Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Learn to Knit

Some of my non-knitting friends want me to show them how to knit.  And since I don't live close by, I created a few videos.  These videos are suitable for complete newbies.  If you've already learned to CO, knit, purl, and BO, these are not for you.







Monday, October 24, 2011

Sneak Peek: Walnut Grove Shawl

MeerMeer from Ravelry is one of the amazing test knitters who are knitting up my Walnut Grove shawl pattern.  She completed hers!!  She did a fabulous job!!

These are the pics she took of it after blocking!  There are about 10 test knitters working hard on this shawl, a few are doing some mods that I will include in the pattern.  I'm also working on a sample myself.  To see MeerMeer's completed Walnut Grove was thrilling!  The knitters who volunteered to test knit for me are just wonderful!  They have been very constructive and have provided terrific feedback for me.  I'm so lucky to have 10 additional pair of eyes give me their perspectives on my pattern.  It's just so incredibly helpful, I can't even tell you!!!

In other news..
I went to my doc's office today and was relieved to discover that the 4 inch diameter inflammation around the flu shot injection site is just a bad allergic reaction to the flu shot.  I have to continue Benadryl, Ibuprofen, and ice for the next couple of days.  Meanwhile, I'm stuck with flu and allergy symptoms.  Hubster and DD are sick with the actual flu as well.  :(  Needless to say, I haven't felt good enough to pick up any knitting or reading in the last couple of days.  So those of you looking for reviews, please be patient.  I'm going to rest and take care of the fam for the next day or two and then life will go back to normal. :)


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Interesting Weekend

So this weekend was an interesting weekend.  Friday, I went to my doc's for my annual check-up.  I braced myself to be scolded about my weight gain.  I knew I'd have to have my usual panel of blood work: CBC w/ DIFF, Liver & Lipid panel, CMP, and Thyroid.  My doc increased my inhaled steroids and insisted that I get a flu shot - which I NEVER get.  Feeling guilty about my weight gain and not in the mood to argue, I said I would have the flu shot.  The medical assistant came in and administered the injection.  By Sat., the area was reddened and painful, so I popped some ibuprofen and headed out the door to travel to OH.  By the time we got home Saturday night, the area was raised, red, hot to the touch, and swollen.  UGH!  I popped some ibuprofen and Benadryl (and snapped a pic).


Saturday, we journeyed to OH to see the entire clan in celebration of my birthday!!  It was so much fun!  My parents hosted a HUGE BBQ and my entire family was there!  We ate and ate and ate and then had some nummy cake!!!  I absolutely had a terrific time.  The kids were thrilled to play with their cousins and I was excited to see my brother & sister and their families.

Today I woke up with my arm even worse.  :'(  I've been icing the arm and keeping on track with Ibuprofen and Benadryl, but the edema and erythema aren't subsiding.  Looks like I may need to see my doc tomorrow to make sure cellulitis hasn't set in.  Yep, I'll never get another flu shot after this debacle.  Needless to say, I ran a fever all day and felt like complete crud.  So I curled up in bed, in my jammies, and slept a good portion of the day.  When I wasn't sleeping, I was listening to podcasts.  I also got started on a new pair of socks, Cabletini Toe-Up Socks by Wendy D. Johnson.  I'm knitting them in Lion Brand Yarn Sock Ease #203 - Red Hots.  The pattern has a simple 4 row cable repeat that is super easy to memorize. So I can tell that these socks will work up uber fast - probably just as fast as vanilla socks!

I also tweeked my project bag a tad.  I added a 2nd drawstring - so there is a drawstring on either side, making it easier to open and close.  I hope to sew a few more bags this week!

Well, it's been an interesting weekend.  Hopefully this week will go pretty smoothly. Keep fingers crossed that my arm looks better by tomorrow so that I don't have to hoof it to the doc's office. :)


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sewing is My Bag, Baby

Okay, it's not really my bag.. but I hope someday it will be.  I spent this morning learning how to wind my bobbin and thread my machine.  Then for the first time since I got the machine over 6 months ago, I used it!  

I sewed this really simple lined bag out of the $0.99 Fat Quarters I got yesterday from Jo-Anns.  I used a terrific, newbie-friendly pattern from BunnyBum.

