Thursday, December 29, 2011

Are you still holiday knitting?

I'm still finishing my niece's sweater - given to her unfinished in the bag.  Just sewing on the sleeves, doing the smocking and adding the bands.  I've done worse but I can't wait to be finished!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Get a life or Got a life?

I believe this little project:
is what's often derisively referred to as having too much time.  Or, "Man, that lady needs to get a life!"  Today I had the sumptuous pleasure of sitting and making up these cute little critters for my kids for their advent tomorrow.  They'll get the clues out of the advent calendar and then have to find their critters.  The little guys didn't take long at all to make and in fact I made them right in front of my daughter who I didn't think would notice at all but apparently she's been paying attention because she said, "Are those on your Christmas knitting list?"  Hhmph!  I can add something to my list on December 3rd if I want!

And what are the holiday seasons for if not to spend a couple of hours creating something with my own hands that may give my children a chuckle and something warm to squeeze and make faces at.  What are the holidays for if not to sit and crochet and look at the tree while reminiscing over silly things my kids have done and all the ways that I love them.  This is actually, in my opinion, the time of year to slow down and smell the wool.  I don't need to get a life.  I've got a life.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Catch Up

Boy do I need to spend some time taking photos and updating my Ravelry projects.  I don't like it when I make something and give it away so fast that I forget to take pictures.  If I had any non-knitting time I'd be a scrapbooker.  I love keeping records. But since I don't have time that I want to spend on it I'm just forever grateful for Ravelry.  What would happen if Ravelry went down?  I'm trying to figure out a way to backup my pages just in case.

I did have a paper scrapbook that I started in the early 90's when I started knitting in earnest.  I'll never forget the colorwork headband that started it all (the knitting - not the scrapbooking).  I had made a scarf, a pair of mittens and one sock that turned out Christmas stocking sized.  Then two things happened that changed my life forever.  I got two magazines.  One was this VK dated 1990.
 I loved several of the sweaters and especially a little legging, sweater, hat set modeled by a little girl who looked to be about 5.  I was absolutely smitten with the idea that I could make beautiful things like these clothes.

The second thing was related to my second knitting magazine ever.  I got a copy of a Knitter's Magazine that had a Peruvian styled, color work headband with ear flaps.  As my husband and I lay in bed to keep warm while reading one night in our $24,000-1910-fixer-upper-home-next-to-the-cemetery-with-no-cable-and-not-much-heat, I showed him the headband and told him how much I liked it.  His reply, which we don't remember verbatim, must have seemed doubtful because my reply, which we do remember verbatim and which is still a catch phrase in our family, was, "I CAN KNIT THAT!"  Which of course means, "Don't throw down that challenge mister because I darn well will do whatever it is that you think I can't do!"  I never did knit that particular headband but I promptly became a capital K Knitter and I've never slowed down save the occasional loss of mojo here or there.

But I digress.  I love looking back into my scrapbook.  I have pictures of sweaters I made when we lived in Colorado which means I have pictures of the houses we lived in in Colorado and the dogs we had there and the xeriscaped yard.  I have pictures of friends I can't even find on Facebook and their kids and the sweaters and blankets I knit for those kids.  I have pictures of the easiest things I've ever knit and the hardest; my favorite patterns and those I would never knit again.  So soon, I need to get the camera out and take pictures of all this Christmas knitting before I give it away.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

She has Gone and Left Me

My knitting mojo has gone and left me.  I have gone 3 days without even picking up my knitting - and this just 6 short weeks away from Christmas. I am mentally crossing of knitted Christmas gift ideas every day.  I'm concerned.  Shall I call a doctor?  I'm headed to read some knitting blogs now to see if I can find her there.  I at least want to finish my niece's sweater.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Family Yarn

I got a beautiful skein of Cascade Eco in the natural oatmeal color for my birthday.  It was a true family gift brought to my parents' house by my Uncle Jon.  He bought it from my aunt's brothers' wife's yarn shop in Virginia.  My parents gave it to me.  I wasn't sure what to make with it but finally decided on the Gilet Chocolate pattern by Christine Rouville.

 This is a very easy pattern and a quick knit.  It's shown in the pattern with a pin to keep it closed but I wanted to add a zipper to make it more stable and a bit cozier.  I also love fleece vests and I thought this might give this pattern a bit of that style.  The zipper was fun to install and the length was just right.  Then I added a little strip in the back to tuck it in just a little.  It's got a more of a square neck than I usually wear but I like it.


