Sunday, January 31, 2010

Crazy Times

I'm really hoping that come February 1st our daily life will fall into a grove that is just smooth as silk because this whole January has been just one big load of crap.

I don't like to harp on the bad things and I truly like to focus on the positive. For instance my family is healthy and happy. Know one is trapped under rubble or starving for food (although my teenage son would probably beg to differ on that subject as he feels there should be more pop and chips in the house...but I digress).

It just feels like I don't have the right to vent the frustrations that have piled up in my life because they seem soooo insignificant. Yet, they are key factors in my stress level and that does matter.

What happened you say? and in keeping with a positive outlook I'll tell you.

1. Son gets to experience entering the workforce by creating (on his own time) a portfolio for a mock interview. Not only will this enlighten him for when he enters the workforce, but it will also give me great pride to spend money on a new suit.

2. Son also gets to participate in karate classes which I will gladly drive him to knowing that my precious evenings are all focused on his success.

3. Son learns a life lesson "better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all"

4. Son gets to participate in the Science Fair Project and was happy to get advise from a wise woman on what experiment would work for him (thanks Aleta!)

5. My husband got the chance to experience his own science experiment with the family vehicle while it died on the I-80 expressway. Results of experiment have lead to believe that if you wait in your vehicle for a tow, you can physically feel the temperature drop within minutes.

6. Waking up at 4:30 in the morning to the sounds of a tow truck and hearing my husbands voice made me happy to have him home safe.

7. Grandpa was awful nice to lend us the truck for a short bit while repairs were made on our vehicle.

8. We were very lucky that the only thing wrong on the car was the alternator and battery.

9. Son got the chance to fully register for High School and meet his counselor. It only took 2 hours and a stop off for Culvar's was well liked.

10. Our Family attended the 8th grade parents meeting where we had the lovely chance of seeing the full community in their true colors. Great debates are just one of the highlights of the night, along with pointed fingers and hopes of raising money for that "All So Important Trip". Even though the meeting didn't get a chance to discuss what time the actual graduation was going to start, we did get out within the hour as was promised by the principle.

11. With Pace eliminating bus routes, I took the initiative and took names of the riders who would like the route continued. I really had no idea what I was going to do with the names once I collected them, but I knew I wasn't the only one affected by this change. I then wrote an email and sent it out to a dozen addresses I could find of people who I thought would make a difference. Within days there was a representative on the bus and now a meeting is scheduled at city hall to discuss alternatives. It feels kinda strange being an activist... but I like it.

I guess what it comes down to is that change might be hard, but in the end everyone is healthy, feed, warm and able to live another day. Hug the ones you have close to you and remember the ones who have past. Peace.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Quick Project Update

The Faery Ring sleeves are well on their way to being done and off the needles. I just wish the pattern was complete because I could certainly get further along if I had proper instructions. I suppose this means that I'll be doing some knitting math this weekend along with the help from the Ann Budd book "The Knitters Handy Book of Sweater Patterns.

This Am Kamin hat is turning out to be fabulous. I love the yarn, Classic Elite Renaissance and the cables are filling the space beautifully and making me do a happy dance. I can't wait to put this on my head... weather is hitting hard with major wind chills over the next couple of days.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Swift Sak

When you have a tight living space and two curious kids that can’t keep their hands off anything. You become creative with ways to store your knitting tools. An umbrella swift makes for a highly useful tool, but it is also an attractive target and unless you want to spend your days shooing away little fingers, this is great solution.

This bag makes for perfect storage and whether your plan on a knitting retreat, yarn adventure or just want to wind up some skeins in the park to freak out the general public, then this is the way to go.

The i-cord strap is designed to naturally close on top opening through the buttonholes when hung on your shoulder or perhaps on a hook in your storage closet.

The Swift Sak pattern is now available on Ravelry as a free PDF download or you can click the link on my sidebar.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Look... Body Parts!

When your building a knitting toy you can find yourself in either two scenarios. 1 - your either "Why The Hell Am I Making Body Parts" .... or 2 - "Oh, Look I get to make a Leg!"

Making toys can be a challenge. Some patterns call for sooooo many pieces that it just seems so fiddly, that you just want to poke yourself in the eye for even starting the project.

I don't do many toys, but certain patterns just kind of pop out at me and this Giraffe was one.

Once the bum of the Giraffe was starting to turn into the neck. I had to add some poly-fill or stuffing if you will. The pattern calls for pellets to be added to weigh the toy down and I really liked that idea. Except I was a little worried about the little beans coming out from the knitting. I tried to knit a tight gauge, but it was enough of a concern that I picked up some muslin and make a bean-bag to place inside.

The knitting continued with the addition of the head and a few legs.

This little guy is starting to take some real shape. With each new body part it seems to make him become more alive and this personality is starting to shine through.

I guess it's about time to starting thinking of a name. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Moving on to the Sleeves

The Faery Ring back is done and so it was time to move on to the sleeves.

The sleeves are constructed the same way as the bottom hem of the jacket. You pick up stitches along the sides and build in a turned hem. Then on the other side you pick up for the main portion of the sleeves.

I've made mine slightly bigger then the pattern calls for. It was requested that the cable strips be 9 inches and I made mine 10 inches. I don't care for tight cuffs.

Having made this adjustment means I'll need to also adjust the pattern to make sure this added room doesn't interfere with the increases on the main body of the sleeves. Not a problem, I've been in that predicament before;)

Friday, January 15, 2010

When In Doubt - Do It All

I couldn't decided which new project to start, so I started doing them ALL!.

