Monday, April 30, 2007

My Aversion to The Teeny Tiny

I began my daughter's Knitted Babe yesterday and for all the work, I am only on row 30 of the front or back since they are both knit the same. If you don't know what these things are they look like these but you can get as creative as you want. Only problem I am having is that the way the pattern is written is that it is 4-ply cotton on size 2 US needles stockinette the entire body, arms and legs. I only have wooden needles and I an terrified the entire time that I am going to snap these toothpick thin needles I have in half at any moment that I am knitting slower than molasses because I am so afraid. When I finally did get some momentum going, I realized I had dropped a few stitches several rows back and had to fix it but of course this is when Miss Sunshine enters the picture so I actually went and locked myself in the other room so I could fix it. I have actually never done that before. I am also afraid that I am going to sit on one of these things and "snap" or one of my girls with break them. I have already broken two pairs of size threes without even having knit anything on them!! (they came in a set)
Some of my fears would probably go away if I bought a pair of metal size 2s. I am not a fan of metal but, I have been told numerous times that the smaller you go the better it is with metal because they don't snap.
I also have no delay of gratification so it is taking way too long for me. I mean the pattern doesn't seem like it would take too long but since it is so fine and so small it is taking longer than I thought. Okay, I did just cast on yesterday but seriously.
I also have one other issue sort of non-related to the teeny tiny. Since I don't knit socks or other items in sock or fingering weight, I don't have scraps or other oddments or leftovers. The Knitted babes clothes are knit in leftover sock or finger weight yarn. I am kind of stuck in this regard. I have some that I received as a gift a while back and I have some DK weight yarn that might make due. I have asked my knitting group to check their stashes for me since we are meeting this Wednesday for some non-wool/animal fiber type stuff they can spare and enticed them with some soap for trade. I hope they come up with some stuff.
Since this is for the Princess The Babe cannot end up in the back of my closet so aversions and all I will persevere.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Checking Things Off That Project List

I am the Queen of leaving things left unfinished and/or messy. Just ask my husband. With my knitting I really want to clear up some projects because in good conscience I couldn't start any new projects without finishing up at least one or two really old ones and a few new ones before I cast on some thing else. So, yesterday, I cleared off two projects. The third, the now sweater vest is going to need a little assistance so it is going to have to wait till perhaps Wednesday and my knitting group's assistance. So with a clear mind, I will be able to cast on something else later today.

First, here is a close up of my Pink Feather and fan. I wanted to capture some detail rather than the length. Since I do not, nor can I, knit in animal fiber, I always try to find something that will capture the lace pattern and hold it. This is Moda Dea Sassy Stripes in Colorway Crush. Probably not the best choice for this project. Probably why I was not in love this time around as I have been in the past but a 4 row repeat is an easier lace repeat to remember when you have a toddler who interrupts you all the time when you knit. and you don't worry as much when it isn't a $30 a hank yarn.

Next is something I am very proud of. not because it is a hat done on circulars, because I have done a few of those but because I thought I was going to need help moving the hat from circulars to double pointed needles and I did it all on my own. I happen to have a fear of the DPN. They scare me. I am always afraid I am going to mess up my project and have to rip the entire project out. I have had nightmares about it. There I was, doing my decrease and I was seriously thinking of stopping as it got to that "magic" moment where I need to switch. I looked for the DPNs, laid them down and stared for what seemed like ages. Then I thought, I can do this. I really can. Very nervously and shaking like a leaf, I moved those stitches to those chopsticks. They dangled, poked and kept moving on me. Sunshine kept asking, Whatcha doing? I guess I looked scared and confused so she was worried about me. I muddled through and I was actually working with those pointy sticks all by myself without supervision.

So, here is the hat, a pattern I wrote, on my lovely model Baby Alive.

This is the full ensemble, Hat and poncho together, that is the gift for my friend's baby to be born very soon. Modeled again on Baby Alive. When my daughters are done with this doll I am going to to have to keep it just for its modeling capabilities.

The Princess is ready for her knitted babe. She knows she is next on the list. She doesn't even care about her dress anymore. She wants her doll. LOL

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A few WIPS

I thought I would snap a few photos of my WIPs since I don't think I have ever done that and post about them.

This first one is the Princess's sweater. The body is complete just needs to be sewn. One sleeve is done and the other is just about finished. Sorry, it isn't the best picture but Sunshine was jumping up and down on my bed as I was attempting to take these pictures. Typical for her, btw. As I was taking the pictures, Miss Princess walks in the room and says, Oh that is my sweater. I changed my mind. I don't want a full sweater anymore. I just want a vest now, can you do that? I want just a vest where I can wear a red or black shirt underneath. So the next picture is just the body without the sleeves.

This is what it will look like without sleeves. The original pattern, of course, has no finishing so I am going to have to figure something out for the arm holes and neck. I guess the sleeves will get the ole frog treatment. Maybe I will make a hat and slippers out of them. The yarn was a gift from the coordinator of my knitting group and I have already made a baby blanket out of it

This is the baby hat I am making that goes with the poncho I posted a few day ago. I am making it for a friend whose baby is due at the beginning of June but, she will probably be induced early due to a blood disorder the baby already has thanks to the Mom being "negative" and the baby being "positive". Since it is her third and probably her last, I didn't want to do the traditional blanket which I am sure she has plenty of but decided to make something a little bit different.

I am really not a "fan" of Feather and Fan so I am not quite sure why in the world I casted that on. I will probably not make that a long scarf. If I get bored enough, Barbie might end up with a very nice blanket (it is longer than that right now, so maybe the teddy bear?)

Of course now is when I start day dreaming of what I want to do next. Sunshine's Vest is too warm to do in the summer so besides the Knitted Babe, who knows....

Friday, April 27, 2007

What I Am Looking Forward to Most About Summer Time...

With the "Spring Into Summer" Dishcloth Swap, we were asked to post about what we are looking forward to most about the summer. Besides all the knitting I really hope I will be able to do with all the bright colors and wonderful new cottons and exquisite soy I have acquired. There is something else I am looking forward to as well.

Growing up, we lived in a row home community of home after home in a neighborhood nestled way back in West Philadelphia. If you didn't know it was there, you might actually miss it. There were several one way streets off a semi-major road where you could often hear kids playing in the streets, kids on bicycles, Moms calling their kids in for dinner and the bell for the ice cream truck every summer. Out front of our little strip of a front yard, if you could actually call it that, we grew rose bushes that looked something like these. Not quite as nice as these but definitely roses and definitely pink and some even had a yellow tint as well. I remember every year as spring turned into summer watching the little buds sprout into full blown roses and being allowed to cut just one rose for the table. Those bushes thrives in the city, amazingly without much care from my Mom or me and lived on even after we moved away.

Every summer now, I stroll my own neighborhood looking for a rose bush hoping to find a pink one, but any color will do, to see the buds turn to blooms and to bring back all the memories that the flower holds for me of my childhood. We tried to grow our own again but, for some reason it just never really happened. It wasn't meant to happen again, just live on in my memory I suppose.

Of course with summer brings vacations, swimming, the beach, trips to the Pocono Mountains, a trip to Florida this year (for me not the family) but the roses are what always brings memories of my childhood and is what I look forward to most.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Scent of Coffee Fills the Air

And not what you would think....

