Sunday, December 30, 2007

I LOVE Short Rows!

How cool is this Dishcloth? OMG, I love it! I found the pattern for this on Ravelry (here it is if you're interested) and it is just great. I had some various scraps of Peaches and Cream left from baby bibs, etc. and I decided to try this out and see what it looks like. It was so much easier than I expected and I could not be happier with the results. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm thinking about making a couple of these smaller and giving them with some pretty soaps for a Wedding Shower gift. I looked up her towel colors on her Registry and I have a perfect complimentary yarn already in my stash. :)
So, the Baby Surprise Jacket continues. I'm actually further than this picture shows and I even have more current pictures but I'm not posting them since I just sent the link to this site to the Mom-to-be and I don't want to ruin all the surprise. I will tell you what happened though. I got all the way to the last 6 rows and ran out of yarn. I could not believe it. When I bought the yarn, the lady at the store (not my usual LYS but one we went to while camping) said she made this jacket in the same yarn and used 2 balls. I bought three to be safe and still ran out. Damnit! Well, the yarn isn't carried by anyone around here and I didn't really want to spend more than double the cost of the yarn in order to have is shipped from somewhere. So I got a great suggestion from a fellow Raveler who said to try and find a complimentary yarn and use it for the last few rows as an accent. I went to my LYS, Knitorious, and worked with Sandy the owner, to select a yarn. I came home and did the last 6 rows with this new yarn and it looks AWESOME! I think so anyway. I'm going to seam the sleeves and crochet an edge around the collar and cuffs to tie it all together and it's ready for the mail. The baby isn't even due until the 29th so I am very proud of myself. I do think it's too big but babies grow so it shouldn't be an issue. :)
So, what do you think of that beautiful yarn? I got it to do a Hemlock Ring Blanket for me. I came across this pattern (again thanks to Ravelry!) and I just love it. It's a lace pattern but it uses worsted weight yarn so it should go faster and be a bit easier to do. I used some of my Christmas yarn money to buy this beautiful hand-painted yarn "Classy" by Dreams in Color. Oh, it is so lovely. I knew I would need some color variation in the yarn (solids tend to bore me) and I also wanted something washable since I have too many animals and voila, Sandy showed this to me and I was in love. I'm getting started on this one after I finish this post. So pretty!!!
I also got this nice, masculine yarn for a pair of socks I have to make for Fred. Well, not "have to" but "want to." Fred got boned at Christmas (just not enough time to go around) so he's getting a little something special for his February birthday. I really like this yarn and it doesn't look too fussy so hopefully he will too. He wears really cool Italian shoes with neat colors and patterns so I don't think he'll be afraid of a little color and pattern here. I found a nice simple pattern to use and I just need to get them going.
Lastly, I finally found a use for that old pitcher filled with marbles I've had on my dresser for years just collecting dust. Damn, what took me so long to figure out that one? Love it!!

Just When You Thought It Was Safe...

I started thinking this morning about what I wanted to knit and I came to the realization that although the "Holidays" are over, my knitting list has only grown. I have a number of projects I need to get completed over the next two months and I figured I would make a list here so I can keep track and get them completed. So here they are:
1. Wedding shower gift for co-worker - due Jan 11 - I'm thinking some round small facetowels like the dishtowel I did with a couple of pretty soaps.
2. 2 Co-Worker Baby gifts - end of Jan - Probably bibs or hats - these are quick and fun and whatever I'm in the mood for at the time
3. Mom's B-day gift - due Jan 28 (the 20th to get it in the mail on time) - I already know what this is going to be and I have the yarn, I just need to get my gauge swatch completed and get it done. I can't say what because my mom is my only loyal reader here that I know of. :)
4. Fred's B-day gift - Due Feb 22 (again need to be completed early to send by mail) - got the yarn yesterday and I've found the pattern on Ravelry so I just need to swatch and go.
You know, it sounded like so much when I was listing it in my head but it doesn't look too bad written down. I guess I better get knitting though.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Organization is GOOD!