And here's a quick little bootie and hat set I made for a coworker having her first baby.  I love how they came out.




Finally, have you check out online sand art at http://thisissand.com/?  When you click on it you'll think the page didn't load because it comes up all grey except for a small square in the upper left corner.  But press your mouse down and sand will start to pour out of the arrow.  Click on the little square in the corner for the very basic instructions as well as a link to the amazing gallery.  Have fun playing with colors and design!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Extremes

I was interested today to discover that I seem to be in a period of extremes.  What made me think this is that I first favorited this excellent neckerchief/shawlette pattern, Outlaw by Celeste Young.  I love the look of the pattern but really love that it's done in worsted weight rather than the usual sockweight for this kind of item.
Then yesterday I discovered the beautiful Shearwater pattern by Megan Marshall.  This one is a cowl in laceweight.  I slapped myself on the head and said, "Why didn't I think of that!"  Such a great idea, it's gorgeous, and its done in laceweight instead of the usual worsted. 
Thank heavens for these creative designers.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Here it comes . . .

I was in a store a week and a half ago and the man at the checkout seemed a tad too gleeful when he told me that Christmas was just 12 weeks away.  Meanie!  So guess what I'm knitting.  Christmas gifts!  A sweater for my niece that is not going very well.   I had picked a baby-surprise-type but I don't think it went really well with my Plymouth Happy Feet yarn so I ribbited the hours of work, consulted with my mother by borrowing my daughters awesome ipod with the camera right on it and emailing 5 different pictures of patterns to her and have restarted the sweater.
I felt that the colorway of the Happy Feet wasn't really conducive to garter stitch and without actually being a striping yarn it didn't lend itself to the Baby Surprise pattern.  The new pattern is a stockinette stitch cardigan with smocking on the front near the shoulders.

However, I have an awesome vest almost done.  I just need to insert the zipper so I think I'll take a break from the holidays tomorrow and finish that vest.

Are YOU holiday knitting?




Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Might Not Be A Spinner

This summer I took a spinning class with a friend.  It's the second time I've tried so in the spirit of the Knitmore Girls 3 Bites I've still got one more chance.  But here's the thing.  I love to spin the yarn.  It's relaxing, fun and as a friend put it, a different kind of zen than knitting is.  But somehow I thought the yarn was going to be different, special, better and I really feel it's nice but not incredible and I don't know what to do with it.
Here's the headband I made with my very first yarn - not suprisingly a thick/thin yarn.
This is my favorite yarn so far of the 3 I've produced. Even though it was a bit felty and hard to spin I really liked the product and I was pretty pumped up on the spinning.


Next I did a multi-color thing.  I know all you excellent spinners could have placed the yarn so the colors didn't all run together and get muddy like mine did but I'm not that skilled yet and I just wanted to practice spinning.  I didn't get much but I liked the thickness of it so I made this cowl.

Yeah, boring stockinette stitch cowl and a crappy picture but I wanted my pretty handspun to show and I'm going to add something to the edges to liven it up.  But you know what?  I don't like the yarn very much.  Yeah - it's okay.  I might have bought it on sale but I'm not that keen on it really.


Soooo - 
For my next endeavor I went back to a solid color.  I've got a beautiful dark orange color coming out thinner and more evenly which will be fabulous for fall.  I understand you kind of can't help but get thinner and more even although I prefer making the bulky and thick and thin so I don't have to pay an arm and a leg for it in the stores.


That leaves me kind of on the fence about the whole spinning thing.  My wheel rental ends September 7th and school is starting so I'll be done for now and again, in the spirit of the 3 Bites, I'll try it again before too long but for right now, I might not be a spinner.

Monday, August 8, 2011

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Yesterday I realized I've got a baby shower coming up at the end of the month and for this family I wanted to do something extra special so I needed to start now, not a day before the shower as I sometimes do.  I can whip up a baby hat and bootees quickly and I love to give that as a gift but when I have the time and foresight my favorite baby pattern is Phazelia's Baby Sweater.  Here's a picture of the one I made for my niece out of sock yarn scraps.
This particular Phazelia is quite colorful but I've seen them more subdued.  Here's what I love about this pattern.