Since I signed up for the Knitter's Coffee swap, I thought I would combine my "other" craft too and decided to make some coffee soap. Lately I tend to buy my coffee from 7-11, Wawa (both convenience shops), Starbucks or Bucks County Coffee because my husband does not drink coffee (I know the horror of it) so why waste good brewed coffee. Aileen (blog-less) was kind enough to save her grounds for me and about 19 ounces (weighed) of brewed hazelnut coffee for me from yesterday so that I could make soap from it today.

This is the just poured soap. I usually use distilled or filtered room temperature water but since the coffee was from yesterday it was in the refrigerator. Well, the reaction from the sodium hydroxide when it hit the coffee was so intense that it heated up the coffee so hot to almost boiling. It was amazing. It made the entire house smell of coffee which it still does several hours later as it sits "sleeping" on my dining room table. I was going to scent it with some chocolate fragrance oil but the mixture of the brewed coffee and regular cocoa butter makes the soap smell amazing all on its own already without anything added. The soap will be ready to cut into bars tomorrow. It is going to be a wonderful scrubby bar.
Hmm come to think of it, I might have a little bit of my Mochacino Butter left... now where did I put that? It had coffee butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, vanilla oil.. good for the skin, the lips...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Un dimanche après-midi à l'Ile de la Grande Jatte

"Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte"; it is my favorite painting done by Georges Seurat. I have never actually seen the original that hangs in Art Institute of Chicago since I have yet to go to Chicago, but I have seen some of Seurat's studies of it. One of them hangs in the Metropolitan in New York City. It is a phenomenal piece. When you look at it very close up all you see are these tiny little dots of color and think what the heck? But, as you get further and further away from it, the painting comes into focus, you realize what it is and you can truly see the beauty of the piece.

Even though (the shock of it all) I was an international business major in college, I studied Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism before, during and after college. They are my favorite art time periods. Degas, Renoir, Monet, Manet, I can tell the difference, the strokes and techniques are my favorite. Degas is really my favorite of all really since I love ballerinas. You wouldn't know by looking at me but till I was 12, I danced. I was even accepted into the Pennsylvania School of Ballet

I can sit in the Philadelphia Art Museum for hours looking at the Impressionism collection. We are lucky enough to have another fabulous collection, The Barnes Foundation which is one of the world's largest collection of Impressionist and Post Impressionist artwork open to the public with pieces by Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne, Renoir and Modigliani, to name a few. I once came within days of meeting Marc Chagall. He died just a week before his exhibit opened here and he was supposed to come. We actually have tickets. The exhibit was still spectacular.

l'Ile de la Grande Jatte is probably why I like colors all over the place and not really satisfied with solids. I am never really quite drawn to them. It is also why things close up look like a mess but when you back up slowly, it comes into focus. I put a copy of l'Ile de la Grande Jatte in my side bar to remind me of that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I like it! Now Change Everything

Why is it when I find a pattern I like I automatically want to change something to it? I am never happy with it from cast on to bind off 100%. There is usually something I just HAVE to do it to change, it, alter it, make it mine or something to it.

Of course there is the obvious, for me, the yarn thing. I rarely find a pattern I like that is written in a yarn I can actually use. So, right off the bat I have to change that. I am getting very good at the gauge thing. Believe it or not, I am a rare swatch doer since I am not much of a clothing knitter per se and I am one of those knitters you love to hate since I get lucky in this area. Don't get me wrong, I have had a few whoppers of mistakes that have ended up as doll blankets but thankfully they were done in cheap yarn. There have been rare occasions when I can use the yarn the pattern calls for and there are times when even though i can use the yarn in the pattern I STILL want to change it.

Then there is the cast on. I am not much for the picot cast on so if I can avoid it, I do. It is cute for babies so I have do it a few times but, it is definitely not a favorite and it is annoying.

Next I might sit with 2-4 hat patterns and combine them. Or I might not like the increase or decrease a pattern calls for so I'll change it. Upping the needle size is one of my favorite things to do too.

Lets not forget working without a net at all (no pattern and making it up as we go along). That has set a few things to the frog pond when I forget what I was doing but this is usually when I am doing a wash cloth so it is a same project to begin with anyway. I need to start writing things down more.

I couldn't even do that two rectangle baby poncho like the pattern calls for. Which, by the way, here it is. i decided not to add the flower brooch, it would have been too much

Oh I know. I am 95% process, 5% product. If I had my way, All of my needles would have some project on them and I have a lot of needles. Then I'd go stir crazy and no project would ever finish.

One of these days I will surprise myself. I will find a pattern I love in a yarn I love and knit the piece from cast on to bind off with out changing a single stitch and be in love with the entire thing.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Knitter's Coffee Swap 2 Questionnaire

We have been assigned partners!! This is not a secret swap and mine is Tiffany who hails from Oregon a state I have yet to visit. Check out her blog, Pink Knitting Adventures . Her favorite color is Pink, imagine that? The Princess will definitely be happy shopping for her. I cannot wait to chat with her and shop for her!! She also has a little man in her life. I wonder if he is into Thomas? Or perhaps he is more of a Handy Mandy kind of a guy. Little Miss Sunshine will be happy shopping for him.

Anyway, here are my responses to the Knitter's Coffee Swap 2 Questionnaire

1. Whole bean or ground? I do have a coffee maker that grinds so either with do

2. Fully-loaded or decaf? Fully Loaded, I need my caffeine

3. Regular or flavored? Prefer regular but the occasional hazelnut or vanilla

4. How do you drink your coffee? Depends on the kind but I do have a sweet tooth so I do need a sweetener of some kind otherwise it can be too bitter for me. In the morning usually with some milk but I have been know to drink it black

5. Favorite coffee ever? ColCafe and Dolca, both are Colombian Brand

6. Are you fussy about your coffee or will any old bean do? I do like to try new coffees from different places. I grew up having from one of the best coffee producing countries in the world (Colombia), now I have to compare

7. Favorite treats to have with your coffee? plain or chocolate Croissant

8. Anything else about your coffee preferences? I would the time to drink it still warm, to enjoy it an to be able to sit and knit while doing so without interruptions but you can't have everything ;-)

9. Yarn/fiber you love? organic cotton, soy (a new love)

10. Yarn/fiber you hate? wool or other animal fibers being that I am allergic to it

11. What's on your needles? a baby hat, wash cloth (these are always on the needles), a lace scarf, a never ending sweater for my daughter

12. Favorite colors? Any shade of purple but I am always told I need to branch out so I did this questionnaire in brown and green :-)

13. Allergies? Animal fiber yarns like wool, mohair, cashmere, etc. I just stay away from all animal yarns to be safe including silk. I am also allergic to lanolin and silicone (you’d find them in body products), cats, most dogs, cigarette smoke and fresh cut grass.

14. Anything you really love, really don't like, or just need to get off your chest? hmm, I love doing these swaps. I love crafty gifts and exchanges. I am a process crafter not just with knitting but with all my crafts. My other major craft is handmade toiletries which I love as much as knitting.

Well, I think that does it for me. If you have any questions, please do not hesitant to ask.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

What Kind of Knitter are You?

I thought this was a very cute quiz I came across some where is my Internet travels so I had bookmarked it for a later date. here is that later date, LOL.