This bag turned out to be wider than it is tall - which is great for my shawl project.  Of course, that was unintended as I'd never done this before.  ;p  I finished it off with some cute polka dot ribbon.

It is by NO means a professional job. I couldn't find my pins.  I sewed the lines as straight as I could, but I definitely need more practice in that area.  I got to use my pinking shears to trim the excess fabric, though!  That was fun!  I also used my brand new cordless sewing iron for the first time.  I need more patience when ironing!  ;p  I think it looks even better reversed with the sewn down edge on the outside!  I'm making notes so that I remember that next time I sew a bag!

So although it's just a very simple drawstring bag, it's a huge achievement for me.  Having no one to teach me how to sew, I was terrified to try.  And even though my seams may not be exactly perfect and my ironing needs a little work, I made something useful that I am proud of!

What have you given yourself permission to try today?


Winner - Birthday Giveaway!!

Congrats to cguard for winning the Yarn Grab Bag!  Thanks to everyone who participated! :)


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Birthday Haul!

Hubby asked me a few days ago what I wanted for my birthday.  I replied that I only wanted to spend time with him.  When I woke up this morning, he greeted me with a mug of coffee and a birthday surprise: he took the day off work to spend with me!  Best. Present. Ever.

But then he also surprised me with lunch at one of my fave Mexican restaurants, a trip to Yarns Unlimited, where he bought me (2) skeins of Shibui Sock yarn in Midnight colorway, Starbucks, where he treated me to a Pumpkin Spice Latte with some down time, chatting with one another, and finally to the book store.  Then he sent me off to buy fabric at JoAnn's while he took our DS to get his hair cut.

JoAnn's was having a Moonlight Madness Sale and I got 6 fat quarters for $0.99/each!  I also picked up some Lion Brand Yarn Sock Ease on sale, Buy 1, get 1 50% off, in Red Hots & Toffee colorways.  And I nabbed some pinking shears!  I have a JoAnn app on my Android phone, which I'd loaded with a 10% off coupon, good for 10% my total craft purchase, regular and sale items!  Needless to say, I got a lot for very little!

It was such a fun birthday!  The best part was spending the entire day with my hubby, just me & him!  


You Say It's Your Birthday..

It's my birthday too, ya! 

To thank all of my loyal readers, I'm going to give YOU a present for my birthday!  I was going to give out a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Sock Yarn, but decided that I will give out an entire yarn grab bag!  It will be a bag of different yarns!  That's right - a whole bag of yarn!

To enter, please follow the Rafflecopter Widget instructions!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Episode 17: Stitch Heaven

What's on (or off) the Needles
What's on (or off) the Hook
Other Stuff
Question of the Week:
  • This is for the sock knitters - what sock knitting techniques do you prefer?


Signed Stitch Heaven DVD Review & Giveaway!

Title: Stitch Heaven Salutes Barbara G. Walker
Format: DVD
Approximate Retail Price: $24.95
Running Time: 3.5 hrs+
Stitch Patterns: Aran Braid, Boxed Bobble, Cellular Stitch, Close-Woven Basket Lattice, Classic Argyle, Faggoting and Fancy Rib, Fan Cables, Feather Faggot, Florentine Frieze, Knit-Twist Lattice, Milanese Lace, Quilted Lattice, Sailor's Rib, Shadow Mosaic, Swag Stitch or Scallop Stitch, Tiny Bowknot, Wave and Box Stitch, Yarn-Over Check

Barbara G. Walker is the queen of stitch patterns.  There is nary a knitter who does not know of, love, or own copies of her  A Treasury of Knitting Patterns books.  In addition to collecting and documenting thousands of patterns handed down, Barbara has an impressive body of stitch pattern work herself.  Saluting this stitch maven, the creators of The Art of Knitting DVDs, have created this in-depth collection of video stitch alongs.  Preceeded by a quick interview with the stitch master herself, the DVD contains step by step video, charted, and written instructions.  Each line of the stitch pattern is presented by a master knitter.  The charted pattern line is at the bottom of the screen as you watch the knitter demonstrate how to complete each line in the pattern.  Amazingly thorough, this DVD would make a WONDERFUL gift for the new knitter or the knitter looking to try new techniques.  With over 3 1/2 hrs of instruction, any knitter is sure to master these stitches very quickly.  This is the perfect companion to the Barbara G. Walker A Treasury of Knitting Patterns books.

