Friday, December 22, 2006

Proud Teacher

So I have been blessed with a ton of really talented knitting pupils who learn quickly and easily - any teacher's dream set. I will try to show you all of them and their gorgeous creations. Today, I want to show off a couple of serious self starters who followed their first sweater patterns with little guidance. First, we have Amy who learned to cable and learned a lot about sweater construction from this Minnow Knits pattern. The recipient of this lovely sweater is one lucky little girl. And she actually lives somewhere that wool is a necessity so it will be well loved and layered. I love the bobbles! I showed a knitter who formed me as a beginner and she was quite impressed by the bobble making as she can never get them to pop on the right side. I am tickled by the whole shebang. And the designer is in the details - Amy selected purple seed beads to cluster in the center of each button for just the right amount of sparkle.
Next, I show you a brand spanking new pattern reader - Anita. Not only is this her first sweater pattern that she is deciphering, but it is her very first pattern that she is reading! There are four or five different pattern stitches, shaping, and picking up stitches - all which she is mastering beautifully. She is whipping out a matched set of sweaters for a lucky set of twin girls. Upon discussing our mutual preference for greens and blues, I am sure that Anita is fairly ready to move on to the mint green one.
I am so privileged to be in the presence of fearless knitters - these two lovelies saw what they wanted to roll off their needles and have conquered that vision, leaving scarves in their dust. Victory for the budding advanced knitters!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

So much holiday knitting...

I have been knitting like a mad woman to get all my holiday yarn plans to fruition. I am most of the way along. The first thing that I want to show off are these stockings that I made on commission. They are actually the first socks that I completed past turning the heel (love those short rows - maybe someday I will actually understand what I am doing rather than trusting the directions with blind faith). I no longer fear the heel gusset. The pattern belongs to Ms. Knewbill and is really great to follow. So, next fall, she will hopefully teach the stocking class again. Keep your eyes peeled...not like you want to be thinking of next year's holidays before we make it to the other side of this year's fun. The part of this project that I am actually most delighted by is the velvet ribbon that I used to line the tops and to attach the hanging loops. It is either the secret luxury of where it is placed or simply my delight in velvet ribbon and the chance to use it any and everywhere.

I took them to Target to audition them on the really cute stocking hangers there. The one I really want is the papa reindeer, mama reindeer, and baby reindeer. Awwwww. Next year. I was daydreraming about starting the set for Mr. K, Xander, and me. I think we will pick the colors together though. Something bright and Suessian (that way Mr. K's choice of purple will make sense...XOXO). I thought that one would be appropriate for my patron as well since she ordered these as a gift for her husband to celebrate their growing family. More Awww. When I got to the store, I didn't see the lovely deer on the first set of shelves holding the hangers. After rummaging through what remained I found another cute, rather than elegant, consolation option. "Frosty the Snowman had a lovely wife and son....hmmhmmmm...then one foggy Christmas Eve Santa came to say....hmmmmhmm" or something like that. "Falalala."

For the grand finale, I put the names on the stockings. Luckily, she didn't like the look of the block letters that duplicate stitch would have created, because duplicate stitch is not one of my many talents. However, though I had a brief love affair with the idea of a needlepoint and cross stitch samplers when I was about ten, I have stayed away from most incarnations of embroidery as well. I tried stem stitch with little success - the knitted fabric wasn't firm enough to hold my stitching at my low skill level. So, I reverted to a solid classic - back stitch. Very happy with the results. (Hold on, gotta finish patting myself on the back.....Ok, done.) I sadly didn't get to see her reaction in person because I had to jet off to pick my son up from school and begin the month of purgatory... I mean, winter break (can you believe a month for elementary school students?) So, hopefully, Leyla or Tiffany will accurately reenact her joy or distaste. ;) Don't you love the baby's name "Arden"? So pretty. Must remember to ask how they chose it. Mr.K and I have discussed future baby names...(it freaks his best man out when we talk of kids...evil laughter following)...Isabella for my dream girl and Dante for the next boy...I am deciding to add Luca (thank you to Beautiful Pregnant Lady Buying Scarf Yarn at the Holiday Open House for sharing that one) as another boy option (since Mr. K wants two boys and no girls) - all choices pair nicely with Mr. K's strong Italian last name. No middle name options yet, though. Maybe Isabella Michele...

Stay tuned because I want to brag about my sweater students tomorrow and show off some finished presents.

Monday, November 27, 2006

"I'm a banana."