Yesterday was interesting going to the LYS that is closing btw. It was the first time I was in a shop that was MOBBED. I got some needles and 6 skeins of this denim and cream colored yarn that if it weren't sleeping next to Miss Sunshine I'd take a picture of it. The LYS did have some other cotton and non-woolish type stuff but, I was very well behaved and restrained myself. She had some very lovely purple yarn, 3 hanks. I had no clue what I would do with it and I would have been falling back to type for me buying purple so I did not buy it. I wasn't speaking to me. I also followed the rule of thumb of my friend over at the Caffeinated Knitter and if I didn't find at least three patterns I liked in any of the old publications I didn't buy anything and well, nothing spoke to me there either. Pretty inexpensive trip by my standards.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?

You appear to be a Knitting Adventurer. You are through those knitting growing pains and feeling more adventurous. You can follow a standard pattern if it's not too complicated and know where to go to get help. Maybe you've started to experiment with different fibers and you might be eyeing a book with a cool technique you've never tried. Perhaps you prefer to stick to other people's patterns but you are trying to challenge yourself more. Regardless of your preference, you are continually trying to grow as a knitter, and as well you should since your non-knitting friends are probably dropping some serious hints, these days.
Take this quiz!


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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Another Gift Giving Occasion

Mother's Day is now less than a month away. I need to think of something the girls can make both grandmothers, my SIL, my husband's Aunt (even though she isn't technically a mother she sort of helped raise him) and realistically me. Yes, I sit there and help them make my gift since hubby waits till the last minute and the horror actually BUYS me a gift. No matter how many times I tell him to do something crafty with the girls. No matter how many times I tell him to make the cards with them instead of buying them. No matter how many times I tell him I want it to come from the heart instead of the wallet. He doesn't get it.

I really and truly do it for a few reasons. The Princess LOVES it. She can't wait and has already asked what we are making this year in January for Mother's Day and Father's Day. My Mom loves it too. She has every single gift on display in her room. Well, except the years we made chocolates and other edibles, of course. My MIL I am not so sure. I think she likes the gifts but, like her son is more of an open your wallet and spend some money on me kind of a person. My SIL definitely is but, I think she understands because she has three boys of her own and she loves receiving gifts from little girls. Receiving a hand knit gift is a different story but, we won't go there. That has me thinking, I wonder if she will take a hand knit gift from the Princess once the Princess starts knitting? AH but I digress since she isn't knitting yet.

Think...Think...Think.... Quoting one of my favorite characters.... (Winnie the Pooh)

I Know!! Both girls took spring school pictures. We could make paint wooden picture frames and give every one school pictures. We have some leftover paint from the jewelry boxes we made at holiday time and neglectful me still hasn't given anyone a picture yet. It sometimes pays to be forgetful, LOL

My Mom already knows she is getting the Floppy hat from me. So that she is happy, I am going to have her pick the yarn too although, where do you think I get my obsession with purple from? ;-) She also wants an assortment of travel size shower gels and lotions for her trip with a travel case with zippers. I am going to see if one someone from my knitting group can make a case with zippers but the gels and lotions I can definitely oblige her with. Just made a fresh batch of shower gel the other day and can make lotion whenever.

AS for MIL, I am thinking some soaps. She does love my soaps. I will give her that. Oh and my sprays. Since it is getting close to the season where she spends a lot of time at the house in the Mountains I might make her some of that too. Maybe some Citronella or Lemon Eucalyptus spray this year for the bugs. Every time I give her something knitted, I never see it again so I think she just gives it to the dog. in fact, I think last time I purposely just made something for the dog because the Princess technically shares custody with him and that is what she wanted me to do. So, I did.

As for me, well, I want a day to relax and knit but, I am not going to get it so you think I can run and hide somewhere? Hmm wishful thinking.

Looks like I'll be going to Dollar tree, Michael's or AC Moore in the near future to find some wooden picture frames to paint. The Princess will be happy. I just have to Little Miss Sunshine interested or at least away from it and not too messy.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Finally an FO

Almost my entire knitting group is making wash cloths for my friend Aileen's bridal shower. This is one of the ones I made. It was requested. She gave anyone who would take Sugar and Cream Cotton a ball of yarn since I wasn't there that day, she made sure to give one to me because she wanted a round cloth. I am infamous for them.
I happen to sell them with my soaps. I sometimes get ladies who just buy the clothes because they like the pattern. I once had a knitter buy one because she wanted to figure out the pattern. I actually had someone insist once it was crochet and since I don't crochet, I told her I swear it is knit but she didn't believe me. She had been knitting for years and continued to insist it was crochet till I pulled out my needles from behind the table with one on the needles and demonstrated it for her. She was definitely fascinated. I think if I do that show again I should print up the pattern and sell it there ;-)
I have played with this pattern so often, I think I can do it in my sleep by now. I wonder if I can figure out to do it on dpns now? I am very clumsy when it comes to dpns so I don't do much except i-cord with them but, I might give it a go. Better than having to stitch it up.
I have another FO I never photographed. Little Miss Sunshine's Winter hat. It matches her green coat, of course.
Her favorite color is green, as you've read and the Princess's favorite color is Pink. When I first made the hat, I really wasn't sure who was going to be the owner so I used both their favorite colors. As it was going along, Miss Sunshine laid claim and that, as they say, was history. It is made with Knit Picks Shine Worsted and I really liked working with and might have to get more of it. The tie was added later since Miss Sunshine is not one for keeping on her hat and I can remove it next winter very easily.
I did start a little flower brooch for the poncho but now, I think I am debating it and might toss that idea. sometimes I need to say enough is enough and end my master piece. I am going to think on it a bit more and make a decision this weekend.
Another knit shop in my area is closing. How sad is that? This makes the second in two months. We are going to check it out this weekend. I have never actually been to that one. Maybe that is why it is going out of business ;-) At least I think spring is starting to arrive here

Thursday, April 19, 2007

"Spring Into Summer" Dishcloth Exchange Questionnaire

I am a big fan of the "cloth" so when I found the "Spring Into Summer" Dishcloth Exchange, I was very excited to sign up. The hostess has a very lovely questionnaire and here are my responses:

1. When did you learn to knit? Who taught you? I was nine years old and my grandmother and great Aunt taught me knit

2. What was your very first completed object? I made a doll blanket Your most recent? I made a baby poncho

3. What was the very first thing you sent to the frog pond? (pulled out and started over) A lace scarf Your most recent? A lace wash cloth (hmm, I am sensing a theme here, LOL)

4. What is currently on the needles for you? A round washcloth, a sweater for my daughter, a lace scarf, a flower brooch

5. What types of needles do you enjoy working with? What have you tried and hated? I love wood, bamboo and rosewood especially. I really do not like metal. They slip on me way too much

6. Have you knit dishcloths before? YES!!

What was your favorite one? I reworked a round cloth that I can practically do in my sleep that I love

Least favorite? Those ones that have intricate patterns where every line is different and you have to pay close attention or you mess up (which I do very often)

7. Do you use homemade dishcloths or face cloths yourself, or give them as gifts, or both? All of the above

8. What are your favorite and least favorite scents? (For your body, such as soap/lotion/etc) Favorite: Citrus Least favorite: Patchouli

9. What are your favorite colors? All shades of purple and lavender

10. What colors (if any) are your bathroom and kitchen decorated in? kitchen is blue and white, bathroom is very neutral tones

11. What other hobbies and crafts do you enjoy? Soap making, toiletry making, chocolate making, painting, crafts with my kids

12. Chocolate: Dark? White? Milk? Ew? Milk and white. Yummy.. chocolate

13. Do you like salty treats? What kinds? Mmm salty... especially popcorn and pretzels oh and Chex Mix, yum (note to self: don’t fill these things out when hungry, LOL)

14. If you could go anywhere in the world for one day and spend the day any way you wanted, where would you go and what would you do? Well, I would like to go visit where my Mom is from, Cali Colombia, one more time to revisit all the places from my childhood and show it to my children but it isn't the safest of places right now especially for Americans so a very nice and relaxing alternative would be a nice relaxing day at the spa

15. Do you have any allergies? (Yarns, foods, etc. that might impact what your pal can send) Unfortunately, yes. Animal fiber yarns like wool, mohair, cashmere, etc. I just stay away from all animal yarns to be safe including silk. I am also allergic to lanolin and silicone (you’d find them in body products), cats, most dogs, cigarette smoke and fresh cut grass. Aren’t I fun at parties?