TriCoast Studios has graciously donated a signed copy (signed by Barbara G. Walker herself!) of Stitch Heaven Salutes Barbara G. Walker!  To enter, please follow the proceeding instructions from the Rafflecopter Widget!

Disclosure: TriCoast Studios sent KnitPurlGurl (1) copy of Stitch Heaven Salutes Barbara G. Walker DVD FREE for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the preceeding post.  All opinions expressed in this review are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of TriCoast Studios or Barbara G. Walker.  Individual results may vary.


Monday, October 17, 2011

FO: Very Scary Socks

Very Scary Socks

YAY!  I finished my Very Scary Socks for Socktoberfest!  Love the way this colorway turned out!  I'm glad I only committed to knitting 1 pair though!  I've got a bazillion things I've gotta work on.  At least these cuties are done!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Spur of the Moment KAL!

I'm hosting a Spur of the Moment KAL on the Friends of KnitPurlGurl Ravelry Group!  The KAL will be the Quilted Lattice Mitts by Jennifer Elaine.  These mitts create a quilted look by slipping stitches.  She provides instructions for those who would like to use variegated yarn (easiest option) or those who'd like to use 2 solid colored yarns. The pattern is FREE and uses 200 yds or less of fingering weight yarn.

I've never knit these mitts myself, so I'll be knitting right along with y'all! And there will be at least ONE prize (drawn at random)!!

Storied Yarns is donating a skein of sock yarn - winner's choice!!!!

Being a Spur of the Moment KAL means that you can CO and start anytime you'd like.  To be eligible for the prize(s), you must post a FO pic on the Spur of the Moment FOs thread no later than Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011 (Thanksgiving Day), 11:59p EST.

If you are a company or shop that would like to donate a prize to the KAL, please contact me via email or my Ravelry profile (KnitPurlGurl).

This should be fun!

(Check back here or on the Rav group for updated prize information.)


Knitter's Pride Crochet Hook Giveaway WINNER!

The winner of the Knitter's Pride Crochet Hook Giveaway sponsored by WEBS is.. #21: Lynda!  Congrats to Lynda!  Thank you so much to everyone who participated!  And a HUGE thanks to WEBS for sponsoring this amazing giveaway!!!


I Love Yarn Day!

Hey there, fiberistas!  It's I love YARN DAY!  To celebrate, I thought I'd ask my readers to share their favorite yarns to work with!  Maybe it will inspire other knitters or crocheters to try new yarns!

Here are some of my faves: (The listed yarns aren't necessarily my favorite in that category - just one of my faves that comes to mind.  I guess it really depends on the project.)

Thread - DMC Cebelia Crochet Cotton
Cobweb - (Never used a cobweb yarn)
Lace 2-ply - Wollmeise Lace Garn
Light Fingering 3-ply - Mallabrigo Sock
Fingering 4-ply - Wollmeise Sockenwolle 80/20 Twin
Sport 5-ply - Mad Tosh Pashmina
DK 8-ply - Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK
Worsted 10-ply - Cascade 220 (solids, heathers, or paints)
Aran 10-ply - Noro Silk Garden
Bulky 12-ply - (Lion Brand Yarn) Martha Stewart Crafts Alpaca Blend
Super Bulky -  Farmhouse Yarns I Am Allergic to Wool

My favorite wt to work with is either light fingering or fingering wt.

So leave me a message!  Tell me which weight you like to work with.  -What yarns are your faves and why. I'm excited to hear about a lot of yarns I've yet to try!!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Knitter's Pride Knitting Needle Winner!

The winner of the Knitter's Pride Knitting Needle Set Giveaway is... #173: Debbie Nelson!  Congrats to Debbie!!  Thank you to everyone who participated and a HUGE thank you to WEBS for sponsoring this most amazing giveaway!!!!


