October 31, 2009

Just Like the Stores - Thinking of Christmas At Halloween

This year I noticed Costco had Christmas stuff for sale well before Halloween! Remember how it used to show up at Thanksgiving and then it became Halloween and now it's even earlier.

Anyway, I'm just like the stores posting Christmas stuff on Halloween. Here are my mini-mittens for my Advent Calendar which I started back in January. Leslie, inspired me with her advent calendar and based on her suggestion I went for more white and muted colors. I have all but one mitten done...I have to embroider 20, 21, 22, 23 and then knit and embroider 24. After that, a thick string (braided/chainstitch?) will hold it all together.

Time is fleeting - Advent is a month away but you could pull it off with a mitten a day.

October 26, 2009

The Power of Love

Three years ago on this day we adopted our dog, Missy. She came from Adopt-a-Dog and was considered to be a special needs dog. She had been in the shelter for almost a year and when she was found in the Bronx she was missing most of her fur and had a compromised immune system.

As you can see from the picture she looked pretty awful but as our then 9 year old daughter said "it doesn't matter how she looks on the outside...it is what is inside that counts".

Here is how she looks now 3 years later...what a difference. All it took was some love, some time and a good home (I won't go into our vet bills as she's so totally worth it). We've moved from monthly visit to the vet (she even had breast cancer) to an annual visit only.

So today we celebrate her "birthday"...we don't know how old she is. The shelter said 2 or 3 the vet said she was closer to 5-7 when we adopted her. Doesn't matter...we all love her. No one loves you like your dog and when you adopt one they love you even more.

October 23, 2009

Remember When...

Back in the day when you first started knitting...no Internet, no Ravelry, no blogs. You had knitting books, magazines and the LYS to help you through a problem. Sometimes you were really lucky and had a knowledgable friend or mother to help you.

I started knitting in 1982 or 1983 - I know it was before my last year of college. I was visiting my grandparents with my knitting sister and her friend, Paige. They both were knitting and I was very envious of this ability...so we went to the local craft store, got some yarn, a pattern and Paige showed me how to take what I knew and put it to the pattern.

Fast forward to 2009. I have a knitting problem and I post it on my blog and on Ravelry. Within minutes I have all sorts of input and solutions! Got to love it!

Karen, gave me this advice which I think will fix it:

"I'm not sure how you do your SSKs, but I've heard if you slip the first stitch knit-wise and the second stitch purl-wise, it will look neater."

Lorette also put me onto this wonderful blog called Tech Knitting and this great post on SSKs and why they have problems.

Some may complain that technology has cut down on the human element and the connections we make in person but thanks to technology my knitting can go on and I have real solutions and people who care and can help out.

Got to love it!

October 22, 2009

Very Annoying Problem with My Ingenue

As you can see I've been working hard on my Ingenue...I've been substitute teaching all week and the kids have been reading a lot so I can knit while they read.

The first Ingenue I made was dark blue so this annoying problem wasn't evident...in this lovely dusty rose it is huge.

There are decreases right in the front and back to give some waist shaping. I've already ripped it out once as the SSKs are kind of bulky and obvious.

The K2tog are subtle...blend in.

So here's the question...do I just do K2Tog instead of the SSK in that one spot???? I realize they are different slants for shaping but they really look awful and they are in an obvious place - right on the girls.

I think I'll work on something else today and let this sit before ripping out 5 inches again. I'd appreciate any advice.

October 18, 2009

Reading Between The Lines

Yesterday was a long day for me...I spent most of the morning questioning my decision not to go to Rhinebeck. It was cold but it wasn't raining here as they predicted. Granted it made life for the family easier so my DH could put up storm windows and I covered #1 son's freezing flag football game. Miss America pointed out a few times we could be there...I kept pointing to the temperature and reminding her how cold we would be.

However, if you read between the lines, part of my decision not to go was a cost-conscious decision. Gas, entry fee, food would cost at least $75 and then I would want to buy fiber. I just wasn't in the budget this year and I can't just look at fiber. I would have left Rhinebeck with maybe one skein which would have left me grumpy and probably resentful.

So, that being said, I went to my stash and cast on another Ingenue with yarn I purchased earlier this year (on sale of course). Sometimes it is good to look at what you have and make the most of it - that is what I'm going to do for the rest of this calendar year - knit from my stash and appreciate what is there and challenge my creativity.

I'll post pictures of my Ingenue in a day or so - it is a cold, rainy, windy day and I plan watching football and knitting all day. I should have a good bit done by end of day. Happy Knitting all and to those of you who went to Rhinebeck, I hope it was wonderful and I'll be there next year (I'm saving my money now).

October 16, 2009

Knowing When To Realize It Isn't Meant To Be

This morning I woke up to snow, read the weather forecast for this weekend and realized that our annual outing to Rhinebeck is not meant to be. As I said yesterday, we have such wonderful memories and experiences and I don't want to add a miserable one to all the good ones.

I'm a trooper. I can deal with cold - heck we keep our heat at 56 degrees and I wear many layers. It is the cold, with rain and snow that is the problem. I don't relish driving a total of 3 hours for only an hour or two at Rhinebeck...it is a wonderful place but it IS a fairground. Open structures, no heat, nothing.

So, I'll live vicariously this year and spend a day with Miss America doing something else - she was in tears this morning when I told her. I think it is the mother/daughter time she's wanting most of all - it is our special outing.

I'm bummed...but is isn't meant to be...this year.

