Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Where Did BrownieKnits Go?

So, if anybody is still reading this blog, you might have noticed that I didn't post for about six weeks. Wonder where I was? Well, I just updated my Recently Completed Projects list for November and December. It was a busy Holiday Knitting Season. Combined with the Custom Stitches KAL at the store, I was really busy. Not to mention that little thing called my day job! Here are pictures and a few details about the projects that I completed.

Katie opening her Lucy Bag on Christmas morning.
Pattern: Lucy Bag
Yarn: Universal Worsted Wool (3 skeins)
Needles: 11
Here is Katie's Lucy Bag prior to felting.

Meg and Pete opening their blanket on Christmas morning.
Pattern: Plymouth's 8 hour afghan book
Yarn: 10 skeins of Encore (hold double)
Needles: 13

Hard to see, but this is a dog toy I knitted for the my little girl. She carries her toys around in her mouth as a comfort. I made her a pink and green bone out of a sturdy nylon in green and pink. (I-cord braided together.) The big boy got homemade dog treats as he doesn't typically care about anything but food. Well, I guess I was wrong!!!! A tug of war occurred over the knitted toy. I'll have to make up a bunch more of these. It is holding up better than any store bought dog toy I've found and it was pennies to make!!!!!

Spidey hit our Christmas!!!! Here is Aidan in his Spiderman hat/mask and he tackled his dad with the Spiderman crocheted afghan!
Patterns: Knitty.com Jeckyl & Hyde hat/mask and Spiderman crochet afghan (online)
Yarn: Encore Worsted
Needles: 7 for hat and H for afghan

My February Ladies Sweater!
We got in a shipment of Karabella Aurora 8 and I had to make some garments out of it!!!!
Pattern: February Ladies Sweater (free online)
Yarn: Said Aurora 8
Needles: 7

The Custom Stitches KAL has been so much fun. I made this sweater first and love it!
Pattern: Ingenue from Custom Knits
Yarn: Plymouth Mainland
Needles: 6

Also from the KAL...
Pattern: Tuxedo Vest from Custom Knits
Yarn: Wool Bam Boo
Needles: 5

Love this pattern!!!!!
Pattern: Swirls Crochet Hat (free online)
Hook: G
Yarn: Aurora 8

Sweater for Kennedy
Pattern: Piccolo Sweater from Doggie Knits by Corinne Neissner
Yarn: Cascade 220

Believe it or not, that is just a portion of what I made. I foolishly sent out several Christmas gifts without taking pictures of them. I made my Dad a Steelers hat and my brother a Duke hat. I used a free simple hat pattern with a rib that flips up and then stockinette around the head. I ordered decals for Steelers and Duke online and then attached them to the rib portion of the hat. I also made a Lucy bag for my mom that turned out really well. I did a brown bag with a teal stripe in the middle of the bag.

I hope that you too have had a productive knitting season. Now I'm on to finish a dog sweater for a friend, knit myself a vest, and knit on my projects for teaching. Oh yeah, and maybe a to be announced new KAL!!!!!
Needle: 7

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Stash!!!!!

I have to start this post by sending out a HUGE thanks to my ever so patient husband. He calmly helped me for three days--yes, three days--enter my yarns, books, magazines, needles, and hooks into Ravelry. What a HUGE job. I took pictures of all the yarn and put all the yarn amounts and details into the database. It created a massive organization of the yarn room too. It looks great and I know exactly what yarn I have. If you are on Ravelry, check it out in my notebook. I learned a great deal about using the database, so if you get motivated and need help, feel free to ping me.

This was one of my 2008 New Year's Resolutions. I made it...just under the wire!!!!

My help during the long organization.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Addicted to Stitch Markers

I must confess that I've become a stitch marker addict. I love them. I love to find really cute ones and match them to my projects. Dorky? Yes. I admit it. My wonderful Santa brought me some sushi ones and a big sweater one in my stocking/gifts this year. Aren't they cute?


The sushi markers were purchased on Etsy.com, which is the best resource for markers that I have found. The big sweater was purchased at Wool & Company in Geneva, Illinois. This is a fantastic shop if you are ever in the area.

Anybody else addicted to these little buggers? I'm trying to think of a cute way to display them in my yarn room so that I can enjoy them even when I don't have them on my knitting. I'm not a fan of clutter, so I need an organized and clean way to display them. Hmmmm....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Classes Added

I have added some new classes to the schedule for January and February. Here is the list (and also in the class schedule to the right). Many of these classes have something different about them, so I hope that you will all find them interesting.

Beginning Knitting, January 3rd & 31st from 9:30-11:30 $30--A great gift for someone if you have a friend who wants to learn how to knit so they can be your knitting buddy.