I spent some time this morning organizing my little knitting storage space. I have an old toychest from my childhood in the other room that has gift bags filled with yarn in it. It's a mish-mash of novelty and various acrylic yarns I've bought over the last year or two. The space below is in my knitting room and it's where I keep my "in progess" stuff, books, tools, etc. My partner and I share the closet and although I am much shorter I have the top since it was easier to clean out. Since I only have one shelf and a rod, which does me no good, I've had to improvise some and it seems to have worked out pretty well. It's hard to see but my books are too the left perpendicular to the door because the shelf doesn't actually go all the way to the back wall. There's about a 4" gap between the shelf and the wall and the books can't sit back there without going all catywhompus (how does one spell that anyway?). Behind them are the few cones of Peaches and Cream I have been working my way through. On the rod are 4 bags; one with completed stuff, one with various Peaches and Cream or Sugar and Cream cotton, one with all my feltable wool, and the last with my blanket in progress.
On the right are my bins with DPN and circular needles and tools, journaling tools, and swatches. Below those is a container with some stitchmarkers I made and lastly, the box with the embroidery floss from my Grandma. I'm very pleased with the final result.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Achin for an Urchin...

...for me anyway. This isn't it unfortunately. I cast on 22 sts for what I thought was going to be a medium size Urchin hat that I would wear with true abandon. Alas, it was not to be. When you don't do a gauge swatch (bad Zillah) you don't always get the size you want. This project demonstrates the need for a gauge swatch all too well. Anyway, it's totally adorable and, while I can get it on my head, it would look better on a smaller little girls head. I used exactly one of the skeins so I'm thinking to do a little matching scarf and give it to a little girl I know. In the meantime, I will be looking for another suitable yarn in order to make another of these for myself. Once I figured out how to do the first wedge, the pattern just zipped along at about 15-20 minutes per wedge. Time to do some shopping for a nice thick and thin yarn.
Now that the holiday knitting is all finshed and at the post office, I am working diligently on finishing the Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket for my upcoming niece. It's moving along really well and if I focus on it over this extended weekend, I might even be able to get it finished. I'm using Laine du Nord's "Papiro" yarn and I just love the colors and the fabric it is making. I am also using the Boye circular needles from my little interchangable needle kit, and I gotta tell you, they're driving me nuts. I'm seriously thinking about starting to buy new circular needles as I do projects and investing in the good ones. I like the one pair of bamboo circulars I have so I'm thinking maybe more of them. I'm also considering buying some Knitpicks Harmony needles for an upcoming project. I'll see how I like them since they sure are pretty! So, last night I was surfing the web and I was over reading Crazy Aunt Purl and she had documented the confrontation between her two kitties for the new scratching pad she brought into the home. Apparently this scratching pad is very popular in the house. After looking at several comments and getting turned on to these adorable scratchers, I decided my guys needed one. Well, this afternoon I went to Big Lots and lo and behold they had the great Cat Scratch Fever Dance Floor for the kitties to get their groove on. (I think I combined decades with that comment) I brought it home, dosed it with the cat nip, and joy insued. They seem very happy and, I hope, they will figure out this is a much better choice for scratching than the speakers in the music room.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Brother

First, Happy Birthday to my brother if you read this today. Your present will be in the mail tomorrow (sorry it's late) and I hope you have a great day and stay nice and warm where you are which should be a problem as close to the equator as you are at the moment. :)
Meanwhile, last night while it did this...
I did this...

Very fun pattern. This is the Calorimetry for one of my aunts who has nice long hair and spends a good deal of time outside. I hope she will like it. I'm going to do one more for the other aunt too and then all my gifts are finished. That's my project for today and then I get to start on my hat. I've purchased some beautiful Debbie Bliss chunky yarn and am thinking to do the Urchin hat from knitty. Too cute for words! :)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I've Been a Busy Girl

The second knitted Watchcap is done. This pattern is just so simple but looks really cool when it's on. This one is for my stepdad who asked for his own when he saw me knitting the one for my brother. I did want to make them look a little different so I added the green stripes which I really like. For some reason though, this one drove me nuts when I started decreasing for the top. I had to frog back several rows the first time when I realized I had gotten off by one stitch. Then, I did it again. Finally I realized if I would just quit thinking so much and just knit what I see, I would do a lot better. And guess what, third time is a charm sometimes.