I am very much looking forward to this exchange!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I got my Knitter's Treat Exchange Box!!!

I had a fabulous buddy!! She really spoiled me!!! She writes Alabama Fiber Dreams and she sent to me lots of emails, and posted comments to my blog. Then she sent me a fabulous package.

She went over and beyond the call of duty for sure. She sent me 2 publications, Knit Simple and Knit N Style, and a book called One Skein Wonders. I do have to admit a funny here. I bought the same two magazines for my KTE buddy so my buddy will be getting the same exact magazines, LOL.

Some wonderfully made stitch markers, two flavors of coffee and two notebooks

She was also very generous and sent the Princess and Miss Sunshine little gifts as well

and last but not least, the yummy, yummy yarn called Delicious and it is. So soft made of 100% soybeans which i have never experienced before so this is a first and I am in heaven. I have rubbed it against my cheek several times already.

it is from a local place near her called Kollage Yarns. I am definitely going to check them out further.

So, Jessi, thank you so very much for everything! This has been a wonderful experience for me. Now to get my package out to my KTE buddy. (it is put together almost completely.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A WIP that is almost finished

I put it out it out there, I set the date and now it is almost finished! I can't believe it and it is a first for me too. It isn't a scarf, slippers nor a hat. No, not that sweater I promised my daughter that still sits on the needles and thankfully I made a size bigger for next season not that it would matter since she is very petite and slender (I envy her). It is the baby poncho for my friend's baby that isn't even due till the last week in May first week in June.

Actually, technically, the poncho itself is done. I stayed up past my bedtime and sewed the rectangles together and all. I want to make a little rosette for the front and I think I want to trim the edges in some fun fur, hot pink, but I need to learn how to do it. Luckily, I have my knitting group tomorrow night and several of the ladies have volunteered to teach me. They "claim" it is easy to do so we shall see"

I will actually be able to cross something off my list this week. hooray!!

Now on to the next. A few washcloths and my Mom's hat.... I actually started one washcloth for a bridal shower already. Everyone in my knit group is making a washcloth for one of our members bridal shower. Isn't that fab?

Monday, April 16, 2007

What the Hey, More Swaps and Exchanges

First I have to begin this post by saying it is April 16th, I live just a hip, skip and a jump from downtown Philadelphia and it is SNOWING IN APRIL. This is right folks. The Princess's school called me already to say school will be delayed two hours because of the weather. In April. You know, spring.. After Easter/Passover. When the kids should be playing outside in short sleeves, riding bicycles, climbing the treeing my front yard, going to the playground every day. No wonder my sister is moving to Florida. Ah but I digress.

My swap addiction is on a roll now. There is no stopping it. I am going to have to stop surfing the other knitter's blogs soon. Yesterday while printing labels for a party favor order, I found yet another knitter's exchange "Spring Into Summer" Dishcloth Exchange. Add that to the one I already knew about that has their sign ups begin today, Knitter's Coffee Swap 2, that I found during last time's label printing session which makes my count to five knitting swaps/exchanges. Don't add in my soap swaps because that would be just way too many.

I like the "Spring Into Summer" Dishcloth Exchange because it isn't just the cloth but you can add some goodies to it including a soap which, of course, I emailed the organizer right away that I sell handmade soaps and could she pretty please link my web site to the exchange's blog. She happily did so. Also the total value isn't too high like some of the other ones.

I like the Knitter's Coffee Swap 2 because well, it's coffee and what self respecting Colombian doesn't like coffee? I was bummed when I found this group at the tail end of their last exchange because I had missed out but, happy when they decided to do for another round. I can just smell it now. Or is that the coffee sitting next to me? ;-)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Yet Another Swap

Believe it or not, I belong to a group for knitting on yahoo. My soapmaking buddies are laughing hysterically right now because I belong to over 100 soapmaking groups on yahoo. Do not fret, I am special notice on most of them. This is how I get notices that they are having swaps or exchanges like a group I am on called Monthly dishcloth KAL. They doing dishcloth exchanges frequently and this time around I am off my swap diet and decided to join in.

You do have to have been a member for 3 months already so if you are thinking of signing up for this one you can't unless you are already a member of the group. they run the exchanges rather frequently, several a year, so if you want to exchange dishclothes which are pretty easy to knit, IMO, and let you try out new patterns, then sign up for the group now and be already a member for the next one.

I really enjoy this KAL over most of the others because it really sets realistic goals for me to follow and I love the way every month they send out rows of pattern row by row but don't tell you what you are knitting quite yet. I know it is much easier to knit a dishcloth in a month, even more than one than anything else but, I find it rather simple to follow and very organized. When you actually follow it as they post the pattern daily it is rather cool to watch your cloth appear daily. Of course I rarely do this monthly.

Now to figure out which pattern to make....

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Soapmakers Gathering!!

I know that most who read my blog are knitters but, I am so excited that my region is in the process of organizing a soapmaker's gathering. The last one was two years ago. All the big areas have them every year, Texas, Chicago, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, New England, I am sure I am missing some all have them sometimes even more than once a year. Not us (which includes PA, NJ, DE, and MD) we don't have get togethers that often. NY is included in the New England gathering but they will come to ours as well. NY even has their own.

Last time, I even gave a rousing demonstration on lotion making from scratch. Everyone got to take a little sample home as well. There is usually a few demonstrations from participants, some vendors give talks on products, perhaps come and sell products at a discount (love that), you get a very nice goodie bag from tons of vendors, there are always door prizes. Last time every one got one or two of those (how cool is that?) We do a swap of finished products. We might trade supplies or garage sale those. Plus it is always good to see old friends you haven't see since the last time we had one of these things. Which did I mention was two years ago? Yes, we chat online and a few over the phone but one comes in from Puerto Rico (she is originally from New Jersey) just for this event so, I only see her at this event.

Oh and what goes better with soapmaking? Knitting!! A bunch of the participants bring their knitting so it is cool to see a bunch of soapmakers knitting as well. Not only do we get to discuss one passion, we get to discuss two! During one get together I got to watch someone give a lesson on magic loop while we were chatting about herbs. For me, it doesn't get any better than that.

How many days till October?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Trip To Texas?

One of my closest soaping buddies moved from New Jersey to Texas at the end of last year. I really miss her. She is one of the many reasons I began to play with cold process soap and persuaded me to make liquid soap. I taught her how to make whipped body butter and helped her get her lotion formula just right.