Why Knitting Still Amazes Me

Ever find yourself talking about your knitting in a group of people who don't knit?  The placated smiles, glassy eyed stares, and rhythmic head bobs looking back at you as you describe how you transformed some amazing handspun/handdyed yarn into a gorgeous shawlette that you think worked up well?  Then it hits you - no one friggin' cares about this but me.  ;p

I found knitting muggles to use such harsh words as "obsessive, boring, stereotypical, and desperate" when describing knitters.  And to that I say: Ya, cuz listening to you drone on and on about the tailgating party you threw, the 30 miles you ran before breakfast, the business contacts you made at work, how your little Johnny is poised to win the next Nobel Prize in Physics, or how your kids' lives are scheduled down to the nano second with activities that are sure to win them scholarships, just has me on the edge of my chair.  ;p  I have nothing against the activities of other moms.  I think whatever you do to make yourself and those around you happy is a worthwhile pursuit.  But why is it when I talk about my knitting, I get the feeling that it's the most boring topic in the world?  Ah.. cuz it is to non-knitters.  But to me, knitting still amazes me every single day.

First off, there is the sheer intellectual joy that comes from knitting.  Yes, knitting is a creative hobby.  But it's also quite educational.  For instance: want to have random stripes in your garment that look neat and pleasing to the eye?  Work out a color scheme using Fibonacci Sequence.  Trying to design a garment that can withstand the strain of vigorous use?  Apply Young's Modulus.  Knitting up a scrappy blanket with different weights of yarn?  Grab a pencil, paper, and work out the ratio and proportion for the stitches per inch in relation to the desired dimensions of the blanket.  Need to knit a sweater that fits?  Better use Elizabeth Zimmermann's EPS (Elizabeth's Percentage System) to make sure the sweater is in good proportion.  Want evenly spaced increases in your garment?  Euclidean Geometry is for you!  I could go on and on.  Knitting, like nature, has a lot of interesting mathematical properties.

Next of course is the pleasure derived from the creation of a knitted project  Once upon a time, those fingerless mitts were no more than a ball of plied threads and a pair of knitting needles.  With a little time, patience, and creativity, a knitter is able to create a useful and beautiful garment.  Your hands ACTUALLY formed string into a sweater!  Or a hat!  Or that beautiful landscape of lace worn as a shawl.  That's right.  You took string and made a fabric.  You took the fabric and made a sweater!  How mind-blowing is that?!

Of course there's much to be said about the therapy involved in knitting.  The movements are rhythmic and meditative.  Once an accomplished knitter, muscle memory takes over and your brain unwinds as your hands create.  There's a peaceful, utter calm that comes from knitting.  It actually slows the heart rate, lowers the blood pressure and quiets the chaos in your head.  And once that occurs, knitters become "obsessive" in the same way exercise junkies, sports lovers, women who love to entertain guests, and car enthusiasts do.  It physically and psychologically feels good, so naturally we crave it.

Let's not forget about community.  Knitters (crochets, spinners..) are the most social, warm, and genuine people I've ever met.  Typically, if you like to play with fiber, you're in!  Knitter's come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and from all different socio-economic backgrounds.  And oddly enough, it only takes a ball of thread to connect us.  That really says something about society.  We really aren't THAT different from one another.  Knitters are passionate, creative types who bind together in a time of need.  They knit for charity.  They knit for one another.  They knit for families.  They knit to raise awareness.  They knit to bring art to other parts of their lives.  Knitters will spot someone 5 miles away with yarn in their hands and make their way over to ask what project is in the works.  They will take you under their wing and support you, no questions or favors asked. Community is an important aspect of knitting.  Whether it's online, at the LYS, or the local coffee shop, knitting community is to be found nearly everywhere.

Last but certainly not least is the sensory portion of knitting.  Creative types love to look at beautiful things.  There's a marriage that happens between the fiber and the color of a yarn.  First, you spot the yarn.  You admire the beautiful colorway.  Perhaps you love the sheen.  You like the smooth appearance or the halo the yarn provides.  Then immediately, you've swooped it into your hands to touch it.  I've known several knitting muggles who've watched in disbelief as I've picked up yarns and physically felt the fibers, pulled to test elasticity, squished to see the bounce, and rubbed it against my wrist to feel the quality.  Non-knitters, if you've ever tapped on a melon or smelled a tomato, it's much the same.  Some knitters even love the smell of the fibers.  Sometimes it's the wool wash that smells good.  Sometimes it's the fiber itself that sparks a sensory response in the brain, a connection to nature.  And sometimes you can tell which fiber wasn't properly cared for, like silk, by smelling it.  By fondling the fibers, you know if the yarn will be soft, scratchy, structural, drapey, sticky (as in having grab), slick, breathable, warm, or cool.

