afternoon (Brian kinda napped.. we've all been so exhausted.) and I woke up 2 hours PAST the class time! ARGH! I grabbed my project and jumped online only to find out that class was postponed until tomorrow afternoon because my instructor fell asleep too! How funny is that??

Then I started to look at my work and I could not believe how utterly crappy it looked. It didn't lack consistency in the tension on the main body of the work, but the slipped stitches on either end were of completely different tensions. With the RS facing me, the right hand side slipped stitches look HUGE. They are very uneven and I can't really tell which stitches I would use to pick up. With the WS facing me, the right hand side stitches are very even and easily counted for picking up. I noticed some funky looking stitches in the body of the work. I suspect I either twisted them or the pattern allows for this oddness (there is row 5 which is different from the rest of the pattern). At any rate, chances are good that it is MY error and not some unique design element. It has been my experience that I don't turn out my best work half asleep, after a chocolate martini, when chatting at a stitch & bitch, or if distracted at all (I'm pretty ADD when knitting).


This just supports my theory that if I had my own knitting studio (complete with sound-proof walls, plenty of storage for the stash, TV/DVD/TiVo/iPod dock to watch/listen/record my craft/knitting shows/podcasts, and time without the children, housework, and noise in general) I could possibly turn out some decent work. Of course, I can't prove said theory as sadly, I have no investors willing to support my scientific/crafting endeavors. (What has happened to this country?)


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Friday, July 18, 2008

Brian's Ribbed Bracelet



Brian (my kiddo) made me this ribbed Bracelet.. He knit a garter stitch edging followed by ribbing. He was using up some left over yarn Knit One had given to him. Pretty inventive, Bri! This is me modeling the beautiful bracelet he gave to me.


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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Craft Corps!


Vickie Howell of Knitty Gritty fame, is writing a new book called, "Craft Corps." She is looking for all different types of crafters to send email submissions about why they craft. Please take a peak and enter your submission!


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Monday, July 14, 2008

Why I Knit

My husband said a peculiar thing to me in the car on the way to PA from OH last night.. He said, "Why are you so obsessed with knitting and yarn?" And it struck me that non-knitters really have no understanding of why we choose this as a hobby. No one questions golfers. No one questions men who build hot-rods or restore cars (Heck they have cruise-ins and car shows ALL summer long.). No one questions scrapbookers or sewers. No one questions hikers or exercise fanatics. No one questions book clubs. So it was strange to me that knitting as a hobby was so mysterious. I found myself trying to explain to him why I knit and then found myself staring into a blank pair of eyes.

So why do I knit? I think for all of us knitters, it's very personal. We all have a personal connection with it. And for me especially, it has become my escape. At the end of a long and trying day, I sit down with my needles and my yarn and let it all go.

For those who do not have a special needs child - let me tell you that life is so trying, so terrifying, so rewarding, so tiring, so wonderful, and so horrible all at the same time. It's because of my son that I have learned patience and dedication. I have learned to let little things go. Things other parents would not. I pick my battles. I gush over the smallest of achievements. Day in and day out I deal with nonstop emotions. Since my son is Asperger's, we deal with meltdowns, constant frustration on both ends, and lots of set backs. I laugh when I hear parents talk about how they are about to throw in the towel because their little Johnny is mouthy; or their little Janey just brought home a "C." Their problems seem so small to me. (I'm not diminishing them. They are real problems and they are difficult for those in the situation.) It's so different for us.

But with all of the bad comes the good. The very good. My son doesn't know how to lie. He doesn't try to ever deceive or hurt anyone. He doesn't follow the crowd. He does what he knows is right. He has a very innate sense of right and wrong. He wants everyone to be happy. He wants everyone to be taken care of. He likes cuddles and hugs from his mom (when no other 13 yo would put up with it). He tries so hard every day despite all of the setbacks and the meltdowns. He STILL gets up each day and does it all over again. How many of us can say that we would be able to do that?

Nonetheless, the emotional rollercoaster that is my life is never ending. Knitting is constant. It's peaceful. It has a wonderful sense of community and belonging. It builds your self-esteem. It gives you a creative outlet. An emotional outlet. At least it does these things for me. When I am dealing with an Aspie meltdown and a toddler temper tantrum all at the same time coupled with the stress of trying to prep a house to sell (in a market that is the worst it's been in 30 years), the responsibilites I have as a SAHM and wife.. Knitting gives me a way to de-stress and let it all go. For me, it's better than Xanax. Better than therapy. Better than a good glass of wine. Better than a massage or a facial. Better than chocolate. And even better than... well anyway.

It gives me a social network. A group of ladies connected by this craft. As a mom of an Aspie, I can tell you that other moms have shunned me. I don't fit into their perfect world. Every time I try to network with other "normal" moms, they find themselves uncomfortable with my child and I never hear from them again. Knitters not only accept me, but they welcome me to the group. They welcome all who knit, crochet, or enjoy fiber arts. They REALLY enjoy sharing their craft with others.