Felted Bags and Fair Isle, February 7 & 21st from 1-3 $30--People love making the Lucy Bag pattern (especially beginners). I've also added the Medallion bag to this for anybody who wants to try their hand at Fair Isle!

Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket, February 28th & March 7th from 9:30-11:30 $30--This pattern has been made thousands of times since it was written by the grand master of knitting herself. Knit in garter, it is a simple pattern, but the magic happens in the way it is shaped and folded. Knit it one piece and then folded. Amazing!

Rolling Stones sweater, January 31st, February 28th, and March 14th from 1-3 $45--Many of you asked me this past Friday to add this class. (It was the sweater I wore to the last Saturday KAL meeting in the blue tones.) Just a fun and beautiful pattern from Chris Bylsma.

Felted Boot class, February 7th from 9-noon $20--The fun boots (sized from newborn to small adult) are cute and cozy! Learn the shaping techniques for a sock, how to felt, and how to put on those fun circles!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good Gifts for a Beginner to Make

The most common question we get this time of year is... "What is a quick gift that I could make for a holiday present?"

I thought this would make a useful blog entry for a lot of the beginners I've taught lately (hi ladies!). Here are some links to some great free patterns that are fairly quick and use basic skills so that newbies would be comfortable. (Fear not, next week I'll post a list of things that you could ask Santa for!)

Hats:
Woman's hat/children: http://www.frugalhaus.com/homepage/downloads/NP12.pdf
Men's hat: http://kisknit.wordpress.com/2006/08/31/fo-second-chemo-cap-plus-the-pattern/

Hat Tip: Personalize a simple knit hat by sewing on a college or sports team decal.

Scarfs:
Simple Rib scarf: http://www.knittingonthenet.com/patterns/scarfribbed.htm (lots of men seem to like this pattern)
Crochet corkscrew: http://www.straw.com/cpy/patterns/corkscrew-scarf-blippity-party.html

Other quick knits for gifts are cowels, fingerless mittens, baby blankets, and dishcloths. Christina has created several patterns for Stitches & Scones that we have for sale at the store. They use different textured yarns and knit up very fast.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pardon the Interruption

Maybe it is the time change, maybe the heavy workload of getting the KAL started, maybe all the stress that is in the air...I don't know what but I'm tired. Therefore, I am interrupting the normal new knitter Mondays to instead post just a quick blog today. (I'm planning to veg out tonight!)

A few weeks ago Patrick was reading his National Geographic and he asked me if I had ever heard of Vicuna yarn. I honestly had not and was curious. Well, the Vicuna is a relative of the llama and their fleece is described as making "even cashmere seem harsh." I found the stats interesting as well:

Merino sheep: 160-240 ounces per harvest every year
Cashmere goat: 5-7 ounces a year
Vicuna: 7-8 ounces every 2 years!

Wow. The sweater that was made out of vicuna is a standard ribbed pullover. Retail: $4,575.00. Wow. I am now on a quest to find vicuna just to feel it! Anybody ever seen or felt it?

(Resource: National Geographic)

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Knitter Monday 10/27: Knitting Abbreviations

Like all cultures knitting has its own jargon and abbreviations. Although this isn't a complete list, here are a few to get you started. Additionally, any good pattern or book will have a key. As always, I would recommend Sally Melville's Knit Stitch and Purl Stitch books for more information.

K = Knit
P = Purl

Circs = Circular needles (you know the ones with the cables)
DPNs = Double pointed needles (those scary looking ones with points on both ends)

K2tog = Knit two stitches together (this decreases 2 stitches to 1; used to shape garments; by the way decrease is often displayed as dec)
M1 = Make 1 (this is an increase that adds 1 stitch; used to shape garments; there are several ways to make 1 that is more advanced; by the way increase is often displayed as inc)
YO = Yarn Over (creates an intentional whole that displays as an eyelet in the work; used to make lace)

St st = Stockinette stitch (This is the flat stitch that most of us think of when we talk about a "knit sweater." It looks like all VVVVVs. You create this stitch by knitting the right side row and purling the wrong side row. If you are knitting in the round on circular needles instead of back and forth, you would knit every row.)

RS = Right Side (This is the side of the work you want the public to see.)
WS = Wrong Side (This is the side of the work you don't want the public to see.)

