Sunday, May 31, 2009

Birthday Goodies Part II

On Friday Tonia, Nancy, and I had a girls day out to celebrate my birthday and Nancy's 60th. (Just kidding, N. :)) We started off with a lunch at Kelties--yummy mushroom soup and salads.

After lunch we got our toes done.

We made a trip over to Zionsville to shop and have an ice cream treat. We knitted for an hour or so at the parlor and then headed home. One of the fun things about our days together is how much we laugh--big belly laughs, the good ones. We are scheduled to be together the next two weekends for trips. I just might have to take some Motrin for the aches I'll have from laughing too hard!

Of course, a knitter's birthday celebration includes some fun knitting items.

Tonia gave me this pretty skein of yarn from Cherry Tree Hill.

Nancy gave me this beautiful red silk/wool.

I also received some amazing vintage buttons, a glass shawl pin, M1L/M1R stitch markers, Soak, and an abacus bracelet to count rows. Check out pancakeandlulu.etsy.com for the abacus.

A closer view of the buttons that Tonia found at an antique store. It was hard to get a good picture. They are really unique and I can't wait to find just the right project.

Thanks, ladies, for a great day and wonderful friendship!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Boutique Baguette Bag

I found this free download pattern in Ravelry (Bella's Boutique Baguette) and just had to try it out. I grabbed some leftover Cascade 220 that I had from making a sweater for Kennedy and a size H hook. I love the results! If you are wanting to learn to crochet or you just started, this is a great little bag.



I did modify a few minor things:

I inserted the color change rows. (I actually did this out of necessity as the green I was using was a leftover skein and I didn't have enough.)
I put a plastic lining in the bottom for added support and shaping.
I put three tiny buttons (1 behind each strap and one behind the large button) and used the natural holes in the crochet as the "loops." (I primarily made this addition because I used a yarn that isn't a stiff as the Red Heart, so it needed the extra strength.)
I made the large button loop as written, but crocheted the handles as SC across the 4, Ch 1, Turn on every row. The SC held up better in this yarn than the DC.

Note the button: I picked this up in NYC 3 years ago at Tender Buttons.
Finally found just the right project!

I can't wait to make another that is a little more square and taller so that I can use it as a purse.

Great pattern for newer crocheters too! I received approval from the designer to offer this in a class. If anybody would like to make it in the upcoming Crochet Workshop on July 25th, you are welcome to do so.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wet Felting

I've seen a lot of wet felted scarves and projects at fiber shows. I was NEVER interested in doing this craft because I thought it looked, well, cheap. You could see through the fiber and it wasn't uniform. I tend to really like clean lines, so I just didn't find it appealing.

Well, that all changed when I saw Lana de Flor booth at the Great Lakes show. Her work was amazing. I grilled her with questions because I was trying to figure out what she does that makes it look so different. I came to the conclusion that she's really, really, really good and that the fact that she dyes her fiber to vibrant colors makes a huge difference. Her product also looks a lot thicker than others. I took a picture of a flower in her booth to post here. I also bought one of her rings. A very clever idea!


Of course, I then dropped the $10 on a wet felting kit to try it out!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Crochet Workshop

I've added a Crochet Workshop to the summer schedule. This is a four-hour workshop designed for brand new crocheters or those of you who have dabbled in crochet and want help with a project.

When: 7/25
Time: 10-2
Cost: $25

Project: Brand new to crochet? Learn how to chain, single crochet, double crochet, turn rows, and finish off ends. Most people also end up making a dishcloth, hat, or scarf. More experienced crocheter? Pick your project and use these 4 hours to get the help you need starting and reading the pattern. Don't know a stitch in the pattern? Learn it in this session.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

White Lies KAL Wrap Up Party Pictures

We wrapped up our White Lies Knit Along last week. Everybody did a great job, and here are some pictures to prove it!

The Group


The Krista Tees


The Secret Garden Vest

The Evangeline

The Leticia

The Bed Jacket

Hard at Work!

Clara and Molli--Silly Girl!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Knitting Madlib

On our trip I picked up a Mad Libs book. I loved these as a kid and thought it would be something fun to kill time in the car. Patrick decided that I needed to do one only providing knitting-related terms. The result really made us laugh the first time around. Hope you get a giggle as well.

Quick Quiz

Who am I? I am a worsted American. I was born 5 years ago in Stitches & Scones. When my father first saw me, he said "Shit!" I am 4.5 feet tall, have fingering brown eyes, and a tight complexion. My hobby is collecting needles. I always speak woolly, and I have made several red motion pictures. I am married to Gina, the well-known Hollywood yarn. I have given away thousands of tape measures to charity. My most prominent physical characteristics are my fuzzy nose and my large sheep. Who am I? Answer: I am Patrick.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yarn Crawl Day Two

We are safely back home--cut it a day short because we finished up at the show early. It was SO much fun. After eating some wonderful banana pancakes (I've already asked my little chef if he can recreate them and he did for Memorial Day!), we headed out for the drive up to Wooster. We got there 5 minutes after they opened and started coveting all of the items right away. I had several goals in mind for this trip:

  • Needle felting needles
  • Roving
  • Sock blockers
  • Briar Rose
  • Creatively Dyed
Well, success. I found some great items.

Some roving for needle felting--aren't the colors great?
I plan to use the curls for some Santa beards on something decorative for Christmas.
The green and orange are to make a pumpkin.
The other colors are to try wet felting flowers.
I found the needles in 3, 6, and 12 for a discounted price.