  • Sock Yarn - lightweight and washable and in baby sweater size it's doable
  • One Piece Construction
  • Interesting Construction
  • I-Cord - because I'm an I-Cord phanatic and put I-Cord edgings on everything I can from Baktus 1 and Baktus 2 to my Antipodes.  In fact, I-Cord edging is one of my favorite things! But I digress, (tip of the hat here to Miss Kalendar of the Brass Needles podcast - another of my favorite things).
  • The great way you can play with color.
  • The non-symmetry of it - if you're into that.  You could make it symmetrical if you wanted.
  • The fittability for a baby.  With the tie front it's easy to get onto baby and gives room for growing.


Actually, I was very surprised there weren't 1,000s of projects showing on the pattern page for this sweater.  So get out there folks and make a Phazelia's Baby Sweater for your next baby gift.  You'll be glad you did!


This blog is in no way affiliated with the Phazelia brand and has not been paid to endorse the Phazelia Baby Sweater.  Knit it at your own risk.  Please be aware that knitting can be a highly addictive sport and should be taken up only by those who would like to have fun creating beautiful items in a relaxed manner within a warm and fuzzy community or by themselves, whichever floats your boat.  No socks were harmed in the knitting of this sweater.  All quotes from the Knitstress are valid for 30 days following the date of email transmission. Our company accepts no liability for the content of this blog as my favorite thing might be different after 30 days except that I'll still love this sweater, i-cord, Brass Needles and fresh berries.  (Oh, did I say that out loud? Fresh Berries?)Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.  What company?  I don't know, pick a company, any company, and I don't represent it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Crafts old and new


I've been knitting and while I've been knitting old crafts have been gifted to me and new crafts have been discovered by my 8 year old.  You've got to love summer!  




In older crafts check out the beautiful bag my Dad brought to me.  He found it when he was cleaning out his garage last week.  He had a couple of boxes of his mom's things and this was one of the treasures in the boxes.  


I'm sure she made the simple bag.  It's a velvet material with a cord drawstring.  But the most special part for me is the stenciling which she was a professional at - as you can see from the closeup of the front of the bag.  She did it all free hand and even wrote several books about it.  And the back side has a nice little miniature.  I absolutely love it and it will become a special treasure for me.  Here's to you Grandma Coffin.



In newer crafts my daughter has discovered duct tape crafting.  First she made herself a couple of prototype wallets and then this double-pointed knitting needle holder.
Which I also absolutely love and which will become a special treasure for me.

But she moves quickly, my daughter, and finished this excellent woven duct tape wallet.

Now my husband and son and I want woven duct tape wallets too!  That'll keep her busy tomorrow.  After that ? . . . .

What have you been crafting?




Monday, August 1, 2011

Knitability

I've just begun Stephen West's Chadwick from Westknits Book One and I am enthralled already.  I didn't skimp on the yarn for this one and that always helps make the knitting a more enjoyable experience.  I'm using Malabrigo Sock in the velvet grape colorway and Periwinkle Sheep in the avocado colorway.

Unfortunately the photo doesn't show the strand of silver going through the green but when I get to the large patches of green I hope they'll sparkle a little.  Fun colors!

While I was at the yarn shop I was also considering a light purple to go with the Malabrigo but in the spirit of Stephen West's vision for the Chadwick, "Clean lines and asymmetric sections accent beautiful yarns and high contract color choices," I went with the high contrast.  This is also my first time knitting with Malabrigo and yes, it's as soft as they say.  

And this leads me to the conversation we had at the yarn shop about Stephen West.  We were wondering at how we were all interested in knitting at least half of the patterns in each of his books.  As we looked at them we were trying to figure out exactly what Stephen West does that makes his patterns so appealing.  

The patterns themselves aren't so very complicated and yet they are not boring.  Certainly Mr. West has a color sense that's unique to him.  One of the best examples of that for me is his Piece Out hat.  
http://westknits.com/index.php/pattern/hats/piece-out/
I love this hat and I can't wait to cast on for it!  Such a simple idea, the addition of a bright, happy color into a smart looking hat.  Not too hard to knit, not too easy and it looks great on!  Really I think this is one of the things that makes a Stephen West pattern uniquely his own and so much fun.  Color, but not too much, in just the right places.

While Mr. West uses wonderful yarns in his patterns one of the nice things about his snatches of color here and there are that these patterns are great stashbusters!  I've got some yummy little bits of yarn that I haven't wanted to part with and now I've got a beautiful vehicle to use them.