CO = Cast On (The act of putting stitches on your needle.)
BO = Bind Off (The act of removing stitches from your needle.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Custom Stitches Knit Along (KAL) Information

In lieu of the normal New Knitter Monday post...

custom stitches
a Stitches & Scones knit along



We are pleased to announce our first store knit along! A knit along (KAL) is defined in the book knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together as
Any organized event where people knit together for a common purpose or goal.
This first (we hope of many) store knit alongs will center around the new book Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. Want to find out all the details? Read on...the newsletter is divided into sections providing you example projects, guidelines for the KAL, and meeting times.
We look forward to sharing many knitting hours with all of you in the next three months and beyond.
~Molli & the Stitches & Scones staff
custom stitches
by Wendy Bernard

Custom Knits Cover
This is a beautiful book packed full of projects you will want to knit. After researching online to find the most loved patterns, we assigned Gina, Tonia, and Nancy knitting homework to help you.
Gina will be knitting Ingenue and the Tuxedo Vest, Tonia will be knitting the Favorite Cardigan and the Lettuce Coat, and Nancy will be knitting Slinky Ribs.
We will have these projects with us at all KAL meetings and will post pictures and tips and tricks on our KAL Yahoo group. However, you are welcome to knit ANY project from the book AND knit as many as you like in the three months. We will help you through all of them.
What You Get

Ingenue2
By signing up for the custom stitches KAL, you will
  • receive a password to the online Yahoo group where you will be able to ask questions, post pictures, and share in the knitting experience with the group
  • receive a folder of materials especially designed for you by the Stitches & Scones staff to support you through the projects in the Custom Knits book, including measurement sheets, swatch gauge diary sheets, and project diary sheets
  • be invited to the launch party and wrap-up style show
  • have your measurements taken by a qualified seamstress
  • participate in demos, such as the provisional cast on and how to use Flickr
  • receive hands-on instruction for building a body double
  • be guided through all the patterns in the Custom Knits book
  • enjoy snacks and other goodies to keep us occupied during our group KAL times
  • and...be registered for prizes specifically selected for KAL participants
SlinkyRibsHow to Join
To join the custom stitches KAL, you can register at Stitches & Scones in person or by phone (317.896.4411). Please provide your name, phone number, and email address. No matter if you live near or far, you can still join up and participate!
We are asking that each member
  • pay a $10 registration fee
  • purchase a copy of the book (books may be purchased at any retail location; if you would like a copy from Stitches & Scones, please call today to reserve your copy)
  • purchase of yarn for project must be made at Stitches & Scones to participate in the KAL

The dates and times for the KAL are listed here. You will notice that we have both Thursday night and Saturday day options. You are welcome to attend both, but can attend only one time a month if that works better for your schedule. We will have repeat demos on those days so that attendees who can only make one meeting still get all of the instruction.
  • Launch party: Sunday November 2nd from 1-5PM
  • November KAL meetings: Thursday November 13th from 6-8PM OR Saturday November 15th from 11AM-1PM
  • December KAL meetings: Thursday December 4th from 6-8PM OR Saturday December 6th from 11AM-1PM
  • January KAL meetings: Thursday January 15th from 6-8PM OR Saturday December 17th from 11AM-1PM
  • Wrap up and Style Show: Thursday January 29th from 6-8PM

Monday, October 13, 2008

KAL--New Knitter Monday 10/13

So, what's a KAL? It stands for knit along. A knit along is when you join a group of other knitters to make the same project. It has the benefit of each participant being able to offer advice and encouragement. Most of all, it is the sense of community and friendship that make them the most appealing. 

I bring up KALs because Tonia and I are getting ready to launch one!!!!! It will be centered around the new book Custom Knits. If you don't have a copy yet, RUN out and get one. It is a beautiful book with tons of patterns you will want to make. (Don't let the skinny model pix scare you off--the garments look great on all shapes, just check out Ravelry for proof.) Tonia and I are meeting this week to map out the details, so I'll keep you all updated on how to sign up. For all of you who are recent beginning knitting students, you too can participate. Don't be scared, you'll have an entire support group behind you!

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Knitter Monday 10/6: Ravelry

I try to remember to tell students who are new to knitting and crocheting about Ravelry, but I fear that I've missed it with some of you. Ravelry (www.ravelry.com) is an online knitting and crochet community. It is FABULOUS! I use it constantly to look up patterns, yarn info, etc (both at the store and at home).

To sign up: go to www.ravelry.com and fill out the sign up info. They will then "invite" you to join, which just means they give you your account info.

Here is a sampling of what you can do on Ravelry:

* Join groups: There are all kinds. Groups about knitting, of course, but also groups based on what you like to knit, TV shows, dieting, dog owners, on, and on. The store gang has a group called Stitches and Sconers. Search for it under the Group tab and click the Join This Group button. We chat about what is going on at the store, but we mostly just chat about our knitting and what to do next!

* Search patterns: You can go to the Patterns tab and search for patterns. For example, I searched for "baby blanket" and got all kinds of ideas for what I wanted to make. Users load up pictures and info about the projects they made and the pattern searcher looks over those and ones that are up for sale in Ravelry. (Hint: Free patterns pop up with a little Free button next to them.)

* Search yarn: Got a ball of yarn and don't know what to make? Type in the yarn on the Yarns tab and see what others made with it.