She lived maybe an hour and 15 minutes from me and we got together several times a year to make soap, swap supplies and to harass the sales people at the local malls. We even went into NYC together to a trade show for natural bath and body products and the International Gift Show one year.

We email almost daily and chat on the phone every so often thanks to many minutes and free long distance but, of course, it is not the same thing. Every time we speak she asks when I am coming to visit her. When we spoke last night is was no different she even had another one of our friends over helping separate out some Shea, cocoa and palm butters which, of course, the two of them trying to persuade me did not help.

The last time I got on a plane was July 2000 when I was pregnant with the Little Princess. I just haven't had a need or desire to fly any where since then. I had been flying once or twice every year of my life since I was 9 months old so I was quite content to not be flying any where.

I am half debating taking the Princess with me IF I actually decide to eventually go. She has actually been begging me to take her on a plane. Why? I have no idea.

I'd have to see what a flight would cost but, I definitely have plenty of people to stay with. There is a huge soap community in Texas and I have known them, at least through phone conversations and email, for years. Then there I my friend from New Jersey who I actually know IRL. She can't wait till I come visit her in her new home. She says she has the guest room all ready for me.

PS Those who asked for the information on that other swap: You are going to have to wait till after I sign up for me to post the information unless you email me. I am taking the Yarn Harlot's advice in this one, thank you very much. I want to make sure I get a space in that swap since they are limiting it :-)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Surveying the Stash

My friend Aileen was coming over with freshly wound yarn (gosh I love her!!) and I wanted to go through my yarn to see what I had that was buried deep down that was not yet would to see if I could beg her to wind for me. I, of course, came up with a few hanks of mystery yarn. A hank of Wool in the Woods I bought during my trip to New Jersey, a still unwound hank of my favorite Blue Heron Chenille (ohhhh does that feel sooo soft), a mystery bag of Cherry Tree Hill non-animal fiber yarns but I also got to oo and ahh over all my other yarns too. If your stash is still at the controllable stages, your really should go and revisit some of your old friends. They really do miss you.

Speaking of old friends, I came across one in my survey of my stash. Actually 8 of them. It was my first "I can't believe I bought it" purchase. I think I bought 12 of them and I am now down to 8 of them but I bought it over a year and half ago so I am moving pretty slowly through it. Now I read it is being discontinued so, I might move even more slowly through it. It is Rowan Cotton Tape. (This is the only picture of it I could find. My camera is out and about today) I have used it in a hat for little miss Sunshine with a green cotton from Knit Picks, I made a head scarf for the princess with it and I have used it in a belt for a friend and I even think I used it in a wash cloth believe it or not. Yet, I still have a ton left. Fever or #555 is the color I have which is a hot pink and it was a bargain at the time of my purchase, I think it was like $2.50 off the original price. I also think it was my first non-Internet purchase of what I would call "real" yarn not to offend but non-acrylic, name brand yarn. i guess no matter what, I am going to have to keep some of this around for posterity's sake

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My Project List


I figure if I wrote it in big letters I'd get the point across my head, I didn't mean it as a shout at you.

I do what is easy. It is easy for me to sit in front of this computer. It sits smack dab in the middle of my kids playroom. Right in the middle of their games, toys, television, computer and work tables. It is a stone's throw from the laundry room (not that I like to do that either). It makes it very easy to do research for projects, knitting or soaping, design web sites (one of my other jobs) or just surf the net. It doesn't make it too convenient to knit.

I decided if I put my list of projects I want to knit in the next few months out there, out of my head, written down some where that I can't lose the list, perhaps it will be the motivator to actually make me bring my knitting into the kids playroom and knit while I am there. I still have my major deterrent in my 4 year old. She still likes to grab at my needles, my yarn, my knitting but, I am getting better at dodging her. Also yarn cakes are so much easier to carry around with me and knit standing with than cheaper large balls of yarn. Something new I learned.

Something else I know about me. If I don't have a due date for a project forget it ever getting finished. My first project on the needles is a baby poncho for a friend's baby due in early June but she could be forced to deliver at the end of May. What better motivator? I have a limited amount of time to get it done so I am moving my tush as fast as I can. If I don't get it done in time and the kids is born, she could outgrow it and then what was the point? I just started it and I already have 6 inches of the 16 I need for the first panel. For me that is a lot especially since my kids and husband have been on vacation.

The next project is my floppy hat for my Mom for a trip they leave for July 1st. The yarn is being wound as we speak (I hope) If I miss her flight then I miss the whole point with that project too. I think i have finally gotten her pattern down so I am just about good to go here too.

Just don't tell me it would be nice if I made you a pair of slippers or a scarf.You will be waiting till the cows come home and we don't have any cows. We never did.

I have two year old yarn for a shawl to be made that I am still researching the pattern to be "perfect". It is gorgeous Interlacements Rick Rack II btw in Purples and pink, of course. Yes, it is wound.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

And the Knitter's Treat Exchange is on!

I have been saying all along this is my first knitters/crocheters swap but then I realized it isn't. I am in a small group from yahoo called The Knitting Sisters Swappers that paired you up with someone and you swapper yarn and other goodies with them. The only problem was I was paired with my good soaping buddy who I have know and love for years, there was no mystery there. It was pretty easy to send her stuff. I could have just called her on the phone and asked her, so, what are you low on and what do you need? Of course she was the one that introduced me to that group so what was I really expecting on a group with so few people?

This is different. This is a one on one swap so from the outside it does look somewhat similar but look closer. First there are over 140 participants from probably over 10 different countries that I counted. Probably more than that. A few people might know each other from before but, I highly doubt that the grand ladies who hosted this swap matched anyone who knew each other together. Then again, it is a secret. How do 140 people from all over the world who are knitters or crocheters keep a secret? I haven't a clue but thankfully this is a one off swap otherwise the tension might kill someone!

I am really not much for surprises but for some reason I love swaps. Here I am receiving from someone I don't know and giving to someone I don't know and I love it! I have been in contact with both, don't know either, really, other than perhaps having read their blogs (I can only speculate about whom I am receiving from since, yes, I looked at every single blog of all the participates) and we have but one common thread, a love of that long stringy stuff, yarn. Oh and receiving goodies in the mail :-)

It is all very exciting!! Now what to send to my buddy... too many choices... I need to look through my inventory of soaps and lotions for her... or perhaps she'd like Shea butter? Oh some lip balm for the summer if it ever warms up!! I know, a nice whipped body butter..... too many choices .....

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Birthday Little Miss Sunshine

My youngest daughter turns 4 today so Happy Birthday Little Miss Sunshine!!

She already had her birthday party two Saturdays ago with a party at our community center with some of her classmates, her playgroup and a cousin or two with a Backyardigan's theme. We gave everyone a Backyardigan's Book and some stickers because I am tired of all the candy they get as party favors. Served pizza and cake and we were done. So worth it to not have the party in my house and have to clean up.

She couldn't make up her little mind as to what she wanted, either a blanket or a vest so that green and purple chenille you saw in a previous post is her gift still wound up in nice little balls of yarn. She did get some nice Tinkerbell goodies, her favorite Disney Character, because you guessed it, she is green.

She is a woman after my own heart, she has told me all morning she is still three and it is not her birthday, Aww, she doesn't want to get older already. I told her to just wait.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Which Movie Star are You?