There is so much more I could've included in this blog post about knitting, fibers, and the benefits.  I just skimmed the surface.  But I want knitters to think about all of the amazing ways knitting affects us.  And I want non-knitters to understand our deep connection with knitting.  HINT - we aren't knitting because Julia Roberts does it.

Knitting is the whole package - the real deal.  And I'm not ashamed to say it still amazes me.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Episode 16: Locked and Loaded

What's on (or off) the Needles
What's on (or off) the Hook
Other Stuff
Question of the Week:
  • Do you have a crafting routine?
Quick Shout Out:


Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Monday? Already?

The weekend just flew past!  I must admit, I didn't do much of anything this weekend.  Hubster & I relaxed and just enjoyed time together.  I did write up a review for a yarn and a book.  But other than that, I really didn't do much work.

This week will be busy.  Since the kidlets are off of school today, there is no getting any work done.  So I'm going to try to engage them in household chores with mom.  Okay, stop laughing!

This week I need to record my podcast, finish my Socktoberfest Very Scary Socks, read a couple more chapters on the Goodreads Ravelry Knitters Group October selection book.  CO my Walnut Grove Shawl & write my review of At Knit's End yarn, sew a box bag (or at least try to sew one- my sewing skills are.. um... well, they aren't good.), write another book review, and try out a yarn.

So what are all of you working on this week?


Book Review: Huggable Crochet by Christine Lucas

Book Title: Huggable Crochet - Cute and Cuddly Animals From Around the World
Author: Christine Lucas
ISBN: 978-1-4402-1423-3
Publisher: Krause Publications/ F+W Media
Approx. Retail Price: $22.99 USD / $25.99 CAN
Craft: Crochet (Toys)
Patterns: 19 Patterns plus 1 bonus pattern online
Availability: Paperback

Huggable Crochet is a fantastic new crocheted toys book by Christine Lucas. Christine presents a book of charming, adorable and quite substantial cute creatures.  Stuffed and measuring from 12 - 18 inches (30-46cm), these cuddly cuties make perfect gifts for children.  Christine has made sure to keep these toys free of wires, buttons, or other choking hazards so that children of all sizes can enjoy them.  A believer in fun and relaxing projects, Christine has used simple stitches, which are explained step-by-step.  To add interest, each animal appears in two different color palettes: one more realistic and one more whimsical.

This book is appropriate for any level crocheter.  However, as a newbie crocheter, I was thrilled to see that each pattern leaves nothing to chance.  She has the Yarn, Hooks and Notions, Gauge, and Finished Size well spelled out in a box at the beginning of each pattern.  The patterns are written out completely with drawings of embellished areas shown in front and side views.  Also, some patterns include a small stitch diagram.  The photographs are shot in close range and are very clear.  There is no question about what each creature should look like.  Christine also includes terrific drawings of how to construct the creatures who are not crocheted in one piece.  Even a newb like myself will be able to clearly decipher the patterns.


Chapter 1 - The Pranksters: Forest Critters

  • Sly the Snake
  • Stash the Squirrel
  • Bandit the Raccoon
  • Tiger Lily the Snail
Chapter 2 - The Covert Operatives: Farm Friends
  • Dottie the Cow
  • Trixie the Sheep
  • Otis the Pig
  • Nelly the Horse
Chapter 3 - The Entertainers: Ocean Dwellers
  • Waddlesworth the Penguin
  • Inky the Octopus
  • Skipper the Dolphin
Chapter 4 - The Protectors: Safari Animals
  • Byron the Lion
  • Seymour the Giraffe
  • Hannah the Hippo
  • Ellie the Elephant
Chapter 5 - The Scientists: Exotic Creatures
  • Flora the Macaw
  • Kaya the Kangaroo
  • Spyro the Panda
  • Jaxson the Koala
Bonus Online Pattern: Shelldon the Sea Turtle

If you enjoy crocheting amigurumi or crocheting stuffed animals for the children in your life, this book is a must-have.  It's well-written, clearly photographed, and leaves no part of the creation of these cuties to chance.