It is a wonderful way for new knitters to find people in their community and to learn all kinds of great info. There are discussion boards about anything and everything. You can also add friends and you have an "email" inbox in Ravelry. I am BrownieKnits. If, and when, you sign up, search for me under the find people area and tag me as a friend. Happy Ravelrying to all!!!!!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Let the Gift Knitting Begin!

Like everybody else these days, I am trying to watch the old wallet. I decided that while I want to give gifts to those I care about at Christmas, I also want to be fiscally smart about it. One of the ways I can show I care is by knitting/crocheting gifts. Many things I already have to knit and just have them waiting on me to do so. So, yesterday I sat down and wrote out my Christmas to do list. I won't get in to what they are specifically because there are some receivers out there in Internet-land. However, I will say that I finished up a gift yesterday and another today! Combined with two others I already had finished earlier this year, that is four down and five to go. 

If you are looking for some great pattern ideas for gift knitting, might I suggest the Encore Done by Monday afghan book or a felted bag pattern. All of these knit up fast and non-knitters are amazed by the magic of felting or the coziness of a handmade blanket.

Okay, I'm off to plot out #5 and knit on...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Den

So a few weeks ago I posted about the yard sale and the redesign of Patrick's space. The sale was a great success--we got rid of a lot of stuff, made some cash, and really got the house organized. Here is the result of sale:


That's right a leather chair (and a trash can). I've become an adult. I resisted the attempt to spend it all on yarn. That's okay because Patrick deserves a great chair and a comfortable space. Based on this picture from Greece we selected the color:


Patrick adjusted the shelving we put in when we moved in, put up some trim to make them more of a built-in look, painted the walls our Greek blue (peek-a-boo blue to be technical), and I did all the arranging. I have a feeling I might find him asleep in the middle of the night in this room!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Just a Fun Picture

Here is a picture from the wedding that Patrick and I went to a few weeks ago. This is Patrick's gang of college buddies, plus. I can't believe I've known you all for 10 years already!

If you are a fan of books, check out Chris Coake's work (pictured above 3rd from the right). He is an EXCELLENT writer. 

We're In Trouble from Harvest Books
The Best American Mystery Stories 2005

He's working on a new one too. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nutrisystem--Yuck

So I was all excited and signed up for Nutrisystem. All geared up to drop the pounds. I ate the meals and I can't put another one in my mouth. I've found them to be appalling. I've seen several other sites where users gave it a similar review. I'm so disappointed by this because I really wanted it to help me drop the weight. 

I'm going to try Alli and eating healthy. Seems to be a better option for me. At least that way I can eat foods that I know I like--not packaged. Anyway...if you are look at options, I'd skip the Nutrisystem one. I know it has worked for several of my friends, so I'm more convinced than ever that my taste buds are wacky. I think it also have something to do with my abnormally strong sense of smell--no joke. Patrick calls me the super sniffer. I balance out our friend Wes who can't smell at all. He, however, has perfect pitch. Life is a balance...so I'm off to knit to make up for my less than great day. (Oh yeah, had a repair guy who tried to get lots of money out of us by trying to scare us. Some day...)

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Knitter Monday 9/29: Wood, Metal, Plastic Needles

I'm back........

Sorry for the very long delay. I know that I promised to post earlier, but you wouldn't believe the trip I went through. It has been a long recovery! But, that's for a later post...

One of the questions that I get from a lot of new knitters is, "Why are there so many different types of needles and which ones are the best?" Like most things, the answer is more complex than the question:

* Wood: Rosewood, bamboo, etc. needles come in all types of different wood. I find that most knitters like to use wood when they are looking for something to grab the yarn. For example, I have a lot of new knitters that use bamboo. This helps them not to drop stitches as much. Another good use for wood needles is when your yarn is slippery--for the same non-slip reason. The final reason that people like to use wood or bamboo is that they are "warmer" in the knitters hands and this helps some people who have arthritis or other pains in their hands and joints. Personally, I like to use my wood Harmony needles because they are wood (and warm), but they are treated to be nice and slick. I also really like my rosewood straight needles. 

* Plastic: I'm not really a fan of the plastic needles, but they do have their purpose. I dislike them for the same reason that beginners tend to like them--they bend a bit. Some beginners like this because it helps them to grab the yarn when pulling a stitch through. I do like my Denise needles that are plastic. They seem much more rigid and have a nice point on them. If you are looking for a good economical purchase in today's economy, these are the way to go. You get sizes 5-15 and different lengths of cables for $50-$60 dollars. Lovely gifts from Santa! (They also sell a breast cancer awareness version that donates $5 from every sale.)