I am Grace Kelly.

My good friend Ela (non-knitter) sent this to me. This isn't one of those automatic tests. With this one you actually have to number a piece of paper from one to ten and write down your answers and then you actually have to manually score yourself the old fashioned way but it is so cute you just have to try it.

If you do, pretty please post in the comments which movie star you turned out to be. I think this is so cute and I love the stars this test chose.

Which Movie Star are You? You'll be amazed. This is fun. Ladies only - Which Movie Star Are You?

Ever wonder which movie star you are most like?

Well, a team of researchers got together and analyzed the personalities of movie stars. The gathered info has been incorporated into this quiz. There are only 10 questions so it doesn't take long.

Don't read ahead please! Number your paper from 1 to 10, and then answer each question with the choice that most describes you at this point in your life, and then add up the points that correspond with your answers. Don't look ahead or you will ruin the fun!

1. Which describes your perfect date?
a) Candlelight dinner for two
b) Amusement Park
c) Rollerblading in the park
d) Rock Concert
e) Have dinner & see a movie
f) Dinner at home with a loved one

2. What is your favorite type of music?
a) Rock and Roll
b) Alternative
c) Soft Rock
d) Classical
e) Christian
f) Jazz

3. What is your favorite type of movie?
a) Comedy
b) Horror
c) Musical
d) Romance
e) Documentary
f) Mystery

4. Which of the following jobs would you choose if you were given only these choices?
a) Waiter/Waitress
b) Sports Player
c) Teacher
d) Policeman
e) Bartender
f) Business person

5. Which would you rather do if you had an hour to waste?
a) Work out
b) Make out
c) Watch TV
d) Listen to the radio
e) Sleep
f) Read

6. Of the following colors, which do you like best?
a) Yellow
b) White
c) Sky blue
d) Teal
e) Gold
f) Red

7. Which one of the following would you like to eat right now?
a) Ice cream
b) Pizza
c) Sushi
d) Pasta
e) Salad
f) Lobster Tail

8. Which is your favorite holiday?
a) Halloween
b) Christmas
c) New Year's
d) Valentine's Day
e) Thanksgiving
f) Fourth of July

9. If you could go to any of the following places, which would it be?
a) Reno
b) Spain
c) Las Vegas
d) Hawaii
e) Hollywood
f) British Columbia

10. Of the following, who would you rather spend time with?
a) Someone who is smart
b) Someone with good looks
c) Someone who is a! party animal
d) Someone who has fun all the time
e) Someone who is very emotional
f) Someone who is fun to be with

Now total up your points on each question:
1. a-4 b-2 c-5 d-1 e-3 f-6
2. a-2 b-1 c-4 d-5 e-3 f-6
3. a-2 b-1 c-3 d-4 e-5 f-6
4. a-4 b-5 c-3 d-2 e-1 f-6
5. a-5 b-4 c-2 d-1 e-3 f-6
6. a-1 b-5 c-3 d-2 e-4 f-6
7. a-3 b-2 c-1 d-4 e-5 f-6
8. a-1 b-3 c-2 d-4 e-5 f-6
9. a-4 b-5 c-1 d-4 e-3 f-6
10. a-5 b-2 c-1 d-3 e-4 f-6

NOW, take your total and find out which Movie Star you are:
(10-17 points) You are MADONNA: You are wild and crazy and you know it. You know how to have fun, but you may take it to extremes. You know what you are doing though, and are much in control of your own life. People don't always see things your way, but that doesn't mean that you should do away with your beliefs. Try to remember that your wild spirit can lead to hurting yourself and others.

(18-26 points) You are DORIS DAY: You are fun, friendly, and popular! You are a real crowd pleaser. You have probably been out on the town your share of times, yet you come home with the values that your mother taught you. Marriage and children are very important to you, but only after you have fun. Don't let the people you please influence you to stray.

(27-34 points) You are DEBBIE REYNOLDS: You are cute, and everyone loves you. You are a best friend that no one takes the chance of losing. You never hurt feelings and seldom have your own feelings hurt. Life is a breeze. You are witty, and calm most of the time. Just keep clear of back stabbers, and you are worry-free!

(35-42 points) You are GRACE KELLY: You are a lover. Romance, flowers, and wine are all you need to enjoy yourself. You are serious about all commitments and are a family person. You call your Mom every Sunday, and never forget a Birthday. Don't let!Your passion for romance gets confused with the real thing.

(43-50 points) You are KATHERINE HEPBURN: You are smart, a real thinker. Every situation is approached with a plan. You are very healthy in mind and body. You don't take crap from anyone. You have only a couple of individuals that you consider "real friends." You teach strong family values. Keep your feet planted in them, but don't overlook a bad situation when it does happen.

(51-60 points) You are ELIZABETH TAYLOR: Everyone is in awe of you. You know what you want and how to get it. You have more friends than you know what to do with. Your word is your bond. Everyone knows when you say something it is money in the bank. You attract the opposite sex. Your intelligence overwhelms most. Your memory is the next thing to photographic. Everyone admires you because you are so considerate and lovable. You know how to enjoy life and treat people right.

Don't forget, please post in the comments section which movie star you are if you take the time to take the test

Saturday, April 07, 2007

LYS Adventure

What an adventure is was....

First I picked up my friend Aileen (she has no blog, sorry) up at 9:30 AM so that we could make it to the first store that opened up at 10:00 AM in downtown Philadelphia. Aileen had a surprise for me!! She had wound up my poor Chenille I thought I had ruined a hank of and one bag of my Cherry Tree Hill Rainbow Ribbon. I was so excited! Before I spent $1 I already had yarn to knit with .

We then drove 19 miles in traffic to a store called Rosie's Cellar. Since it was Good Friday, there was barely anyone in town so we easily found a space. The first time, I could park in the space and we actually parked closer to Loop but they didn't open till 11 AM. We put $2 in the meter and walked the 4 blocks to Rosie's, stopped first for coffee and we were there.

Since Rosie's is a cellar you have to walk down to get in. It is two small rooms. Even though it is April it is freezing outside so the first thing I actually did was feel the warmth, LOL. Then notice they has yarn in every nook and cranny of these two small rooms. the two young ladies working there asked if they could help us with anything. Very friendly and helpful. I just told them we were on a yarn mecca from the 'burbs. Aileen was so funny. She kept offering to pick up any yarn for me to check fiber content to make sure it had no wool or mohair. I think she just wanted to touch everything. I just told them to point me in the direction of your cotton yarns. I was interested in Laurel by Schaefer Yarns because I love the way she names her yarns (all famous women) and it is cotton and gorgeous colorways but they didn't have it. They had some beautiful colors of various different yarns. Lots of wool blends, of course. I settled for 3 skeins of Pategonia natural Cotton in a purple colorway which Aileen is winding for me since Rosie's does not wind for you but you can wind yourself. Uh, no thank you.

It kind of looks like this

We walked back the 4 blocks, checked the meter, added more coins, entered Loop. Much bigger space. Table in the back, all the yarn tucked into cubbies, couches in the middle, very white. A male and female salespeople this time both very friendly and both asked if we needed help gave them the same answer, we are on a yarn mecca.