Disclosure: F+W Media sent KnitPurlGurl (1) copy of Huggable Crochet by Christine Lucas FREE for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the preceding post.  All opinions in the above review are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of F+W Media or Christine Lucas.  Individual results may vary.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Yarn Review: Martha Stewart Crafts Alpaca Blend Yarn

Yarn: Martha Stewart Crafts Alpaca Blend Yarn
Fiber Content: 40% Wool, 40% Acrylic, 20% Alpaca
Weight: (5) Bulky, Chunky, Craft, Rug Yarn
Gauge: Knit- 13 st x 18 rows on US Size 10 (6mm) Needles = 4 inches
             Crochet- 11sc x 14 rows on Hook Size N-13 (9mm) = 4 inches
Skein: 3.50 oz (100g) / 115 yds (105m)
Colorways: Foxglove, Parakeet, Pea Coat Blue, Winterberry, Sesame, Pussy Willow, Darjeeling, Meadow Green, Coral Pink, Grape Hyacinth, Morning Dove, Magpie, Green Eucalyptus, and Buttermilk
Approx. Retail Price: $9.99 (USD)/skein
Care: Machine wash and dry

Martha Stewart Crafts Alpaca Blend Yarn is a bulky weight, moderately soft yarn with a moderately tight ply.  I had no issues with the yarn splitting or the ply unraveling.  It has very little stretch but has a lofty, light weight, bouncy quality, unusual for a bulky yarn.  Due to the wool and alpaca content, this yarn has a moderate halo and can have a tendency to shed fiber strands.  The hand of the yarn is pleasurable, attributable to it's natural fiber content.  The yarn has a matte finish and is available in 14 colorways.

I had a hard time deciding what to knit with this yarn.  Robin Ulrich offered me her Lavande pattern and I knew the Alpaca Blend Yarn would be a cozy yarn to knit into a neckwarmer, so I decided to knit it.  The pattern knit up quickly and the yarn was a pleasure to knit with.  It provided terrific stitch definition for the lace panel, button holes, and seed st rib.

Having never knit a garment that needed to be blocked and was knit out of an acrylic blend, I was unsure how to block it.  I did a little research and discovered that one should block such a garment according to the  most fragile fiber in the blend.  So I decided that I should wet block it. Wet blocking did the trick and the wool and alpaca allowed for the shape to be well defined.  The yarn actually softened up even more after blocking and provided incredible drape, which I was not expecting.  I wondered if I had made the wrong yarn/pattern pair as Robin's piece is more structured.  But I soon realized that I just made a simple gauge error, which was fine by me, because this neckwarmer has a cozy, soft, organic feel around my neck.

One Note: If I had read the pattern correctly, I would've noticed that Robin used a Super Bulky Yarn for hers.  Since I used the same needle size, I didn't get the structured appearance Robin did.  To achieve that look, I could've just adjusted my needle size.

This yarn is perfectly suited for cold weather knit or crocheted accessory pieces.  The acrylic in the yarn allows for easy care options, making it perfect for mittens and hats!  Although it is also described as a good yarn for sweaters (which I do not disagree with), the sheer amount of the yarn needed would make it cost prohibitive for larger garments.

I really enjoyed working with this yarn and know I'll get a lot of use out of this neckwarmer!  Pop on over to your local Jo-Ann's and fondle a skein for yourself! :)

Disclosure: Lion Brand Yarn sent KnitPurlGurl (1) skein of Martha Stewart Crafts Alpaca Blend Yarn FREE for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the preceding review.  All opinions in the above review are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Lion Brand Yarn.  Individual results may vary.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Feeling Fiber Accomplished Today


Good gravy, I have been a busy bee.  I've been checking off my list of fibery to-dos.  First, I soaked my Crochet Baktus, Lavande, Very Scary Sock #1, and re-soaked my Saroyan, which fell in my closet and got all crumpled.  (I used Soak wash in Celebration Scent - LOVE IT!)  Then, I pinned and blocked them all (sock went on a sock blocker).  I CO sock #2 of my Very Scary Socks and finished the toe increases so that I could mindlessly knit on the foot of the sock tomorrow at knitting group.  I also put away about 15 skeins of yarn which had to be cataloged and then put in the correct cupboard by size.  And while I was doing all of that, I caught up on all of my knitting podcasts!  (Ooo - I listened to a NEW podcast which I adore: Twinneedle.  She's a German podcaster who podcasts in English.  I listened to both of her episodes and am hooked!)