During our conversation in the yarn store we also remarked that most of the patterns are accessories.  That was another of the things that we decided make the patterns so appealing.  We really could think of knitting half of the patterns in the book because  they won't take months to complete.  So many of them can be completed in a week or even a weekend!

The shop owner summed it up as Knittability.  Stephen West's patterns are very, very knittable.  I would add to that creative.  Creative Knittability!  Check out his books if you haven't yet.  You could get hooked too.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fail

I know I've been tired.  I know I've been burning the candle at both ends.  I finished teaching a class last week and promptly got a summer head cold from stress and exhaustion.  I know these things and more but it became blazingly clear to me this morning when, despite ignoring warning signs since I started the Holden on Sunday, I FINALLY realized that I was doing it wrong!

I've been working on the Holden shawlette which starts with a big old section of stockinette and increases.  FOUR increases on each knit row.  4.  Apparently I knit the first 8 or so rows correctly and then spaced the yarn overs at the start and end of each knit row.  Not only did I stop making them but at least five times I looked at the holes at the start and end of my first few rows and wondered why they were there.  I kept asking myself, "Really? I forgot to move my yarn from front to back when I switched from knit to purl?"  Seriously, I asked myself that at least 5 times.

Then I noticed that the stockinette section was looking very triangular.  I mean at least 10 times I pulled the top edge of the shawl straight trying to figure out how it was going to end up straight up there.  I got it that I had knit the small rectangle and then picked up on 2 edges and it was going to be straight but this thing was a freaking triangle!  I looked at the pattern 2 more times wondering if I was going to end up binding off a straight edge and then picking up along the triangle border for the lace.  I mean, what the heck?  But nope, I was following the directions so I kept knitting EVEN THOUGH I had already knit way more than 44 repeats of the 2 rows and I was getting nowhere near the 198 stitches.

And I kept knitting.

This is where I stick my needle in my eye.

When I realized I wasn't going to have enough yarn for the darn thing I stopped yet again.  I took a very, very deep breath and decided to look at the directions to see if maybe, just maybe, I was missing some increases.  And what do you think I saw.  K3, YO, knit to center stitch, YO each side of center stitch, knit to last 3 sts, YO, K3.  Yup.  In none of the 438 times I re-looked at that pattern did I notice the yarn overs that accounted for the mysterious holes at the beginning of my shawl.

My mother sat appalled as I ripped about 250 yards of sock weight stockinette and calmly put it down.  Then I went and cleaned because that's what I do when I'm stressed or angry.  Although to look at my house you'd think I'm the most calm, happy person around.  I cleaned and then I began again.

So I'm just going to keep knitting and sing this:



May your knitting be more successful than mine has been this week.

Antipodes

I just had to look up the word antipodes both because I haven't been able to figure out how to pronounce it and I didn't know what it meant.  It means, "the opposite" of something.  I'm not sure what this sweater is the opposite of but I know I like it.

I guess it's part sweater and part capelet.  This Antipodes was made out of some old yarn I've had in my stash for a good 6 years!  I got the button at a garage sale last year and I think it plays up the vintage look of the sweater.  Now I just have to wait for the weather to cool off so I can wear it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Pathetic

I rested my hands for a week from knitting only to bust up my finger playing volleyball at a bbq yesterday.  Pathetic!
I'm attempting to knit anyway because I'm driving my family crazy with having too much time on my hands.  At least my thumb doesn't hurt anymore.

Here's a fun picture of my daughter coming home from a Bat Mitzvah on Saturday.
A good time was had by all and our friend Grace did a beautiful job.

And a couple of shots from the concert last Thursday.
Pre Show Dinner

A Sea of Percussion


Hopefully my hands will be fully healed soon and there will be more knitting content again.  I've been spending my time looking through my magazines.  I'm finding so many inspiring projects.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sore Hands

I am so sad to say that my hands have been aching a lot lately and I've actually had to take a break from knitting.  However, I think the soreness is due more to typing than knitting.  Still, it's a bummer and I'm not too sure what to do about it.  I snuck in a few rows on my Blue Ribbon scarf today and it's almost done but it has been a weird couple of days with no knitting.  Going on a bus trip yesterday with no knitting was maybe not torture but it was definitely strange.  And a Saturday with no knitting is just weird.  So I'll leave you today with no knitting pictures of my own but a link to my Pinterest Knitting board where I've pinned a bunch of knitting pics that I like.  http://pinterest.com/kidsteched/kniterama/.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring Scarves