WAY TOO MANY CHOICES. I so have to go there again. I didn't know what to do. I almost had a panic attack. I knew I was going back definitely in August since Amy Singer was coming for an event. OMGosh they had a yarn I have been staring at FOREVER on the Internet but hesitant to buy, Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton in Sage (don't think the irony doesn't escape me but wait I have more irony later). I grabbed 4 hanks and told Aileen she must wind it for me immediately. The ever so lovely sales people at Loop smile at me and say, no worries, we can wind that for you. I AM IN LOVE. Not only did they wind it for me, it was an electric winder. It went to fast.

Back to the car because we were going 11 city blocks and that was way too far to walk in the summer let alone in the cold yesterday. This time, Aileen need to parallel park since I am really no good at it. Quarters in the meter and walked back one block to Nangellini. Here they not only sold yarn but finished knit/crochet items and artwork. She had some very unique fibers even one that looked like plastic. She liked to talk A LOT. I don't really mind if they have something interesting to say, talk about the yarn, if I can learn something about where the yarn comes from or something about knitting which we actually did. I thought she was rather fascinating. Some might just think she spoke too much. Her one mistake, IMO, was she wound some of the yarn, didn't have some of the labels and didn't know the weight of one I was interested in or how much there was of it. If she did, I would have bought it. At this point I knew we were aiming for one or two more stores (didn't know about the third) I wanted to save some fundage.

Back on the street, passed the car, added quarters to the meter just in case and went for lunch. Aileen wanted a steak sandwich but, me the Jewish one reminds the Catholic one that it is Friday so we go to a Deli where she has Tuna and I have eggs. Me no bread her no meat. Aren't we good?

Off to Sophie's Yarns which is two blocks down and one block over. This shop is very quaint. Maybe Victorian looking? A cat curled up on a knit blanket in the window in a chair. We really didn't look around too much because Aileen asks the owner right away if she has Laurel by Shaffer and she says no but she can order it if we are interested. She is the first one to offer and we both look at each other and say YES!. She calls and believe it or not they are out of the 3 color choices I want only one is available. Must be a very popular yarn. She'll order a bag and I can take whatever I want from the bag and she will sell the rest from the bag. She should have placed her order for Laurel a while ago she just hasn't gotten around to it yet. Aileen asks, how many are in a bag. She says 4. I want 2 hanks. Aileen says, heck, I will take the other two. So we bought the whole bag!

This is the colorway we chose. I think it will be gorgeous!

I think she said it will be a week perhaps two and she is shipping it for free! You can't beat that. I would definitely go back there as well.

Now we forgot the time and how much time we had to the meter so we BOOKED it back to the car. As we passed some cars they had parking tickets. Uh oh, the meter maid had been there. Faster, faster, get to the car. Why hadn't we stopped back to the car after lunch. Did we put enough quarters in the meter? Why didn't I pay closer attention to the time? I was on a yarn high that's why. More cars with tickets. Faster, faster. 9th Street, 8th street, there is the car, is there a ticket? NO!! Whew!! There is still a few minutes left even on the meter.

At any rate, back in the car to drive 25 miles to the Main Skein in Ambler (the are closing no use posting their web site). We are out of the city. Zig zagging on side streets since now it is close o rush hour and traffic is picking up. We make it there with an hour to browse. For a store that is closing for good next week, they still have tons of stuff. I hope someone is buying her stock.

On the first floor you get a nose full of cookies, mmmm, you go upstairs to three rooms of yarn. One room has yarn where I am not so sure how it was organized but it also had patterns and knitting books. The larger room had yarn organized by color. That was rather interesting. The back room had a work table and all types of baby yarn. It was in the first room I found a hank of Capri by Wool in the woods which is 50% Cotton, 50% Rayon (see more irony, no wool in a wool in the woods yarn). This is also where I bought my size 7 circulars and a copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting and since they are closing it was all 30-50% off. Aileen has the yarn to wind for me and I couldn't snag a picture for you to see but not too worry I have more.

Then we drove 12 miles further west to our last stop, Yarnings. Okay, I do have to admit this is the LYS I have been to most often. I was sad to see they are down to half their space. This is a combination of all the other stores. It is quaint, yarn in every corner, in baskets, in cubbies, in small rooms, in closets, soft light, couches, a table to work. It is a very warm environment. They carry Blue Heron yarns which I love and if they had been our only stop I would have most likely bought. Most likely next time. I just love they way they feel and they way they treat the yarns but, they are pricey. They also carry the Pategonia cotton at the same price so if I want more I can go back there because parking is free and they will wind for me (love that!) They did have some Wool in the Woods Gold Dust that sparkles a little in a lottery colorway in purples and a Wool in the Woods Sugarbee in Citrus. The nice lady wound it all for me
All in all it was an extremely eventful trip. Bought tons of yummy yarn that I need to figure out projects but, I am sure they will call to be. The organic cotton already is going to be a baby kimono I think.
Oh and in every yarn shop I showed the pattern RandomRanter sent to me for a floppy brim hat and they helped me adjust it to something that I could manage so, thank you very much I think I have a hat to make my Mom for her trip!

Friday, April 06, 2007

LYS Shopping

I am going shopping to several LYS with a good friend later today and I guess I am so excited I can't sleep. No, that isn't true. I can't sleep because both the hubby and Little Miss Sunshine both have spring colds and their coughing, sneezing and blowing their noses is what won't let me sleep. The LYS shopping is what got me to the computer.

We live in the suburbs and since I have been back to knitting, over two years, I have yet to go to the shops in center city. This will be some trip. We are hitting over 4 shops if we get to all of them. I am sure I will some yarn I do not need since all my planned projects are accounted for even ones that spring up last minute are account for since I have a little stash of cotton yarn (Thank you Cherry Tree Hill for having a wonderful sale this January!) I do need some wooden circulars in a couple of sizes, I would love some better stitch markers instead of those little plastic thingies and I am a sucker for nice needle holders.

I will try to post pictures of my surprise purchases later.

ETA: We hit 6 yarn shops! Too pooped to post pictures but will post pictures tomorrow. Yes, of course I bought yarn and lots of it. Have some home, some at friend's being wound and some being shipped since special ordered. Need sleep.....

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Please Help Me Find A Hat Pattern

My parents are taking their first real vacation in over two years. They love to travel and have been to every corner of the earth, literally, together or separately but for health reasons either theirs or one of my siblings, they haven't gone some where exciting in a while. This summer that is going to change. They got invited to a wedding in Hawaii and are going to extend that into a vacation for themselves.

My Mom tends to get sun spots very easily so and where these crazy floppy hats made of straw usually. Their last trip was more in and out of museums so I didn't think to make her anything but this time in tropical Hawaii, I want to make her a floppy hat. All I have found so far is this thing to the left which I do not mind but the pattern is written a bit complex for me besides the fact that it is written top down DK weight on double pointed needles then switching to circulars. I usually do a hat bottom up starting on circulars, reducing along the way ending with double pointed. it has a variety of other complications that this novice isn't ready for. Well, not quite yet and their trip is this summer.

Does anyone know where I can find a pattern for a hat like this for a more worsted weight cotton yarn 4.5 - in on 6 - 7 for a floppy brim sun hat? Any help will be much appreciated by me and my Mom.

I am going to a few LYS tomorrow and will ask there with picture in hand to see if the can help either with one already written or if maybe they could even fix the one I have or I'd even pay them to write one. That is how important my Mom and her trip is to me. I want her to have a good time and I want her to have a really great hat on her trip.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Is that Knit?