Alrighty.  Now that I'm done playing with fiber, I must return to my housework.  Hopefully tonight I will get to start reading While my Pretty One Knits by Anne Canadeo (A Black Sheep Knitting Mystery) for the Goodreads Ravelry Knitters October selection!  Tomorrow, I'll go to knitting group in the morning and work on my sock and then pop over to a craft store and look for some buttons for my Lavande neck warmer!

Knit on!


OT: The End of an Era

I was very saddened to hear that Steve Jobs passed away yesterday after years of battling health problems.  As a woman in her mid-late 30's, I grew up during the computer revolution.  When our principal announced to our parents at open house that we would have a computer lab and that each classroom would get a brand new Apple II, my parents were stunned and amazed at how technologically advanced our school was.  From 3rd grade on, the way we learned changed.  The schools I went to predominately carried Apple computers.  We started by playing simple math games in 3rd and 4th grades on the computers, to learning word processing in junior high school.  By the time I was in high school, every student wanted a home computer and about half of the people I knew had one.  When I went to college, the internet blew up and the Mac craze really exploded.  By the time I hit 30, i-Pod was all the rage followed by i-Phone, and i-Pad in my mid-30's.

You see, my generation, Gen-X, cycled through the era of personal technologies.  Computers went from being business machines to becoming educational tools, to becoming just as prevalent in every home as a toaster.  For those of you a generation or so behind, you've grown up with these tools, so perhaps you don't understand our attachment to the early 80's and the Jobs Era.

Steve Jobs, a brilliant visionary who defined an entire generation of Mac-heads and Mac-addicts, continued to move forward, to push the boundaries of creativity and technology.  We are greatly indebted to this man who had the courage and conviction to change the world as we know it.

You will be sorely missed, Mr. Jobs.  But your spirit of creativity and passion for technology will forever live on in the generations you've touched.  Even though most of us did not know you personally, you are a part of our daily lives and embedded in our daily routines.

Rest in peace and God Bless.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011


My hexipuff swap package arrived today!!! Look what Knitsomnia sent me: (All the way from Scotland)
She sent me this darling hexipuff in tonal yellows and even sent a teeny ball of yarn to go with it in case the puff was the wrong size :) It’s absolutely perfect though! The puff is so soft and I love it!
She also sent 3 mini-skeins that signify the coming 3 months of fall: Oct, Nov, & Dec. The Oct yarn is the yellow/red/green yarn called “Green Woodpecker” by The Knitting Goddess. The Russet/green/purple yarn is for Nov. And the Dec yarn is red/green/white and is BFL from Angels and Elephants.
Finally, she sent some treats: Walker’s Shortbread cookies from Scotland and Crunchie, a candy bar that has golden honeycomb in the center, as a nod to the Beekeeper’s Quilt. :)
I LOVE IT ALL!!! Gosh, I hope she gets her pkg soon. It’s been 3 wks. Thanks so much, Knitsomnia!!!

October Semi Solid Mini Skein Club

Also, I completely forgot that I joined The Knitting Goddess' Mini Skeins Club and the October selection came today!  I subscribed to the semi-solids club and the yarns are beautiful.  My camera is not picking up the colors at all - but they are all tonal greens.  SO amazing!  My hexipuffs will be beautious!


Episode 15: Socktoberfest

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What's on (or off) the Needles
What's on (or off) the Hook
Other Stuff
News & Upcoming Events
Question of the Week
  • Why do you knit, crochet, or craft?