Next are the dishtowels for my aunt. I think this turned out to be a really nice set. I love the colors and I think the variety of pattern and color is really fun. I hope to get them in the mail Monday and hopefully she'll enjoy them for years to come.
Following the dishtowels is the Shrug/Hood/Scarf thing for my brother's girlfriend. She's 8 months pregnant and I wanted to send her something she can enjoy now and later. I've never met her either so I have no idea if something like this is her style but I really like the way it turned out. I basically just knit a really wide scarf, twisted it once and then stitched the ends. I think I'm going to send copies of these photos with it so she can see the different ways she can wear it. I hope she likes it.

Lastly I needed a gift for my 14 year old cousin and when she was looking though my knitting journal earlier this fall, she mentioned that she really liked the purple fun fur in the picture of my stash. So, I took it and added some Lambs Pride worsted wool for warmth. I grabbed nice big needles (17) and knit up a quicky scarf for her. Although you can't tell from the picture, it's got a drop stitch repeat every 4th row. I think she'll enjoy it.

Two more gifts to go. I going to either do another couple of quick scarves, a couple of coin purses, or I might get froggy and try one of these. The pattern intrigues me and it looks like a pretty quick knit. I've got some yarn in my stash that I think will work so I might just give it a go for the rest of the weekend's project knitting. Stay warm where you are (if that's an issue) and I'll probably be sitting here knitting. :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Hat's Off to Me!

Yeah! REDs hat is finished and I think it looks great. If you're reading this RED, then you just spoiled your surprise but I don't think you check this out too often. Now I'm just waiting on an address to send it to since he's out of the country for a while. This hat is the Marsan Watchcap listed below and it was a good knit. The pattern is very simple but fun to knit with just enough challenge to keep it interesting. I liked that I could take this with me anywhere to knit since it's just a K1,P1 repeat where you knit is the back of the stitch to get a cool little twist to the ribbing. REDs dad saw me making it and wants one too so I'm getting ready to start another but I'm going to make it bigger because this one was pretty tight on me. It stretches a lot but MD has a big head, literally.
So last weekend, I went out for a walk with the dogs and I was thinking I needed a hat and how I would have to get one when I got paid. I don't know where my brain was because it took a minute for me to think "Wait, I make hats!" Duh!! I went on Ravelry (I LOVE Ravelry) and started looking at peoples hats. I really like the Urchin hat from Knitty but I don't really have the right yarn for it right now and I was broke and impatient. I had some Black Magic yarn by Caron and decided I was going to use it for whatever hat I made. Well, I never found a pattern I liked so I just knit a basic hat on circulars and decreases at the crown. I then put a little flower on it and viola, my hat. I wasn't able to get a picture of it on me before the batteries died in my camera so you just get to see it flat. I have to say I really disliked working with this yarn. The color ply was split in numerous locations and it was just a pain in the butt. It sure looks pretty though.

I also started working on the wrap/shrug/hood thing for somebody. Right now, I'm not totally sure what it will be or who it will go to but I have ideas. I'm thinking a twisted scarf type thing sewn together at the end that can be wore a variety of ways. I've seen them on the web but now that I'm looking for one to link to, there is nothing to be found. Maybe later. The yarn is making a neat pattern as it repeats. I'm almost half way through after working on it this afternoon. Since I didn't get a knitting done Friday or Saturday due to cleaning for the party last night, it was nice to make some progress tonight. I'll either work on this some more or maybe do another dishtowel or two tonight as we watch Serenity for the upteenth time. (Joss Whedon rules!)
The last items of progress to note are the dishtowels I'm making for my Aunt. They are a terrifically practical gift for the person who has everything. I figured anyone would find a use for dishtowels. These are just a couple of basic ballband patterns and the one that looks like brick can also be found in the Mason and Dixon book. I think they'll make a nice set.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Socks Ahoy!