I'm on a spring scarf-a-thon.  How did I never realize that you can wear scarves in spring?  How did I miss this awesome trend.  I was talking to a friend at work who was telling me how great her son's girlfriend looks in a t-shirt with a scarf and I became obsessed with the idea and had to knit this . . .
Bali Sky yarn by Mango Moon
Garter and Drop Stitch Pattern

It took me about 3 hours to make and I wore it with a black t-shirt on the first warm day after I had finished it and I was thrilled.  It IS fun to wear a scarf in spring.  It was still cosy without being hot and just fun, fun, fun.  Of course, some of that fun is the yarn itself which has great spring colors.  I've had this yarn for several years, er, some time and I couldn't figure out what to do with it because it's a little heavy for a full garment and it's really not my colors.  But as an accent piece - perfect.  So now I'm making them up in droves.

Bali Sky yarn by Mango Moon
Garter with a pointed end



Like this:










And this one which is the Bali Sky held with Mango Moon's Capelli.  The Capelli is a neat elastic yarn developed by Mango Moon to help the heavy sari-recycled Bali Sky have more stretch.  It was a surprise to me but it really works.  However, it also makes the scarf a fair bit heavier than the others.
Bali Sky and Capelli by Mango Moon
Ribbed Faggot Stitch with a Ruffle added to each end
These are brainless knits but I'm really okay with that.  I'd like to start a sweater with some gorgeous alpaca/wool blend that my folks gave me for Christmas but I'm not that motivated yet.  Spring scarves are fine for now.

I think a crocheted spring scarf would be great too.  Maybe I'll bold and try to up my crochet skills another notch.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pink & Purple Chevron Studies

Last week was spring break for my family and camping at Assateague National Park.  I love camping and not just for the fresh air and the s'mores, freshly caught crab and cold beer and NEVER going inside for days straight.  Camping means plenty of knitting time for me.  This vacation, by some strange convergence of the knitting gods, I spent all my knitting time on variations of chevron patterns in pink and purple.




Caron Simply Soft, Barbara Walker
Chevron Pattern, Crocheted Scallop
Edges.
First I needed to finish a pair of doll blankets I was making for my friend whose granddaughter turned 2 on April 24th.  Her granddaughter loves pink (or it's the only color name she knows how to say) so the blankets were to be pink with a little bit of purple added in too.  And since girly was the theme I was browsing through Barbara Walters Treasuries when I came upon a good looking chevron pattern.  Then I added my now favorite crocheted scalloped edge to really fancy it up and I was very happy with the results.


Also, my Mom told me that she lost her all time favorite pink scarf.  I couldn't find the same yarn to make a replacement but I found some gorgeous purply/pink fingering weight from my favorite indy dyer Peace, Love Yarn.  I tried about 5 stitch patterns for the scarf and kept not being happy with any of them until I remembered the Chevron Scarf in Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson.  It's coming out beautifully and looks even better blocked than in this picture.  It's a little more narrow than I would have wished so I may add some edging . . . again.
Peace, Love Yarn Fingering Weight Washable Merino Wool
Joelle Hoverson Chevron Scarf Pattern
Yup, I blocked it while it's on the needles because Mom's birthday was last Friday and she'll be here Thursday and there's no chance I'll be done by then so at least if it's blocked and I give it to her in a bag still on the needles (c'mon - it happens) then at least she'll get a good idea of what it's going to look like.

And here's a little eye candy from Assateague.

The Marshes

The Dunes
The Ocean and Happy Kids 
One of the many ponies.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ribbed Scarves

What is with me and the ribbed scarves lately?  I seem to have forgotten how much ribbing draws in no matter how hard I try to remember it.

First there was Aunt Mehlinae's Scarf which I blogged about recently finishing.
Mehlinae's Scarf
 It was based on the Jared Flood Noro but mine was in Bulky yarns!  So while Jared calls for casting on 39 stitches on a size 7 I cast on 25 on size 11s and thought it would be wide enough. Nope.  I added a crocheted edging all a round it to make it a bit wider.  It looks good - probably better than without it but it wasn't the plan.

So then there was the Stash Scarf which was sock yarn and probably should have been about 60 stitches wide but I thought knitting it on a 6 would make it drapey enough and loose enough to keep it from ribbing up too much.  Nope.  So I blocked it to within an inch of its life tonight and I got it 5 inches wide if I "let" it stretch wide.  It might bunch to slightly more narrow if left to its own devices.  I can't see putting an edging around this one like I did with Mehlinae's scarf partly because I think I might otherwise be able to give this to a man and partly because I don't wanna.  The verdict is out.  I will finish all of the multicolored sock yarn in this one then see how much green I have left and decide then.