Picked up some Cascade 220 Superwash for the Giraffe while at Nana's. If you haven't been in the new year, you've got to go check out the new fresh look they've got goin' on. Great Job Guys!

Then of course I did a quick swatch of the Every Way Wrap. I didn't get gauge, but because this pattern is adjustable, I'll be able to make it to size. The Aussie Worsted was one of the yarns from Stitches and so far the yarn feels good.

Last and certainly not least is the Am Kamin hat. Because it's written in Japanese, I will need to decipher the pattern a little before casting on.

I downloaded a awesome PDF file from The Needle Arts Book Shop on translating the symbols in the pattern.

Now I feel like I'm truly a Knitter again. Perhaps I should throw in a pair of socks just to mix things up a bit;)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Picking The Next Project

After browsing through my future project queue on Ravelry, I came up with the top 3 choices for my next project.

1. Am Kamin Hat - written in Japaneses, which means this will be a challenge. I've got a handout on translations, so I think this would be a great starter for entering a new world of possibilities.

2. Giraffe - cutest damn stuffed toy from Itty Bitty Toys. It's also Miss Mac approved;)

3. Every Way Wrap - It's a wrap. It's a scarf. It's sorta sweater. It's for Every.Way and Every.Day. and I really have been wanting to make this since the moment I opened IK Fall 2009.

Which one do you think I'll cast on for first??

Monday, January 11, 2010

Annual Trip to The Fold

For the past several years a bunch of us Knitters get together on the first day of the year for a little fiber, friends and food.

What is our destination? The Fold!

(from the front)

We pile in what ever vehicle we so happen to have (Thanks Jen!) and we set off a little too early in the morning for most people on the day after New Years Eve.

(from the back - Thanks Aleta!)

Time goes by fairly quickly... even with an hour and a half drive to the middle of farm country other wise known as Knitter's Mecca. I really wasn't planning on getting anything. I love just being with The Girls, but once there a few things started calling my name.

Two books: Mostly Mittens and Book of Sweater Patterns. Then I couldn't pass up the Malabrigo sock yarn in a muted green color, 2 skeins of Renaissance and several skeins of Lanett fingering weight yarn to do a mitten-hat-scarf set using those colors.

Once our parade of knitters were done we headed to the Gaylord for a Awesome Indian buffet. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. We had a blast and I'm so grateful for having such good friends. It was truly lovely to start my new year off with a bang like that. You guys are the best! Now mark your calendars, because come summer solstice we're doing it all over again.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Faery Ring Update

All last week I blogged about the newly finished objects that happened over the Holidays and I'm sure you might be wondering what I've got on the needles now.

Just ONE thing. There I said it. This is unlike me. I'm currently working only on the Faery Ring... well, sure I could pick up the sock blanket, but I don't count that. Fingering weight yarn on very small needles, yeah... that is sooooo a life long project if I ever saw it.

Since there was a list of gifts that I needed to get done I hadn't thought about upcoming things I'd like to cast on. I just knew I had the Faery Ring to get back to and then all of a sudden I realized I didn't have anything else but that.

It's definitely further along since I've been working on it all week. The fronts are done and on holders and now I'm concentrating on the back.

The downside to knitting it all in one piece is the sheer weight of the project. It can be a little stressful on the wrists but the nice thing about it is having that extra bit of warmth on the lap. I love winters, but this harsh and extreme cold is no fun. I hope you all are staying warm this winter.

Friday, January 08, 2010

FO: Red Cloud Hat

Pattern: Red Cloud Anime Hat for Eric

Yarn: Cascade 220 in Black, Red and White

Needles: US 7 circular needles

Started: December 7, 2009

Finished: December 9, 2009

This has been an ongoing endeavor since December of 08. Back then I wanted a double knit hat with the Red Cloud image on the side, but it failed as a project last year. Yet I was determined to not let it beat me. Since the lining of the Star Hats I knew I had my solution to anime character hat.

I'm still considering whether to write this pattern up or not. I'd hate to get sued for copyright violation or anything. That's also to say it would be a free pattern, so no earnings or such would be made. I just don't know if anyone would really want to make this. Would you?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

FO: Norwegian Star Earflap Hat For Mac

Pattern: Norwegian Star Earflap Hat by Tiennie Knits

Yarn: Cascade 220 in Pink and Purple (half a skein in main color and a quarter of the other)

Needles: US 7 circular needles

Started: December 5, 2009

Finished: December 7, 2009

No modification were done... and yes you read that correctly. Knit in two days. Great quick knit. The polar fleece lining took longer to do then knitting the hat.

And I'm not sure if it's just me or perhaps this look has been around for awhile and I just didn't realize it... but I'm seeing this style hat EVERY.WHERE. go figure.

I also think she has warmed up the idea of this hat. It might not be Hannah Montana, but it sure keeps her noggin warm in these below 0 temps.

And how could she not smile at our matching hats!

Monday, January 04, 2010

FO: Snicket Socks

Pattern: Snicket Socks by Sabine Riefler (revelry link)

Yarn: Cascade Heritage Sock yarn

Needles: US 1.5 circular needles

Started: December 13, 2009

Finished: January 3, 2010

Modification: Since I was knitting these two at a time on two circular needles and not on DPN's, the transition flow of the cables would have been a complete nightmare. I chose to isolate the pattern to front and back of the socks thus eliminating any fussiness.

On the sides you can clearly see the cables don't touch and it really doesn't take away from overall look... but heck, they go on your feet;)

Another mod I made was to extend the cables to the very end of the toes instead of ending harshly as many socks will have you do. The only problem I see in doing this is the area seems weak and it might wear down sooner verses later, but I guess time will tell. I do hope the new owner likes her belated birthday present;)