* Metal: My favorite and, of course, the most expensive. I love my Addi turbo metal needles. When I first started knitting and discovered these I showed them to my mother-in-law. She had a full set of knitting needles and was visibly trying not to be tempted. It was too late. She loved them and added several to her collection. We agreed on that trip to St. Louis that they are like knitting with butter. Although they have a higher price point, they are really worth the enjoyment that you get from knitting with them. There are other types of metal needles (many from department craft stores) that are not as polished and smooth as these.

Of course, there are many other types of needles (such as Signature), but these are the ones I've tried out and this gives a good basic. I say, just like towels, you can never have too many needles! Buy and enjoy...then buy bags to store them in. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Blog Vacation

Many of you have noticed I haven't blogged in the last week. I will get back to it, after a brief interruption. New posts will begin again on 9/18. Happy Knitting until then!!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Knitter Monday Suggestions?

I've received some great feedback about New Knitter Mondays. Please feel free to pop me a comment if you would like to suggest an upcoming topic.

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Knitter Monday 8/25: Yarn Weights

You find a yarn you love and you want to find a project to knit or crochet OR you find a pattern you love and you need to find the yarn to use. What is the first thing to do? Check the yarn weight and gauge requirements. 

The weight of yarn refers to how thick or thin the yarn is and how many stitches would fit into an inch when knitted/crocheted. The categories are

* Fingering (0): The thinnest of yarns; 8 1/4 to 10 stitches in an inch on a size 000-1 needle; perfect for lace projects.
* Sock (1): 6 3/4 to 8 stitches in an inch on a size 1 to 3 needle; guess what? Perfect for socks! Also good for some lace shawls.
* Sport/Baby (2): 5 3/4 to 6 1/2 stitches in an inch on a size 3 to 5 needle; you got it--baby
* DK (3): 5 1/4 to 6 stitches in an inch on a size 5 to 7 needle; great for shawls and sweaters--used a lot in baby items too. 
* Worsted (4): 4 to 5 stitches in an inch on a size 7 to 9 needle; the most common weight of yarn; great for sweaters and afghans.
* Chunky (5): 3 to 3 3/4 stitches in an inch on a size 9 to 11 needle; great for quick projects
* Bulky (6): 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 stitches in an inch on a size 11+ needle; also great for quick projects, but VERY warm

When you find a pattern you will see a Gauge section that says something like: 16 stitches over 4 inches in St st. To figure out the correct weight of yarn, divide 16/4 and you get 4 stitches in an inch. This is a Worsted weight yarn. Now you know what to look for in the store. (Keep in mind that you must make a swatch to figure out what needle size allows you to get the gauge, but the first step is the right weight of yarn.)

My current favorite yarns in these weights are...

* Fingering/Laceweight: Zephyr
* Sock: Koigu
* DK: Mermaid
* Worsted: Dreamweaver and Karabella Aurora 8
* Bulky/Chunky: Baby Alpaca Grande

What are you favorite yarns? Still find weights a mystery? Post a comment and I'll do my best to address it. 

Bonus tip: If you double any of the weights, they equal the next higher weight. This can come in handy if you want a chunky yarn as most stores don't stock as many chunky options and they are more expensive per yard. You can double a Worsted yarn.

For all you crocheters out there, you can find the crochet breakdown at www.yarnstandards.com/weight.html.

Monday, August 18, 2008

New Knitter Monday 8/18: Blocking


People hate to block. I'm not really sure why, but it is true. I used to as well. Then, I discovered the difference that blocking can make in your knitting, and in the pleasure of enjoying the garment. Blocking helps your stitches blossom to their full effect AND it usually softens the yarn.

Blocking: The act of wetting your garment and shaping it to dry in the shape and dimensions you desire.

Here are the most common questions I get about blocking (and the answers):

Q: Why do I need to block.
A: Blocking allows your stitches to blossom. They come alive. Blocking also evens out your knitting. Do you have a row that looks a little different where you folded it in your bag--blocking will fix that. The most important reason to block is that you can block your garment to the finished dimension you desire (within so many inches up and down).

Q: Do I have to block every time I wash it?
A: If you want it to fit and have the correct shape, yes. Is this somewhat of a pain, yes. Will it smell like wet wool, yes if it is wool. However, if you purchase a nice piece of furniture, you dust it and take care of it, right? Isn't your hard work worth attention? Giving a non-machine washable garment as a gift, include an index card with care instructions. (Not a bad idea to do this even for the machine-washable items since a lot of those cannot be put into the dryer or shouldn't be washed with towels/etc. As a matter of fact, the reason a lot of machine washable yarns say to lay flat to dry is to prevent stretching and so that you can BLOCK!)

Q: What detergent should I use?
A: I've heard all kinds of suggestions. I could only offer my own opinion and that would be Eucalan, which you can typically find at your local yarn shops.