Since we last met, I decided to learn to double knit. This decision was brought on by strange, overwhelming desire to time travel back to the seventies since artificial fibers can often be found in my stash (as pictured)...actually, I was inspired to acquire this new skill by a brillant pattern created by a Bostonian knitter. Acquiring this pattern was exactly what I hoped would be achieved by joining other Yahoo Stitch and Bitch groups across the nation; I am now entranced by an idea that I could have very easily gone on forever without ever knowing about. So, the pattern is for a double knit crow scarf worked out by Alisdair of Check it out! Even if double knitting does not bewitch you, it is still a great chart to apply to any other type of color work. He did not include a how to for the basic technique but I found a couple of good ones from patterns on Knitty - one was a Hat and a blanket. I liked the technique from the hat best, but it is the only one I have tried so far.

Because I tire of useless (or use-yet-to-be-determined) swatches, I stumbled into the fact that I needed to turn the swatch from two stashed yarns into a scarf for a monkey that I am making for my son. I started out toying with the idea of fish (the easiest chart that could be scaled to fit ten stitches from "The Knit Stitch Bible"), but fish on a yellow and goldenrod scarf for a monkey didn't quite make sense, even to me. Then, it hit me: It's bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S! (which I have been humming to myself and have been seranaded with while working on this bit). The monkey scarf is finished after two days of steady knitting, which was really more time than I should have spent on a monkey scarf. In fact, it maybe more time than I have spent straight on the yet unfinished monkey thus far.

Now, for my favorite banana jokes.

Stop me if you have heard this one before...or not...

Knock, Knock?
Who's there?
Banana Who?
Knock, Knock?
Who's there?
Banana Who?
Knock, Knock?
Who's there?
Banana Who?....(carry on like this until you see the absolute point of annoyance reflected in the recipient of the joke)
...Knock, Knock?
Who's there?
Orange Who?
Orange you glad I didn't say Banana?
(Then, hysterical laughter should break out.) ;)

And now a hypothetical word from our sponsors -
"I'm a banana."
"My spoon is too big."
"I'm a banana."
"My spoon is too big."
(Just google it; Trust ME! My computer is too slow to figure out the You Tube link.)

Hugs and kisses.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

And now for something...

...completely different. Ok. Not that different. Everybody with a pair of pliers, some beads, and lengths of wire has a beaded stitch maker to show off. Well, now I do too. ;) So quick and so easy. C'mon now everybody do it. I made sets of 8, thinking that raglan shaping is my greatest need for markers.

Do your teeth hurt from this sweetness yet?

I rediscovered these beads the other day while attempting to take steps to cleaning out my car. I originally bought them to make handles for a purse to be crocheted from plastic lacing. There are still plenty more if I still intend to follow through on this idea (please see the Fat Bottom Bag in Stitch and Bitch Nation). As for now, I am well prepared to leap into some more top dow raglan action.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Later that day...

...then there were two. (yay!)

The boy in the red hat

This boy is gonna break hearts (hypotheticaly, I'll hope to teach him how to let 'em down easy.)

I made this hat from a stashed ball of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk that was originally meant to be a scarf for my sister, but then I remembered that she is sensetive to wools (even though I have heard that Alpaca is hypoallergenic, I have also met those who still have itchy trouble with the glorious fiber). I made the pattern up from a alternating rib and cable found in The Knit Stitch Bible. I happily cast on thinking that one 65m ball would be plenty for a hat. Ah, the bliss of ignorance. Luckily, I discovered the error of my plans while still at the Garden. The one ball got me to within one row of the decrease sequence. Then, I had an internal design dispuit about continuing in the same color or taking the muck up as a chance to enhance the design. Enhancing won the day. An amusing note about this yarn is that the ruby color was made in Italy and (assuming that D.B. has changed production countries) the grey was made in Peru...curious...I was thinking about naming it the globe trekker hat...yarns touched by two separate countries ending up on my needles...

At the end of hat one, I had half a ball of grey left over. The leftovers called out to be the crown of a hat for my nephew. Dancing through my head are images of these boys running amuck on Christmas day with almost matching head gear.

Friday, November 17, 2006

California Sunshine

This Bella Soft Panda has been calling to me since I started working at the Yarn Garden. It looks like California - the sunshine, the grassy mountainside, the ocean waves, the hazy afternoons. I knit it top down which is a technique that may have converted me. The raglan shaping to define the fronts, sleeves, and back worked up quickly. I started it on Tuesday and cast it off yesterday afternoon; I used three balls of Panda amounting to about 300 meters used up. It will be debuted today over a blue shirt. I want to do something with buttons - idea one: group two buttons together and only put buttons half way up, maybe 3 sets of two buttons; and, idea two: a statement button to attach the collar corners to the body as lapels. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Pie, I like pie

This last weekend, Mr. K went to write that in reference to himself and I couldn't let him say that. He does not like pumpkin or apple pie - he likes strawberry and pecan. I like them all and more. Therefore, he needed to modify his statement. However, my liking all pies allows me to make the wide, sweeping statement that I would not allow him.