Monday, October 3, 2011

Yarn Review: Martha Stewart Crafts Merino Yarn

Fiber Content: 100% Merino Wool
Weight: 4 (Medium) - Worsted Weight, Afghan, Aran Weight
Gauge: Knit - 18 st x 25 rows on US Size 7 (4.5mm) Needles = 4 inches
             Crochet - 4 sc x 18 rows on J-10 (6mm) Hook = 4 inches
Skein: 1.75 oz. (50 g), 120 yds (110m)
Colorways: Milk Glass Pink, Igloo, Poppy, Pewter, Artemisia, Peacock, Buttermilk
Approx. Retail Price: $7.49/skein
Care: Hand wash and dry flat

Martha Stewart Crafts Merino Yarn is a 100% Merino, worsted wt yarn.  Matte in finish, this yarn has a soft to moderate halo and is plied on the looser side of moderate, giving it a little stretch. A moderately soft yarn with very good stitch definition, this yarn is ideal for quick and warm accessories such as mittens, gloves, hats, cowls, and scarves.  

I decided to test knit this yarn by knitting up a pair of fingerless mitts.  I used the Fishtail Wrist Warmers pattern by Lisabee Designs.  A quick and simple project, these mitts knit up in a jiff.  The yarn provided really nice lace and rib detail on the mitts.  The mitts are warm, soft, and have sufficient stretch to be comfortable.  Like a lot of the new natural fiber yarns in the Martha Stewart Crafts line, I wish this yarn came packaged in larger skeins.  But at 120 yds, I was able to knit up these mitts and have about 20% of the yarn left over.  - So I imagine one could knit a pair of small adult mittens out of a skein.

I think this yarn is a good addition to the Martha Stewart Crafts line.  I enjoyed working with it and felt that it performed as well as several worsted weight merinos available in yarn shops.  Martha Stewart Crafts Merino Yarn is already in stores.  Pop on over to Jo-Ann's and take a peek for yourself.  You've still got time to knit up those mitts, hats, or slippers for the upcoming holiday season!!

Disclosure: Lion Brand Yarn provided KnitPurlGurl with (1) skein of Martha Stewart Crafts Merino Yarn FREE for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the preceding post.  All opinions in the above post are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Lion Brand Yarn.  Individual results may vary.


OTN: Very Scary Socks


Right now, I am knitting up my Very Scary Socks for Socktoberfest!  These are just vanilla socks, knit toe-up, with Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino in Very Scary colorway, using magic loop.  I knit the first one in 2 days.  I need to CO the 2nd one tonight sometime.  It'll probably take me the rest of the week to finish because I knit the first one over the wkend with nothing else to do really.  Knitting during the week is a bit tougher and requires sleeping kidlets and finished chores before it can commence.


I'm using Wendy D. Johnson's Toe-Up Socks with a Difference pattern and a US Size 2, 40" circular needle.  I've noticed that the sock fits well, but like the last pair I made, is a teeny bit loose.  Last time I used a US Size 3.  Next time, I'll go down to a US Size 1.  But despite being a tad loose (which means I won't wear them under shoes to prevent undo wear - they'll be gorgeous, warm, house socks!), I am loving the way the colorway is working up.  The name of the colorway is very appropriate and the socks make me think of all things fall and Halloween!  My kidlets asked why I didn't knit a white sock since this sock has very interesting colors.  My response: if I wanted plain white socks, I'd just buy them.  Viva la sock yarns!

My goal for Socktoberfest 2011 is to knit (and finish) 1 pair of vanilla socks in the month of October.  I think I will definitely make it!  YAY!  I hate to commit to any more than that since I still have a shawl to knit and several WIPs that are waiting patiently to be worked on.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ich Bin Stricken Socken!

It's October 1st!  You know what that means!!!  It's time for Socktoberfest!  Whereas Oktoberfest is an excuse to eat fat-laden sausages & pastries and drink beer, Socktoberfest is an excuse to knit some socks in the month of October!  There are no rules.  There are no deadlines.  There are no expectations.  So pop on over to the Ravelry group and join up!  Celebrate sock knitting all month long and check out some of the fun socks everyone is knitting!!

I'm knitting Wendy D. Johnson's Toe-Up Socks with a Difference, which is a vanilla sock pattern.  My socks are being knit in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino "Very Scary" colorway on US Size 2, 40" circs (magic loop).  This yarn feels great to knit with and despite my crummy photography, has a subtle sheen.  Since the yarn is so dark and so variegated, a vanilla sock pattern is a perfect pairing!

I can't wait to see what y'all are knitting up!

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