Stash Scarf
And yet, I'm still crazily attracted to the Noro scarf.  I'm beginning to think that the only thing I can do to cure myself is go splurge on 4 skeins of real Noro and actually knit one according to the directions.  Good heavens, would I even do a gauge swatch for a scarf?!  (Did you know that's an interrobang?  If you write it "!?" would it be a banginterro?)

I have this crazy idea that I'd like to knit scarves for gifts for co-workers next year and I love knitting scarves.  You can be creative and silly and frou-frou or not and use up stash and put things together in fun ways and then have fun matching up the perfect scarf for each person.  It's knitting beautiful rectangles of fabric - without shaping (mostly) or sewing and they can be simple stitch patterns or complicated.  I only hope I still have a job after the budget vote next month.  Keep your fingers crossed folks.  Being a new employee in a school system in this economic climate is a tenuous place to be.

And now - back to the knitting.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Knit and Crochet Blog Week Post #1 - Late

Who knew there was an annual Knit/Crochet Blog week anyway.  Thanks Jellidonut for the head's up.

I'm a couple of days late and more than a couple of dollars short but here's my 2 cents worth anyway.

Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.


I had some angora that I loved.  It's generally beyond my budget but I bought the brown to line some mittens per the instructions of Anna Zilboorg in her book Magnificent Mittens.  I've made several of these mittens over the years and learned so much from making them.
I pulled this picture out of my pre-Ravelry actual, physical scrapbook.  I gave this pair to my Mom for Christmas one year lined with angora.  Yum yum.  

Then believe it or not I got some angora for $1.00 a skein at a store that was going out of business.  The mint green color must have been off-putting to everyone who had come before me but I thought it made for a cute baby set when mixed with the brown I had leftover from the mittens.

Angora, soft and gentle.  Not just soft but I think it may caress you back.  So soft. I love angora.

Yarn #2 is one I really don't care for.  Now, I know I just extolled the virtues of a rather expensive yarn but I'm no yarn snob.  I'll use acrylic when needed and have a small stash of acrylic favorites that I get when they're on sale so I'll have them around for emergency baby/kid gifts and things like that.  I'm especially fond of Lion Brand Homespun, Bernat Satin Sport and Caron Simply Soft.   They wash really well, have some good colors and feel just fine to snuggle with and to knit with.  So one day I took a chance on some Bernat Camouflage Ombre.  It was horrible.  It hurt my hands.  It stuck to the needles.  It was ugly.  My daughter loves it.  Who's to say, right?  Not all wool is great to work with and not all acrylic is great to work with.  I wouldn't turn down ANY angora though.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fountain Hat

I watched the movie The Fountain today which I've wanted to see ever since knitting The Fountain Hat by Katie Himmelberg.  (I'm a linking King tonight, no?).  When I read her description of the movie that inspired the hat I knew I wanted to see it and I found it on my Netflix on demand and amazingly had 1 1/2 "kids otherwise occupied" hours today so I sat down with those dratted sleeves and knitted and watched.

The movie isn't easy.  It wasn't easy to hear at first and it was quite hard to follow at first.  It is a pretty love story and decent exploration of the theme of acceptance of death although on the theme of death it was a little like being hit over the head with a 2x4.  When our main character, Tommy, spouted that, "death is nothing more than a disease and I'm going to find the cure for it!" I couldn't help but draw a parallel to Anakin's misguided angst over his mother's death which of course let to his downfall when he didn't save Padme.  It was a poorly written line in what was otherwise a decently well written movie on a well worn topic.  I loved the way Izzi's manuscript was Tommy's story (and hers) and the way it was used as the device for exposition.  Once I got the hang of switching between the 3 time periods I loved the juxtaposition of the Spanish inquisition with the traveling in the stars.

Rachel Weisz played her part so incredibly well.  She made Izzy's grace and acceptance of death believable without being sickly sweet or trite about it.  I liked Hugh Jackman better in the Spanish sections and future sections than the present day.  I think Jackman overplayed the theme just a bit - thus the "hitting over the head with a 2x4" feeling.