Q: How do you block?
A: Let me use a sweater made of wool as an example. First, I fill my sink with water (not hot water unless you want to felt it). I add in the instructed amount of Eucalan (see label on the bottle). Place the garment in the sink and let it sit for 10-20 minutes to really soak in the water. Drain the water (notice with Eucalan that you do NOT rinse it out). Roll the sweater in a towel to soak up a large portion of the water. Lay out the sweater on your blocking area. I have a blocking board that has a measurement grid printed on it. I highly recommend it, but it isn't necessary. You can lay out some towels and put your garment on the towels to dry. Pin out the garment to the measurements you want. (If using the no blocking board method, measure the size out with a tape measure.) Do pin the item so that it holds the shape while drying. I use T pins (shown below). I typically put a fan on the garment to help it dry faster. I usually let it dry on the top side and then flip it over to dry the other side.


This process is called Wet Blocking. You can also Steam Block, which involves putting a towel on each side of the garment and using a steamer to wet the garment. Then put it on the blocking area to dry, just like the Wet Blocking. When you Steam Block, don't agitate the garment by ironing back and forth--you could end up felting it.

DO be careful with more delicate fibers like a silk.



One final note: Do unto the swatch as you will your finished garment. What does this mean? Knit your swatch before knitting your garment. Measure it for gauge THEN block your swatch and measure the gauge. I've found that most knitters will show a difference. If you want your sweater to fit, you need to adjust your needle size to the required gauge on your swatch AFTER you have blocked it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

That Room...and a BIG SALE!!!!

Hello to all of you in Internet land. Today I'm feeling a lot better than yesterday. I had to cancel a class, which I absolutely hate to do. However, I had such a bad allergy attack that my eyes watered all day long. It was terrible. My eyes were little slivers. Ugh.

Anyway, today PK and I are working on the items for our Garage SALE!!!!! If you live in the area, come on by:

Friday 8/22 from 8-3
Saturday 8/23 from 8-12
2215 Pheasant Run
Westfield (behind Sanders Glen in the Pheasant Run housing edition)
We will have furniture, tons of games, clothing, and tons more!!!!!

When we bought our house, I told Patrick that his den was his and I wouldn't impose my organizational-nut behavior on him. True to form, the most I've ever done is run the vacuum in there every so often. That and, unfortunately, it became our catch-all room. Until today, I had no idea how much so. We have decided to clean it out, paint the walls, and get him a nice chair and shelves. Not too much of an investment, but good grief will it make a difference. Right now he is in the process of figuring out where to fit all those brewing bottles into the closet!

I'll post pictures when the new room is ready. Spread the word about the yard sale if you know someone who is looking for some good finds. Items are priced to sell.

Example items for sale:
* PC games
* PS2 games
* Clothing
* Kitchen table and chairs
* Rocking chair and footstool
* Wooden shelves (perfect for a garage)
* Entertainment center
* Highchair
* Books
* Craft items
* Record player and records
* Loads of other things too!!!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Birthday to You

Today (8/15) is Ms. Tonia's birthday for those of you who know her. Happy Birthday, Tonia!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wool & Company

This weekend I visited a shop in Geneva, Illinois named Wool & Company. It was a great little store with a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. I have to admit that I was totally checking it out for my dream store I hope to open some day. I loved that they carried so many items that were tied to knitting, but not needles and yarn. For example, little sheep soap, key chains, beautiful bags, fun jewelry, etc. I also liked their selection of bag making items (D rings, O rings, handles, purse feet, etc). I have four felted bags planned for the fall/winter knitting and I just completed two others. It is amazing how hard it can be to find these items in a brick and mortar store versus online. I also really liked their displays. They used bookcases and older pieces of furniture that had a lot of character. It really distinguishes the store from others. They had a WIDE selection of yarns and were well organized. The staff was friendly too.

Sadly, I didn't get to see the rest of the town and shops because I spent my hour and a half in this one store while my family zipped through the other shops. I had no idea I'd been in there that long! Sign of a good store. If you are in the area, I recommend taking the drive to this store. It wasn't far from Schaumburg (site of Stitches Midwest this month).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Oh, Baby!

We just got back from visiting my sister-in-law and her husband this weekend. We are all excited to welcome a new little one to our family in February. Here is a fun little picture of the happy couple putting the wedding ring gender test in action. It said the baby is a girl. We'll see in a few months how accurate it is. In the meantime, I'll keep knitting in green, yellow, and cream.


Okay, I just realized how funny this picture is. I think Ben, the dog, might be making a statement. : )

Monday, August 11, 2008

New Knitter Monday 8/11: Tinking

What is Tinking, you ask? Tink spelled backward is Knit. When we tink, we are taking out our knitting. Thus, the actions are in reverse. Think of it this way...