I was at a Dinner at my Aunt's house last night and she had a burgundy knit throw on her very white couch. Of course I had to go and sit on said couch so that I could feel the throw look at the stitches when no one was looking, and see if it was bought or knit. It was very soft and I am sure it was just there to add some color and decoration to the room. No one knit it that she knew, it was bought wither by my Aunt's decorator or by my Aunt but not a handmade gift from someone she knew. Doesn't mean it wasn't handmade but it was paid for. Bummer. And Yes, the woman who taught me to knit, my Grandmother, was this Aunt's Mother but, she never taught my Aunt to knit. not quite she why not.

My Mom was sitting there having a conversation with me but not on the couch. I wonder if she noticed me checking out the throw. Probably. I can never put anything past my own mother. Who doesn't knit herself but had somehow managed to persuade everyone she knows who knits to gift her a knitted throw or crocheted blanket so her home is filled with handmade gifts. She doesn't come right out and ask so admires your handy work so much so that you think it would be an honor to gift her something because she would treasure it so. Which of course she does. So it is worth the time and effort, heart and soul you put into it to begin with.

Oh, I do have an FO. Another Washcloth. My Pink and Purple Sugar and Cream finally has a final resting place. I did not frog it again. Sine my fashion tip I got emailed this morning said that eyelets were in fashion and that you should add something with eyelets to your wardrobe, my Pink and Purple washcloth should fit right in and feel very comfortable. or perhaps I need to stop staring at the wool int he woods Cotton I bought in New Jersey, wind it and make something out of it already. Like that is going to happen.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Knitting Publications

Thanks to the Knitter's Treat Exchange, my horizon has been open to a variety of new and different blogs. I have taken the time and energy and used one of my favorite skills, procrastination of my other responsibilities, to read a lot of the blogs of the participates and even posted on a few of them. Some have even been gracious enough to post back here or drop me an email message. It has also opened me to a variety of publications that I would never have seen or heard of or would have been interested in otherwise. I have seen all these wonderful patterns I would have never seen before either.

Now here is my dilemma. Do I try to hunt down these issues with the patterns I find interesting? Ask the person if I can borrow their issue and tell them I will pay for postage to and from even though we barely know each other? Ask them to copy just the pattern I like and I offer to pay for that? Go to my local library and if they have the magazine? I really have no clue where my library is since my township doesn't really have one and we use the one for the next town over, sort of. I think they issue us the card and then we can go to any other library in the area. okay, I digress.

I belong to a local knitting group that for the moment we are calling Sit N Knit (crocheters et. al. are welcome as well) and I have been posting to our message board if anyone has this pub or that magazine but the group, in relative terms is pretty small, only some 21 members with only 12 that are active. out of those I think maybe 5 get magazines on a regular basis that are not Creative Knitting. Not that there is anything wrong with Creative Knitting but, I already get that one and face facts, they have nice patterns in there but usually nothing to write home about.

Okay, what is a knitter on a budget to do? One of my local knitting buddies who is more experienced than me said, get me a picture and we will figure out a pattern. That was for one of the more simplistic designs I was looking at for something for little miss sunshine. However, what about the more complex ones? I have been thinking about starting a library for my knitting group. I have to think about it more and how that would work and if the members of my group would actually do it for their books and magazines. If it would help me out, I bet it would help others out. I need to think about it some more. It would definitely solve one of my little problems. now if I could only stop all this procrastination.....

Monday, April 02, 2007

How Young Were You

My 6 year old Princess keeps asking me to teach her to knit. I keep telling her she first needs to learn to tie her shoes. She does have a little dexterity issue so I want to make sure she will be able to tie and knit so it is a very slow going process but it keeps me thinking, how young or young at heart are most when they learn to knit?

I keep seeing lessons advertised for knitting for 8 year olds, kits for as young as 8, I even just saw a class at my LYS advertised for 3 class for as young as 7 (my daughter could take that one next year!) but you hear these tales of being taught as young as 5 or 6 from your grandmother. Then on the other side you hear about people deciding you learn to knit when they have children or grandchildren. They start with a simple scarf or blanket and work their way through the more beautiful art pieces.

I for the life of me cannot remember why my Grandmother and Great Aunt decided to teach me to knit or if I actually asked them to do it when I was 9 but there they where with this bright orange acrylic yarn from Woolworth's (anyone remember that store?) and green metal #8s. I made a blanket for every single one of my Barbies. Some tube dresses too, I think. Perhaps a scarf. When I was done with my bright orange I got some bright yellow. It was the late '70s early '80s, bright was in. I guess after that I got bored and moved on to some other craft at the time and it took me several years to come back to knitting.

Now my daughter has caught the crafty bug. She sees me knit and she wants in. She wants to create things too or perhaps like me wants to see what can happen with her little bits of yarn. I guess another generation of knitters is soon to be developed and I get to pass the craft down to her. I think we just need to wait till she is just a little bit older.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

For The Process of it All

I acquired a few new web site design customers (one of my many IRL WAH jobs) and as a reward/treat I decide to treat myself to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off. I have only really read the first chapter and as I am reading it, it is becoming clearer to me what kind of not only knitter I am but also what kind of crafter I am but, I think I have always know it.

When I was younger, my grandmother, my Father's Mother, taught me how to needlepoint, hook rug and yes, knit. I never finished a project. Not once. Not ever. She always had to finish them for me. I loved the concept, the idea, the design but who the heck wanted to finish?

When I was 12, I showed some talent in art and my art teacher wanted me to take additional instruction. I did have a Great Aunt who studied art at the Barnes Foundation and had a piece hanging in the Philadelphia Museum of Art so it made a lot of sense to them. I loved it. Again, though, I rarely finished a piece. My art instructor would have to declare a piece finished for it to be done otherwise I would still be painting the same dare thing over and over again. I only have one of my pieces hanging in my home and in my bathroom of all places so I can look and it every morning and think how unfinished it is. if I could just pop it out of the frame and.... Most of rest are at my parents with a few given as gifts to my sister, one actually to my brother although I don't think it is hanging and a few rare ones to a friend or two.

Then there are my soaps. I LOVE making soaps. In relative terms it is quick although, cold process does take 24 hours to get out of the molds. I have learned to be patient. I love the whole process it takes to make the soaps. The figuring out what to use, what oils, butters, scent, mold, what herbs and even what to put on the label. However, then I like to leave the bar itself looking a bit unfinished. I like the rugged look. I don't like the polished, clean, finished look. If I wanted that I might as well buy store bought soaps because they don't look handmade.

Back to knitting, and the book, and why the very first chapter made it all like a tidal wave and touch home to me. There is one part in the beginning where she goes with this one knitter who knits with an obscure material and I don't want to spoil it so but, I knew exactly where she was going before she told you. I got it. I don't ever keep any of my knitted items because I am not knitting for the warmth or for the cotton for the pretty stitches. I knit because I take the string and turned it into something amazing. Just like I turned this vat of colors and made it into flowers and trees, just like I take oils, Shea butter and lye water and turn them into a hard bar of soap. I knit because I am amazed almost every single solitary time that I can doing something amazing like that. I think I will amaze myself everytime I learn something new in knitting like when I learned to use circular needle a few weeks ago. Just like when I look at fellow knitters and crocheters finished objects and am in awe of what they can do with a little bit of yarn, any where from 1-5 needles and their heart.