Well, just in time for our anniversary, I finished the socks I was working on for S. They are well loved already because I couldn't keep them hidden while I was working on them and all I got was "are they done yet? My feet are cold." No kidding, it's 33 degrees. Anyway, I completed these in light speed as far as I am concerned and I could not be happier. I have a little gapping along the decrease edge of the heel gusset on one side of each sock. I read the suggestion to knit into the back of the loop of the decreasing stitch in order to close some of this gap but it doesn't seem to have made too much difference on the second sock. Oh well. Other than that small little thing, I think they look great!! This is my first completed PAIR of socks and I am very pleased. I have to admit I really liked the size 7 needles and how quick that made these go. However, I did run out of yarn about 5 rows from the end of the second sock and ended up having to use some of my guage swatch yarn to finish them. I have the next pair in the queue but they are on size 2 (I assume but I haven't done the gauge swatch yet) and I think they'll take a little longer. I've got a bit of time before they need to be completed.

Tonight I am finishing the Marsan Hat for RED which I only need to finish the decreases. Next, I'm thinking some of the other dishclothes I need completed for the holidays. I want to do another just plain one to match the one already complete below and then do a couple of the Ballband dishclothes that are in the Mason Dixon book using this same yarn and using chocolate brown for the mortar. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for yarn! :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Still making gifts!

The last two posts haven't had much knitting in them so I thought I would update what I have been knitting. I've continued working on presents for the holiday season. I broke down and showed my brother his present in progress when he was here last weekend. He's about to go out of the country for the next year and I kinda wanted to see if he liked the yarn and such in person. When I pulled out the beginning of the Marsan Watchcap I'm knitting for him, he just sort of looked at it like "I hope that actually turns into a hat." I reassured him that it is a very simple pattern but it does have some nice detail along the top. I really like this pattern. It's a K1,P2 ribbing where you knit in the back of the stitch. For some reason, just adding the twist by knitting into the back of the loop makes this more interesting than plain ribbing. That makes no sense but it is true for me. I'm at the point where it is time to start the decreases. I'm a bit limited on where I can knit this because I'm trying to be conscious of my brother's allergy to cats and only knit this away from my house. Not as easy as it seems since it requires planning ahead.
I'm also working on some house socks for S. I have some 100% Alpaca worsted weight yarn she bought about a year ago and I've been looking for something to do with it. I've only got 100g so there weren't many patterns that were appealing to me. Well, I finally decided to just do a simple pair of short socks for wearing around the house. I'm just using the Basic Sock Formula from Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules book. So far, a strict pattern just sort of scares me and I like just winging it with the Harlots easy instruction. I am being careful to keep really good notes on the first sock with stitch and row counts so I will hopefully be able to reproduce it for the second sock. Doing this second sock is really making me want to learn how to do two socks on one giant needle per Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters. Everyone has been raving about this technique and I find it very appealing to finish both socks at the same time and know they will be the same. Right now, I just can't justify spending the money on the needles I want to try this with. They are very reasonably priced but I have to get every penny sent to the bill collectors right now. Of well. I'll be getting these pretty Harmony needles soon! In the meantime, maybe I'm get the single circular to try out the technique. I've got some sock yarn I'm dying to get going with.
Lastly, I had started a shawl for another gift and I don't like the way it is going. I have some Sensations yarn from Jo-Ann's and I think I'll be spending a bit of time on Ravelry to see what others are doing with this yarn because I really want to use it for the gift. I did see a scarf/shrug thing where you knit a rectangle and then fold it in half and sew opposite corners together to form a twisted loop. Then you can wear it like a scarf/shrug/hood item. It looks pretty good and I think it will wear neat with this yarn. What do you think?
Oh, I almost forgot, I'm making progress on the Baby Surprise Jacket. I'm really liking the colors of the yarn together and it's been pretty fun to knit so far.