Did anyone wonder what was to become of the pumpkin Cat-in-the-Hat? Well we are going to make him into a pie and eat him. Bear witness to our barbarian butchery - it is so Titus Andronicus. mmm, delicious.
Check out out next victim. This should yield quite a feast.
And now a few words from The Bard: (imagine an angry, broken Anthony Hopkins performing this)
Titus: Oh villains, Chiron and Demetrius. Here stands the spring whom you have stained with mud, this goodly summer with your winter mixed. You killed her husband, and for that vile fault two of her brothers were condemned to death, my hand cut off and made a merry jest, both her sweet hands, her tongue, and that more dear than hands or tongue, her spotless chastity, inhuman traitors, you constrained and forced. What would you say if I should let you speak? Villains, for shame, you could not beg for grace. Hark, wretches, how I mean to martyr you. This one hand yet is left to cut your throats whilst that Lavinia, 'tween her stumps doth hold the basin that receives your guilty blood. You know, your mother means to feast with me and calls herself Revenge and thinks me mad. Hark, villains. I shall grind your bones to dust, and with your blood and it I shall make a paste, and of the paste a coffin I will rear and make two pastries of your shameful heads. And bid that strumpet, your unhallowed dam, like to the earth, swallow her own increase! This is the feast I have bid her to, and this the banquet she shall surfeit on... And now prepare your throats.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Book love

I did not get very much further on my planned sets of Fetching. The weekend was a lot busier than I figured that it would be. Time is flying by too quickly, as it always does at this time of year. I saw a most depressing symbol of the waning time left for 2006: while I was wondering around Walmart as I wasted time getting an inconveniently popped tired repaired, I saw a sign above the main enterance that read "Saturdays Until Christmas: 6". I let out a blood curdling scream, silently, of course.

Since I do not have any FO to show off, I am going to share my Monday morning indulgence with you. There are tons of new needling books out! I followed my craving to pull all of them off the shelf and cuddle up in a Barnes and Noble cushy chair. I did not follow my craving to purchase any or all of them (trying to reduce and was just looking to be inspired, regardless of too may UFO's already in existence). I took pictures of a few of the more tempting items. Jennie Atkinson's Romantic Style was such a joy to flip through. I didn't have an overwhelming need to buy it (yet) but it is a beautifully crafted set of designs that really showcase femininity and a set photographs that transport you to a time far gone by.

Judith Durant's One Skein Wonders is an honest book. This book is the book that I wanted to see when I read "one skein" in a title. Though a few of the projects that caught my eye used fairly large skeins, it still really was one skein each. Correct me if I am wrong.
On with the needling - Jenny Hart's Sublime Stitching is a really useful, well done literary item. It is mostly simply stated, well designed line drawings that are easy to access since it spiral bound. This type of stitching is precisely the type of embroidery that inspires me to dive into the DMC - useful, quick, and easy to show off. It won't be long before I decide that I really cannot live any longer without this book. (I think that I have to promise some de-cluttering and some more FO's before I can give in to the desire.) If you haven't done any or much embroidery before, then I suggest taking Amazon's recomendation to purchase her Stitch-It Kit as well.

Now for the piece d'resistance: this book was the only one that I really had to have a stern internal dialogue about how it would be unwise to spend the measly $16.95 today (you know, part of my car payment money; but since I see it for an even more measly $11.53 on Amazon). I think I can wait, I think I can, I think I can...etc. What am I raving about?
Rachel Matthew's madcapped, British Hookorama. I love Knitorama and have plans to make some stuff someday from it. The stuff in both of these books are hilarious and somewhat useful. I really want adopt a copy and to bring her sister home to my Knitorama copy. Two of the hooked items that I am really drawn to are this baroque wig (if you saw the Leia wig, then enough said) and this Periodic Table vest (the vest has holes from radioactive experiments have eaten through it).
Anybody else seen any neat new or old books that they are lusting after or realized they couldn't live without and, therefore, purchased?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