So I guess there is no ONE reason why I knit. But knitting is the ONE reason I stay relaxed, happy, and sane. :)


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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Making progress on the ML socks (FINALLY)



After my well-documented FROG fest, I decided to relax and give my sock another shot. I paid attention and worked slowly and voila! I finally got the cuff, heel flap, and turning the heel completed. Now I just have to wait until next month to learn how to knit the gusset!


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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

FROG is a four-letter word!

These magic loop socks have really got me in a tizzy! First, I knit the cuff without any problems - perfect stitches.. good gauge. Until I realized that I knit them inside out. Then I figured that it would be enough to simply invert the socks when it came time to knit the heel flap and turn the heel. But alas, I knit the heel flap wrong (misread the instructions). I then decided, if I am going to FROG it (For all of you non-knitters to FROG is to rip out.. rip it, rip it.. like a frog), I might as well learn how to knit the darned sock right side out.

A few days later, I got an extra dose of knitting class from KnittinMitchie so that I could fully understand how she did ML knitting.. She was pulling out the back needle, not the front needle as I had been doing. So I decided to try to knit the way she does. I knit and FROGGED; knit and FROGGED; knit and FROGGED until I realized that I was having issues with the initial rounds. I was twisting the stitches and knitting half inside out and half rightside out. Then I knit and FROGGED another 20 times or so before deciding that I would give up and re-take the class. (ML drop-out.. I can just hear the music from Grease's Beauty School Drop Out playing - only substitute the words 'Magic Loop' for 'Beauty School.') I finally cast on once more and I got it! It just clicked and I was knitting the sock the correct way. Until I realized that I had accidentally created a hole by doing a YO that wasn't suppossed to there. FROG, FROG, FROG! I worked all afternoon to cast on and knit the cuff and heel flap and then turn the heel so that I could move on to the gusset with my class.. but only got to the heel flap.

I joined the gusset class tonight anyway but had to quit because I really need to do it to understand it. And since I haven't even turned my heel yet, I am far off. THEN - midway through the heel flap - I dropped a stitch and noticed a twisted stitch. FROG, FROG, FROG.

These socks will be the death of me. I will lay in my casket with my Addis, my ML ankle sock pattern, and a ball of yarn. My Epitaph will read, "She never made it to the gusset. 'Frogged the sock 100 times."

I am too far behind my classmates to be ready to complete the sock for the next class. I think I will retake the class in Aug. when she offers it. She's probably dreading having me in anymore of her classes. Sorry Christine. You're a great teacher! I'm just a lousy student!


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Top Ten Reasons Knitting is Better than Therapy



10.) Yarn doesn't nod and ask you how you feel about that.
9.) You don't have to work through your issues.. you can just poke things with pointy sticks
8.) You can get more than one hour of yarn therapy for that $350
7.) You don't blame your mother for all of your knitting mistakes
6.) It is perfectly acceptable to conduct your yarn therapy at Starbucks.. psychotherapy, not so much
5.) The only shock therapy you endure is with wool, metal needles, and a fast hand
4.) The only chemicals you put into your body are tea, coffee, martinis, or chocolate.. and you can take them DURING therapy
3.) Your insurance premiums won't increase
2.) You can enjoy yarn therapy on vacation; in your jammies; in bed; on the train/bus/subway; in the park; or at work (secretly).
AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON KNITTING IS BETTER THAN THERAPY IS.....







1.) You can't fondle your therapist


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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New Acquisitions...

As I am acquiring new skills, it is only natural that I'd acquire new items.. (Just keep telling yourself that your stash is under control and there is no reason why you shouldn't add to it..) First, I got my shipment of yarn from Argosy Yarns. I got 1 hank each of their 'Lotus Blossom' yarn in Summer Romance and in Sienna to use for my Mastering DPNs class that I am taking. I only needed one hank, but truth be told, I was so excited that I may someday master DPNs, that I bought a second hank to make more of whatever I make in class with the first skein. Argosy Yarns was generous enough to include a complimentary hank of their 'Bonsai Bamboo' yarn in Old Rose. It is also a sport weight yarn. I do not know what I'll do with it yet, but I'm sure with the help of Ravelry, I'll figure it out!

Also, My 16 pair of Addis came in the mail yesterday. I won them on an Ebay auction!! I got them in 32 inch length so that I can do more Magic Loop projects! (Now if only I could get the hang of Magic Loop!) They are so beautiful.. I stared at them for 10 minutes. I can't wait to use them!

I also got some Bernat Satin Sport Weight in Meadow. I got this yarn to again practice DPNs.. once I learn them. I thought it was a pretty color for socks. I have used Bernat Satin before. It does have a nice sheen and makes your projects look very beautiful and new.

I also purchased some Magic Loop Sock patterns from iKnitiative.com. I ordered: Basic Magical Socks, Polka Dot Socks, and Bamboo Rib Socks via digital download. It was $7/pattern, but I received the digital link almost immediately and I know I will use and reuse these patterns. I hope I get good at this magic loop thing soon!


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