Well, I have just a couple more items from my stash to get uploaded to Ravelry and then I'm going to do some pattern searching before working on the socks in front of the TV tonight. I hope you have a good night too. -Z

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gift from Grandma

So, the last time I saw my Grandpa I showed him my knitting journal which I have dedicated to my Grandma. My Grandma was the crafty influence in my life as she was always doing something new. Whether it was quilting, sewing, or making sleighs out of popsicle sticks, I loved to see the new things she made. However, I never really appreciated it all the way I should have when she was around and I didn't even know enough to get her to teach me to knit. Damnit!We always regret things when people are gone, don't we. Anyway, after showing him the journal, he mentioned that he had gotten rid of most of her crafting stuff after she died, but there was still some stuff in the basement and the next time my mom saw him, he gave her a shirt box, taped shut, and said it was for me. When I got home, I opened it up and this is what I found...
Wow, so now I need to work on my embroidery skills to make use of some of this beautiful floss. There are a ton of different colors and even some motif patterns by Simplicity. I cried when I opened the box and saw my grandma's handwriting inside. It amazing how special this little box of thread really is. Thanks Grandpa.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I got my Ravelry invite!!!

My day finally came on Monday. I got my invitation to join Ravelry. I don't know why it took me so long to put my name on the list, but once I did I could barely stand waiting for my invite. I've spent the last 2 nights combing all the features and I'm going to make a good push to get my stuff uploaded and join the knitting online community. In case you're interested, my ID over there is Zillahknits too.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Still Working on Gifts...

I have been a knitting fool lately. I've given myself an ambitious goal when it comes to holiday knitting and I'm making my way through the list. First, I've knitted a number of little coin purses for gifts. I bought a variety of colors of Patons Merino Wool to combine with the Lambs Pride I got earlier in the month and set to knitting. I got kind of clever when it comes to knitting on the road with these. I have a backpack I got from work last year some time and it was just the right size to fit the 5 skeins of yarn standing up in the bottom with the center pull yarn setting on top. Then I just sat the backpack next to my chair and pulled the color I wanted next. I ended up being a really good system and allowed me to change colors whenever I felt like it (pun intended).
I also finished my mom's gift. I got Lion Brand "Incredible" ribbon yarn and wanted to make something special. I had thought to use it for something for my aunt but when my mom saw the yarn, she claimed whatever I was making for herself. So, I went searching for ideas and came across a couple of purse patterns on the Bernat's site using a similar ribbon yarn. Well, I started with their general idea and created this purse for Mom. I love the way it turned out!

I even went to JoAnn's and found some beautiful brocade fabric and lined it too. Who knew I could sew?!?! Really though, the lining was much easier than I thought and I think it really adds something. Mom's already gotten this gift since we won't be together over the holidays and I think she's happy. I made her a matching shrug type thing too but I never got a picture. Maybe she'll send me one after reading this. :)
I've also been working on more baby things. RED is about to become a daddy and his expected little girl needs lots of knitted wear. I did a little Popover Hat and matching booties and sent them up for the Baby Shower last weekend. I used some of the Peaches and Cream yarn I bought in a color named "Pink Lemonade". They turned out cute but I mailed them before I managed to get a picture. Next, I think there is something in the water at work because every time I turn around, someone else is pregnant. Well, this past week I was invited to a Baby Shower for one of the guys in the office and so I whipped up a cute little bib in the same yarn. I love this stuff. I've already got at least 3 more bibs needed in order to keep up with the girls I know are pregnant. It's a good thing they don't take too long!
Lastly, I've started my first Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern and I'm working on a Baby Surprise Jacket for RED's little one. I'm using the yarn I bought when we went camping last month and so far, so good.
Oh, one more thing, I just bought my very first skein on Hand Dyed sock yarn. I'm no longer a virgin to the "good" yarns. I found out that the shop I had been stalking on Etsy is actually run by a woman here in the same city with me. So, go right now and buy from her shop at Dyeabolical Yarns on Etsy. Not only is she a very nice person, but the yarn is absolutely beautiful!!