When cats attack

These lovelies are my plans for the weekend. When I set up my yarn to photograph on my favorite cake platter, I had little idea of what was to unfold in front of my shutter clicks. I wanted to show you my tweak on Knitty's Fetching and plans to make many more this weekend. Then, the kitty leapt up on the table sniffing the pile of yarn on her way to snuggle up to the furnace/laptop. Thinking that it was an adorable photo-op, I clicked away; as I admired how cute and loveable the dear creature was, I looked over the view screen only to capture a blurry image of her viscious attack on the helpless woolies. I only share this because it is a window on the self inflicted torture of the knitter in me (shhhssh, Mr. K). I rescued these cats from a cardboard box giveaway in hopes that they would go kill the vermin in our backyard (hey, it is the circle of life). Well, we got rid of the tree that was harboring the beasties and they haven't been fixed yet - so, they spend their days indside hunting my UFO's, unattended pins and pattern pieces, and other general mischief.

Oh, the humanity!

Back to the subject that I originally intended to discuss - I have been in love with the idea of Fetching since I saw its beautiful picture come into focus on the screen. It has been a project that screams out to me every time I pass the balls of yarn that I already own and will be perfect to imitate it. However, something was holding me back and distracting me from it. (Jody, you will appreciate this) I needed to combine colors...then, I realized that I wanted a touch more form to the function and added tiny fingerhole buds rather than a wide fingerless opening. I think that the color choice takes away some of the elegance displayed by the originals but replaces it with whimsy. Pleased so far.

Friday, November 10, 2006

greetings from the hat factory

I love making hats...this one is a copy of a hat by the famed Tiffany of Yarn Garden for a went by lickety quick. The yarn was selected by the customer (Noro Transtitions and Misti Alpaca + Amsterdam) and the hat was stitched by moi. Do you guys know the magic hat formula?

I am going to hold a class @ the Yarn Garden next Friday and the following Friday from 7:30pm to 9:30pm on how to make a beanie hat from any yarn. Leave a comment if interested.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

scarf fun

I really try not to make scarves anymore. If I do embark on one, then I try to learn a new stitch rather than be tortured by rows upon rows of monotony. I was going to send this off for a collection for soldiers but I think that I missed the collection date... (super flake - that is me). Anywho, I am in love with this cabled fabric. I pulled it from the handy perpetual calendar - 365 stitches (or something of the like).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Long, long ago.... an LYS far, far away...

Ok, we love Star Wars. Some of us more than others (Mr. K owns Star Wars Trivial Pursuit). In my mind, all Star Wars facts have been eternal truths to me - like the familial triangle of Luke, Leia, and Darth. I have only met one contemporary who had not seen any of the original triology before the prequel triology began to unfurl. At this point, one would guess that everyone would now be up to speed on both installations. Not so.

(I am about to embark on a tale that is not mine tell, but it is too amusing not to share here.) Mr. K was leaving the gym last Wednesday well wearing the pictured shirt, his Ultimate Frisbee team jersey. A lady stopped him to ask about the name across the back.

Lady: (interested and friendly voice) Wow, that is an unusual last name. How do you say that?

Mr. K: (astounded disbelief) What? Chewbacca?

Lady: (still interested and friendly) Hmmm, I've never heard of that; is that Czeckloslovakian?

Mr.K: (taking on the role of educator, still tinted with disbelief) Uh, it's from Star Wars...a movie.

Lady: (less friendly) Oh. (abruptly exits)

I am choosing to express my Star Wars affinity through making a brillant piece of imagining. The brainy idea for a Princess Leia hat was figured out by Bleu Arts, a clever hat maker.I will be completing mine just in time to send her some pics for a new gallery that she just announced. This hat/wig will go a long way toward a future Leia costume. Meanwhile, it is like having built in earmuffs. I used Lamb's Pride bulky in Wild Oak. It took about one and half skeins. The hat part was worked on #11's and the buns were worked on the suggested #10's.

It was a really quick production. There was one bit of instruction that I balked at and nearly glossed over - stuff the bun tubes as you go. This step is definitely the voice of experience attempting to guide us out of frustration - I did follow the suggestion upon realizing how annoying it would be to get a 23" tube stuffed evenly in the post production.

With my leftover half skein of Wild Oak, I kept the hat fever rolling and made myself a slightly more all occasion hat. I am really impressed with how far two skeins (and a bit of a coordinating color) can take a knitter. Now, the tough part will be deciding which one to wear when we walk to school tomorrow.
I am not sure if I am sad that my boy is too young really to be easily emabarassed - one way he will be tickled to see my hat, but, the other way, I could bask in the mom power of embarassment. (This set was the hardest self portrait ever.)


Related Posts with Thumbnails