The special effects and lighting in the movie were unique and interesting.  It's dark most of the way through with the theme of stars carried through each time period - hanging candles in the castle during the Spanish period and candles and lights around the house during the present time period.  So if you imagine you're squinting your eyes throughout the movie, it all takes place in the stars.  If you've watched the movie, I love to hear your thoughts on the ending.  Did he finally accept death or defy it?  Maybe I missed something but I'm not sure.  Or are they and have they always been together and always will be and he's just figuring that out?  Also, I really want one of his spaceships.

Having watched the movie explains a lot about the hat.
There is a lace pattern that sort of flutters into chaos and then nothing as it moves up the hat.  I really didn't understand it while I was knitting it even though I had read the designer's description and explanation in the magazine.  But having seen the movie I totally get it now and I'm glad I didn't modify it to make it more symmetrical even though that thought crossed my mind while I was knitting it.

I gave the hat to my sister-in-law because she likes blue.  Now I think I might like to knit another for myself!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Still Sleeves to Here's Something Interesting

I'm still laboring on sleeves which aren't interesting for posting pictures.  I literally worked on them for hours today and am up to 188 stitches per row (both sleeves at a time) on size 2 needles.  My hands are tired so what am I doing - typing of course.  Like I didn't type all day.  But seriously, I'm ranting so let's move on.

Did you know that there are 42 members in the Weird Crafts group on Ravlery.  It's there that I found the wonderful Yip Yip from Sesame Street which I'll have to crochet for my son who adores the Muppets and all things muppety.  Which led me to look and see if there's a Muppet Group on Ravelry and of course there is.  This group has 701 members right now!  Go Muppets!  Which led me to this tasty treat.



And on that note, have a good night.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sleeves, Sleeves, Sleeves, Hat, Scarf, Pinterest

I, like so many others before me, am in sleeve purgatory.  Knitting, knitting, knitting the never ending sleeves in sock yarn no less.  And this is for my daughter who is growing, growing, growing - which does provide some amount of motivation because the weather turned warm for a few days and all I could think of was that this sweater might not fit her next year so I'd better get going.  To help galvanize myself I sewed together the shoulders of the sweater to make sure that it would, in fact, fit her if I get going.  Maybe it'll fit next fall too.  It's pretty stretchy and she asked for it long so I have high hopes.  That said, I'm trying hard to finish those sleeves, sleeves, sleeves.

I DID finish my Droplet hat and I love it.  It's a tad loose but since it's 100% wool that's probably a plus.  It won't be so itchy.  I haven't done any texture/aran work in a long time and this project was the perfect size to have fun with but it wasn't overwhelming.  I chose it because I had been fangirling over Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature and saw this pattern and noticed that amazingly, shockingly, I actually had a stray skein of the actual yarn actually called for in the actual pattern.  Really, that never happens to me just by chance.  So I had to make it.  And I'm glad I did.  And I do highly recommend the very creative Knitting Nature.

Next I finished the quasi-Noro Striped Scarf for my Aunt.  It came out more narrow than I thought it would and I had more of the black than the variegated so I added a crocheted edging and fringe and I'm very happy with the results.  It's super squishy and warm and yummy.  I'm not sure if I should go ahead and send it off to her or wait until next fall's cold weather.  Of course, I'm not known for getting to the post office to mail things so if I say I'll mail it now maybe it will actually go out by next fall.

Do you think the aforementioned FO's have anything to do with aforementioned unfinished sleeves?  I wonder.

Finally to Pinterest.  I've been enjoying pinning fun knitting to my board although I wish I had more time to play with it.  This is a cloud program that I'm using as a collector of fun ideas of all kinds.  It's a totally simple to use online corkboard that's free and doesn't need a download.  I highly recommend it for sharing fun pictures you come across and browsing fun pictures that others find.  If I was a designer it would be really useful but for me right now it's all fun and games.  You can find me on Pinterest as Clea Stagnitti.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Yarn Buying with Mom and Dad and a Finished Blankie

The baby blanket is finished although it really is a blankie because it came out so small.  But oh so cute and I'm inordinately proud of my lame crocheted edging.

And then this weekend I went to my folks house on the St. Lawrence River.  In Potsdam, NY there's a wonderful, fun, funky crafty, sci-fi model, yarn, beading, fabric shop called Misty Hollow.  I wish it had been there when I lived there!  The people that work there, and I think they must own it too, are super nice.  The gentleman was knitting a cabled scarf out of Cascade Rustic that he showed me.  It was great! And the woman helped my Mom find all the fabric she wanted.  I splurged on some goodies.