This color is called "Hidden Tiger" and I already know what I want to do with it but I can't talk about it here right now. :)

And finally, I just wanted to post a picture that explains why I like to go camping. (I can't wait til Spring)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Working on gifts

This is a Mason Dixon Dishcloth I recently finished. I got the book from the library and I've been working through some of the patterns as I've been working on gifts for the upcoming holidays. Anything I can find that will go fairly quick but be something people would actually want. I'm not one of those people who can knit sweaters for everyone on their holiday list. I do have a couple of special projects for special people and then I have a ton of smaller, "Hey, your my friend and I can't afford to buy you a gift so I made you this cool thing. :)" I've been making dishclothes, bibs, coasters, and now I'm doing a bunch of these really cut felted coin purses I found on the Lion Brand Yarn site. Since I came to knitting from the flashy Fun Fur yarn side and I am a born cheapskate, I am NOT a yarn snob. I believe if you like what the yarn looks like, feels like and knits like, then for gods sake, KNIT IT. Anyway, I just finished the first knitted portion of the coin purse and I went and bought 4 skeins of various colored Patons Classic Wool Merino for $4 each on sale at Michaels. I see lots of colorful little gifts in my future.
Well, I've got to get back to knitting. You know how time flies this time of year. And just because I think everyone should know the adorableness of Spanky and because I don't have any other knitting photos ready, here he is...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Over the River and Through the Woods..

What a great weekend! S and I decided it was time to get out of the big (sort of) city and head to the country for the weekend. Of course, we couldn't go without me finding some way to fit in knitting. Fortunately, S has decided to pursue spinning (oh darn, more yarn for me :) ) and so we were able to indulge both of our desires. We started by going to Carol Leigh's Hillcreek Fiber Studio just outside of Columbia, MO. We could not have asked for a nicer visit. Carol was extremely sweet and was more than happy to answer all the questions S could come up with in the hour or so we were there. And anyone who has ever met S, knows it was a LOT of questions. Carol showed us all of her weaving looms and the most beautiful yarns I've seen. Most of her stuff is focused on spinning and weaving and if you have any interest in these items, go to her website quick. She ships all over. We ended up getting about a pound of roving for S to spin. Some beautiful brown New Zealand Silver and some off white Churo which is the authentic material used when weaving Navajo rugs.
Our next stop was at Carol's daughter's store The Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe. According to her, her mom got tired of her "knitting obsessed friends taking over her weaving store" and therefore she was required to open her own store to support the knitters. Again, oh darn! It a very cute store just off the highway in Columbia and is really a pretty good size. They have a really nice table in a library type area for in-store knitting, a weaving corner, and a ton of yarn. Since "Vacation Yarn" doesn't count (just ask Lime and Violet) I knew it was time for SEX (Stash Enhancing Expedition, and no, I didn't make that up. Lime and Voilet again). I found the 3 skeins of Brown Sheep 85% wool/15% Mohair in purple on the sale table and it will work perfectly for some of the Holiday knitting I am doing. I also found this beautiful yarn...
to use to make my first Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket for a special little girl. The yarn is Papiro from Laines Du Nord, 100% Cotone (cotton) and made in Italy. This stuff is gorgeous!! Although the blue of my chair washes out the color some, the picture above is pretty accurate. I picked 2 balls of the blue, purple, and green for the main color in the jacket and the multi-hued green for some stripes. I got a good deal on it too. Bonus! I also actually bought the pattern. I did find this great website with instructions on how to knit it. So, if you want to know what I'm knitting, check it out.
Last stop on the trip was Arrow Rock State Park outside of Boonville. We had reserved a site on-line (follow this link and you can actually see it. How Cool?!) for Saturday night only since we needed 48 hours notice and didn't book until Thursda.When we got there, it was free so we pitched our tent. The park was really nice and the facilities were great. We bought fire wood from the volunteers at the park and I wasn't even afraid to use the toilets. The were cleaner than the toilets in most public schools. :)
This picture, by the way, is not of the toilets. This is actually the inside of the historic jail in the REALLY tiny town. The visitors center of the State Park is really nice and has lots of neat history type stuff that S really dug. We did enjoy the coffee shop in the town on Saturday morning and got a hot breakfast. We walked around the park a couple of times during the day and walked up to the lake (which is maybe a little generous description) at night. We also saw turtles and raccoons and heard a pack of wolves. I got a bunch of knitting done by the fire and the entire weekend was just really great!