Knit:
1. Insert needle
2. Wrap yarn around right needle
3. Pull yarn through
4. Drop back stitch off the left needle

Tink:
1. Insert needle into the stitch below the one on your needle (be careful not to go down an extra row)
2. Unwrap the yarn
3. Arrange the working yarn so that it isn't laying over the needles
4. Drop the stitch of the right needle

Here are some pictures to help you with the steps. NOTE: When you are trying to figure out what spot to put the left needle into, pull up on the working yarn and down on the work. The little hole will open up that is immediately below the stitch that is sitting on your needle. (Still, uncertain? Look to see where the feet of the stitch on your needle is coming out. That is the correct spot.) You should also note that in these photos, I am taking out a purl stitch.

1. Inserting the needle:

2. Unwrap the yarn:

3/4. Arrange the yarn and drop the stitch off the right needle:


The other common tink question is when to tink and when not to tink. Here are my thoughts:

* Tink when you just need to get back a few stitches to a few rows to fix a problem.
* If you need to go back a LONG way to fix one stitch, evaluate if you can ladder to the error stitch. (Laddering will be covered in a later New Knitter Monday post, but in short it means that you get to the column in which your stitch is in and take out only the stitches in that row.)
* Tink if you are a new knitter and need to practice fixing mistakes.
* Tink if you feel like it. :)
* Tink if you are using a silk or slick yarn that does not allow for any pulling out of needles to rip out work.

Questions about tinking? Post a comment and I'll try to address. Happy Knitting!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Recently Completed Projects from June 2008

Earlier this summer, I finished this wrap knitted with a hand painted one skein yarn I found at the Fleece Fair in Greencastle. The pattern is from a knitting magazine that I have since misplaced (sorry). It is a purl two together/yarn over pattern to create the almost honeycomb look in the main body. The one end section is called a purse stitch.

I also completed a simple pair of variegated socks in June.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Alpaca and Silk Wrap from Mac and Me

I have dubbed this shawl, while knitting it, the Never Ending Shawl. It is huge, but gorgeous. The long body is simply Knit One, Purl One ribbing but the large needles and silky yarn create this unusual and fluffy look. The lace sections are LONG. I finally gave in (on the very last row of the entire shawl) and counted how many stitches I had in the lace repeat--over 650! I am very happy I finished it because it is so comfy and pretty. I think it will be worn year round.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sweet Marmalade

Several years ago at Stitches Midwest I purchased a kit to make the Marmalade sweater (designer: Maureen Mason-Jamieson; yarn kit: Sheldrige Farms). The main color in the sweater is yellow, which I never wear, but I feel in love with the pattern and kit. Every few months I would think about knitting it, but the yellow against my skin always kept me from doing it. Well...on Friday night it hit me. Over dye it red! So I got all my gear together and cooked it in the crock pot.

Here is the original yellow...a nice yellow, but not my color. I am leaving in the paler yellow, just not this bright yellow.

Here is the new red...I used Scarlet from Ashford (an acid dye). I was pleased with how it turned out. There is a little variegation, but just a touch.


And, here is my swatch...

Now, it is a bit hard to envision it from just the sleeve, but I think it will turn out well. I am making the larger size to have plenty of body room (realistically, I'll probably wear it as an inside jacket), but the arms for the large were going to be huge on me. I'm going to use the sizing for the small/medium arms for the cuff and try to get up the right # at the top to match the large body. I'm also going to leave out a band on the sleeves to shorten the sleeve. (I made a slight change in using the lighter color at the bottom band too because it looked nicer against the red.) I'm very excited about the project. So excited that I've changed up my Olympic knitting and this is going to be it (in addition to sewing pennies on my Penny Bag each day).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Feather & Fan Top

Tonia is an Internet pattern guru. If it is a great pattern living in Internetland, Tonia will find it. One fabulous find recently was the Liesl from ysolda.com. I decided to dye worsted weight yarn red in the dye workshop specifically for this project. Because we dip dyed the yarn, each skein (unintentionally) came out a shade lighter. I used the darkest skein at the top and then used the lighter ones later in the sweater.


It was such a fast knit and I love the color and fit. This is one project that shows the beauty of the swatch and blocking. I did a swatch and blocked it. I found that the swatch blocked out a LOT because of the lace nature. When I finished knitting the top, my 46" chest sweater was scrunched up to be around a 39" sweater. I blocked it and voila! My new unique top. And the buttons, purchased at Stitches & Scones, were a perfect match. It is such a great pattern, but I do recommend using markers to set off your feather and fan repeat to keep mistakes to a minimum.

Monday, August 4, 2008

New Knitter Mondays

I have been teaching a lot of new knitters who are just discovering the wonderful world of yarn and knitting. As a lot of you are using the blog as a reference source when working on projects, I decided to launch New Knitter Mondays. Starting on Monday 8/11 I will post a tip, trick, or how-to about knitting that beginners can use. For example...