Some Cascade Rustic in a beautiful shade of green intended for a 198 Yards of Heaven (Rav Link) for one of my aunts.  It really does look Rustic and is a wool/linen blend which looks like it's going to be a little rough but it turns out it's incredibly soft!  I can't wait to start.

I got some Plymouth Happy Feet that's such a good price and the colors were so cute I couldn't resist a Baby February Lady sweater for my niece.  I'm also looking forward to starting that and have to mention that after looking on Ravelry at the projects for this yarn I found someone else who had made the BFL sweater out of the same yarn and was able to PM back and forth a little with her and got some great advice.  Don't you love Ravelry!  It never ceases to amaze me how Ravelry and now all the social networking options have enhanced the knitting community.  Here's the cute cute yarn.

And finally I got some very pretty boucle at a great sale for a Gathered Scarf (Ravelry Link) for a friend. I'm going to knit it at a large gauge and hope I have enough for a long enough scarf.  I love knitting scarves and I've had this pattern in mind for a long time.

Then my folks and I had a great dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.

So really, does it get any better than that?





Monday, March 7, 2011

Baby Blanket Rush

Oh dear, our neighbor's baby has arrived and I am still toiling away on the dishcloth blanket out sock yarn.  What, I ask you, was I thinking?
Here's evidence that the baby is here.
In my defense, she was due on the 11th but I suppose you can't argue with a baby who's ready to arrive.  A girl, I assume, which is good because although these colors are okay either way, it might be a little towards pink for some folks for boys.
But as you could see from picture #1, we are having a snow day today so no work so MORE KNITTING!  I just have to clean that darn kitchen.  And stop blogging about computer stuff.  And I need to pick an edging to add.  Since the baby's a girl I think I'll go with something lacy and garter-stitchy from Nickey Epsteins "Knitting on the Edge" which I love.

Happy knitting day!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Discovering a Designer

While waiting for my daughter to finish her game I decided to browse Knitty and discovered the amazing Oranje cardigan.  I think I'm in love!  I love the fit and the turtleneckline and the colorway and the attitude.  I'm not a 3/4 length sleeve fan but that's okay.
That led me to look at Anne Weaver's Ravelry Page where I discovered that she is also the designer of Tempest which I've been oggling for a while now.
Isn't it great when you find a designer who "fits" you!  I love Anne's funky style.  It's modern without going to the outlandish.  It's playful but not over-the-top.
Nice job Anne Weaver.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Am I Going to Blog Again?

Well, who knows the answer to that question but tonight I feel like writing so I am.

Projects
I've finished so much since then that it would be silly to try to talk about it.  But I like this hat out of the only handspun I've ever made.
Do you like my little model?  It's a doll of my daughter's that she doesn't play with but this doll has an awesome sized 6 month head so I've held onto her for the sake of modeling knitwear.  And another really neat thing about her is that she's wearing a sweater that was knit for my mother as an infant!  How cool is that.  (And look Mom, I didn't even say what year or anything.)

I'm working on so many projects right now and having the hardest time focusing.  I really want to finish my daughter's sock yarn sweater.  It's going to look great and be the perfect weight for her but darn it's taking a long time to knit.  I'd love a sock yarn sweater of my own but I can't imagine how long that would take.  Of course, it would be better if I had done it in the round and maybe if I do one for myself that's what I'll do.

I find I don't like waiting for work to start again at the end of vacation.  We had a lovely and restful vacation at home during which time my daughter and I recovered from long, dragged out winter illnesses and my son rested and recharged.  I love being home so much and I loved having time to reconnect with the knitting universe.

My Mom has also been quilting up a storm.  Here's just one of her beautiful creations.

Is that not amazing!  Yeah Mom!

I also stumbled upon the book Soul Pancake this week and bought it and have been really enjoying the thinking.  Of course, having time to think is key.  If you're not familiar with Soul Pancake, check them out at http://www.soulpancake.com/ or find the book.  They're on Twitter too.  I haven't jumped in online yet but I've been lurking on their Twitter feed this week.

And a fun techy tip today?  If you like playing with photos check out http://www.befunky.com/.  No login, no download and lots of fun.  I use it with Kindergartners to 5th graders and the other teachers and  I have tons of fun with it too.  Take the picture of the baby hat for example.

Cute and it took me about 2 minutes.  You can have a lot of fun on this site.