October 15, 2009

Counting Down to Rhinebeck

Like so many fiber lovers, I'm counting down to Rhinebeck. This will be the third year I've gone. The first time was with my knitting sister, her son, our mom and my daughter. It was warm and beautiful and people were shedding their handknit items in the strong sun. I was overwhelmed and bought only a few skeins here and there. We fell in love with the spun maple sugar (like cotton candy).

Last year, it was just my daughter and me. It was quite cold and we had on our Fetching fingerless mitts to help keep warm. We had a plan and made purchases which were intended for specific projects. We bought 2 bags of spun maple sugar - one for eating and one to bring home.

This year, we're taking a Rhinebeck newbie with us...my friend Kathy who lives down the street and who I've been helping learn to knit. This year might present us with our first Rhinebeck challenge as the weather forecast is predicting rain and SNOW!?! I hope it doesn't turn our favorite mother/daughter outing into something miserable. I don't have a plan for purchasing right now...I might just buy a special skein or two this year.

Let's hope the weather man is WRONG!

October 13, 2009

Acorns on Steroids

This is an acorn.
Look down - these are acorns on steroids!

I was walking the dog at the local nature center...I love the place and love the change of seasons. Today, however, I saw these uber-acorns and realized that if the old wives tales are true we are in for one long, hard, snowy winter. Can you believe how big they are?

This is a call to action people...time to start knitting! I'm casting on for my Ingenue today...it will be the third one I've made (second one for me) and I know it will knit up quick so I can stay warm when those acorns' prediction comes true!

October 12, 2009

Another One Off the Needles

It took a Giants game and a Yankees game for me to finish this off - presenting my Twisted V Pullover.

I was having a terrible time with the cap sleeves and making them taper properly...I fudged it as I went along and it worked okay.

I think the whole thing needs a good blocking - I'm in like with this sweater not in love with it.

On the other hand I've been living in my Annikki!

I think I'll cast on for another Ingenue now.

October 9, 2009

Sweater Chop Shop

My friend Melissa went to a book sellers conference and returned with a ton of books including a copy of this book for me - in fact, she even waited in line and got it autographed by the author Crispina Ffrench. She has a cool Etsy store too.

It is full of wonderful ideas for felted sweaters - I think the pillow I made could be in it! In fact, my mom was visiting and she told me I should start selling them.

Check out the tunic top on the cover - Miss America is in love with it and I would love to make it for her. Now the mission is to find old sweaters to felt and not at a great expense.

I went to the thrift shop in our town and $8 for a wool sweater is NOT what I had in mind. I might have to email my friends and see if they have any old wool sweaters they no longer want.

Anyway, check out this book...it has some wonderful items in it.

October 8, 2009

The Yankees Weren't Last Night's Only Winners

After reading Kathy B's post about the need for small cookie sheet sized blankets for the NICU where she works, I decided to cast on. During the Yankees game last night I whipped up the blue blanket from some leftover washable yarn in my stash. Then today I made the one behind it...simple garter stitch - took 2 hours while watching a movie.
The Yankees won and the NICU babies will win when they have warm handmade blankets.
Do you have a little time, a bit of yarn and the will to help out? Visit Kathy's blog and email her so you too can help a little one.

October 7, 2009

It's all about timing...

Yesterday I got an email from Vogue Knitting which told me all about a pattern sale they are having. I figured I was in trouble and I looked at all sorts of patterns...I even loved the feature they have where you can have them bound into your own personalized knitting book called KnitBook.

So I put a few patterns in my cart and went on my usual morning surf through Ravelry and the blogs I read and I came upon this post by Annie Modesitt. After reading it and totally agreeing with her position, I decided NOT to buy the Vogue Knitting patterns on sale. Be sure and read the post, write to Vogue Knitting and help out the designers who work so hard to give us wonderful patterns.

Also, I stumbled on this post by Karen...I do believe I have some washable yarn and the time to knit up something to help out the cause.

Okay, off the soapbox and back to knitting...pictures in the next post I promise.

October 5, 2009

Sometimes You Can't Make It Work For You

You know how I struggled with the buttons for this sweater to make me like it? I realized that it wasn't the buttons that were the problem...it was the sweater. While I love the yarn and the pattern (Callie Cardigan), I realized that it is too short on me...it keeps riding up and I just don't feel wonderful when I wear it. At this point in my life I want to LOVE what I wear and feel beautiful when I don my handmade item.

I also loved this sweater in theory...however it hangs on my like a loose sack...I look 20 pounds heavier than I really am. The v-neck isn't deep enough and the waist needs shaping. Fortunately, the yarn was only $15. Unfortunately, the buttons were very expensive. So, I'm going to take off the buttons and these two sweaters are going to charity. Unfortunately, neither one is feltable.

Do you have a sweater that you made and don't feel fantastic when you are wearing it? I hope this gives you permission to regift it, give it to charity, let it go.

October 3, 2009

Magic Mirror Mittens

I started these Magic Mirror Mittens at the end of last November. I completed one and then put them aside. This past Tuesday and pulled them out and decided it was time to finish them...last night at our son's flag football game I finished the thumb and immediately put them on as it was quite cold.

They are made with Rowan Felted Tweed which I very much enjoyed using. The pattern is well written - when it first came out there was an error which I noticed and fixed while knitting.

I realize these photos are dark but when I used the flash the detail was completely lost. They need a bath and I have a feeling they will be used a lot!