  • Blocking
  • Tinking (taking out your knitting to fix a mistake)
  • Holes in knitting (how do they happen and how do I fix them)
  • Knitting two stitches together (one style of decrease)
  • Understanding yarn weights
  • Reading a yarn ball label
If there are things that you would like to see posted, please leave me a comment.

For ease of use, there will be a link to all New Knitter Monday posts along the right-hand side of the blog. I hope you find these useful.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sheep Paintings

Looking for more knitting related items to buy that are unique? Check this out

http://www.charisma-art.com/sheep_paintings_3/

Thanks to T, I have one of the Leap of Faith. They are so colorful and bright!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Knitted Ceramics

This past Christmas, Patrick stumbled across these coasters with knitting in them. I love my little set and keep looking at the vases. Her work is gorgeous:

http://www.alyssaettinger.com/work_knitware.htm

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wedding Shawl

Here is a shawl that I made this past weekend for a client. She is the mother of the bride and will look very stylish with her beautiful dress and shawl.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Aidan's Visit

This past weekend our little nephew spent a few nights and days with us. I wish I had 50% of his energy! We had a great time.

First we made a spiderman out of a toilet paper roll...


Then, we painted a pig...


Then, he made a car with Uncle Patrick...

Then, we made a Makeit Bakeit (probably not the best idea given the smell, but oh well)...

Putt putt with Uncle Patrick...


And then after a movie, a little art collage project with Aunt Gina...

I'll need a year to plan another summer weekend for 2009!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Full Circle Music Concert

Looking for something to do on Friday night (7/25)? Come listen to some wonderful singing.

Full Circle Music Concert Sum-Sum-Summertime
Friday July 25th
7:30-9
Tabernacle Presbyterian Church
418 E. 34th St.
Indianapolis, IN

Don't miss Full Circle Music's first Indy concert!!!

Summer-themed music from all over the map, including Berlioz, Brahms, Barber, and many more... Easy, breezy, and sure to please-y :)

Admission is FREE, and a reception will follow the concert. Bring/invite friends; we're trying to spread the word, and we would love your help!!!

For more information on Full Circle Music: www.fullcirclemusic.org





Sunday, July 20, 2008

OC Confession

I have a confession to make. I have become obsessed with watching The OC. I am always in search of new things to watch while I knit and this series is my latest guilty pleasure. There, I said it. Ugh. : )

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Doggie Book


There is a great new dog book on the market by Corinne Niessner named Doggie Knits: Sweaters & Accessories for You Best Friend. It is full of very cute patterns and would be perfect for anybody who is interested in taking the Knitting for Pets class coming up soon. There are several patterns specifically designed for pugs, which are the most common pet questions I received because of their wide chests. So cute!!! If you are interested in a copy for class, please let me know and I can see about placing an order.

Also, people knitting for all dog sizes or for cats are welcome in the class. You pick what you want to make and I'll help you through the specific pattern and we'll discuss the differences in knitting for our four-legged kids.

Friday, July 18, 2008

No Picasso


Patrick and I are no professional painters, but we dabble in paintings for wall hangings every now and then. Here are the latest creations.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Flat Feet

Have you heard about this new sock yarn? It is sold in a "flat" that is already knitted. My understanding is that they paint the yarn while it is in the flat. You then knit your garment off from the flat. All of the garments come out as one of kind. I picked up this greenish one. I'm pondering whether to use it for socks or another fun item. Isn't it fun?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rug Hooking

I've become a recent addict to rug hooking. I saw the work that Tonia was doing and thought it looked very interesting. After a quick lesson, I worked up this little pumpkin rug. I learned so much from Margo and Tonia and completely blame them for this new addiction! : )

I started a new strawberry rug that I'm hooking out of yarn. For whatever reason, I'm finding the yarn a little easier to work with--probably because I'm used to the feel of it more. The next rug hooking group meeting at the store is Thursday July 24th from 2-4 at Stitches & Scones.



If you haven't hooked a rug before, Tonia is offering classes at the store. If we get enough of us "hooked" maybe we can pressure Margo into doing a monthly kit. : ) : )

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Handpainted Yarn

This weekend I took Christina's dye class at the store. It was such a great time. I learned all about the different types of dyeing. I had to dye some yarn red so that I can make a little lace sweater. They came out in various shades so I plan to start with the dark red at the top and then work down tot he lighter shades.

After whipping out the red tones, I wanted to try truly handpainting, so I went with two skeins of cream Koigu and dipped them in a teal, bottle painted portions with a darker teal, and sprinkled some brown drops around. It turned out so cool!!!!!! What a great class, Christina!