I wanted to pick up a pair of sock blockers.
These are a bonus because they have the needle measurements built in!

If you go to a festival and Briar Rose is there and you only have $ for one booth, spend it here! She has such fantastic yarn and the colors! I picked up yarn to make Patrick a sweater. After all he did for me on this trip, I figured he deserved a beautiful sweater. Of course, I'll be able to wear it as an over sized sweater too. :)

My other favorite vendor booth at these shows is Creatively Dyed. I picked up enough of the Cherry color (shown first above) to make a February Ladies Sweater. The Roses fingering weight yarn is planed to be a Charlotte's Web Shawl. I only wish I could dye yarn like her!

Finally, a few wrap up pictures of the cute alpacas and the wrap up shot. What a great trip. I spent all day Sunday resting after all the excitement!




Friday, May 22, 2009

Yarn Crawl Day One

Boy are my feet tired! We had an adventurous day. After dropping off the doggies at the kennel and putting gas in the car, we were off (only 15 minutes behind schedule). We made our way to the first shop...well, we thought we were. You see, we had directions to it in Dayton. The problem was it wasn't in Dayton--it was in Centerville. We didn't discover this until we were standing on the corner in Dayton and called the shop. Now, normally this would just be a bummer, right. Well, nothing is normal with our trips (recall the train trip of 08?). We were actually at the (drum roll) JAIL!!!!! There were all these people around and we couldn't figure out what was going on. A festival? Some sporting event? Something interesting? Well, it was release time! Oh goodness. After getting back in the car, we were on our way again.


After getting the hell out of Dayton, we went to Yarnique in Fairborn, OH. A fairly new shop, the owner was nice and we were greeted by Piper the dog. So cute. She followed us around and hung out with Patrick while I shopped. She had a nice stock of Malabrigo. I picked up a pair of Hiya Hiya DPNs and a skein of sock yarn/pattern. I thought I might knit on this in the car tomorrow and Sunday--we'll see. I also purchased something else, but those are Christmas surprises for Tonia and Nancy, so you'll have to check back in December to see... (At each stop (except for the jail), Patrick took a picture of me in front of the store with my bag of goodies.)

My favorite event of the day was going to YarnMarket of yarnmarket.com fame. You get to see the show room, which displays a skein of each yarn they have. Then, a staff member takes you into the warehouse of row after row of yarn. Stephanie helped me shop and she was wonderful. My purpose here (of course I planned) was to get some Twisted Sister and Rio de la Plata yarn. I'll post pix of the yarns next week. They are beautiful. I saw this great basket purse from Lantern Moon and picked up one in turquoise. (Tonia, you'll be so proud that I didn't go with the coral/red one!) A must stop if you are in the Columbus area during the week.

The Yarn Shop in Columbus was up next (after hotel check in). Sidebar: We are staying at the Hyatt by the convention center. I stay here for TNNA each year, so it was convenient. There is a comic book/sci fi convention going on so when we checked in we saw a pirate also checking in. Next to him was a contestant from Top Chef (the actual real person). It was a little strange to say the least. Back to The Yarn Shop: A large inventory, I found some tags to sew into garments that say

Made for You By Your Favorite Aunt

Those will be great for Aidan and Jack items--I can always tell myself I'm the favorite, right? :) Also grabbed my next target purchase of Aracania in a green/brown/yellow colorway. I'm thinking that I will make a vest to wear over a brown oxford in the fall. I've wanted to try out this yarn for a few months now. This store also had a lot of purse accessories that I haven't seen before. Lots of handles for $8-$10. What a great deal! I picked up a pair for a future bag. (Anybody crocheted the baguette bag yet? I'm thinking it is next up.)

Then it was on to the Knitter's Mercantile. Also a store with a lot of stock. Lots of Debbie Bliss. Found a cute felted flower notions case for a few dollars and got handpainted yarn for 40% off. What a steal. At 270 yards a skein, I am planning for a simple top-down sweater for the fall. I think it will be gorgeous. The yarn is all golden tones and the colorway is Caramel Camel. Very unique.

Last stop was Heavenly Creations. Although this store had the best space (a cute house), it didn't have much inventory. I did find a needle felting flowers pattern to try out.

General feedback on the day:
  1. When planning your trip, ask the city when you confirm hours. Otherwise, you just might pass go and go directly to jail!
  2. Yarn stores should crank the air when it is 85 degrees. All of the stores were blazing hot and many of them had the lights off. When you get to that point, it is time for fans and air conditioning.
  3. Ohio is overrun with "Exit Only" lanes.
  4. The White Castle Inc is located in the Porcelain Building. I found that hilarious.
  5. My iPod set on shuffle has a bias. It kept playing David Cook and Daughtry over and over.
  6. I have the best husband ever that he is taking me on this trip!
Next up, sleep. Then, banana pancakes and the drive to the Great Lakes Fiber Show!!!!!

Birthday Goodies

My good friend Carol sent me a package of knitting goodies for my birthday. Here is the loot. So much fun! Thanks, Carol!

Tabali Yarn
Bulky
81 yards per skein
Any pattern suggestions?

Feeding my stitch marker addiction...

Stitch Markers from Needle Bling on etsy.com.

Stitch Markers from YarnLust.com.

You can't see it, but these little guys say made with love and you can knit them into your garment. What a great idea!!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Babette Blanket Out of Hibernation

I fell in love with the Babette blanket pattern when it came out in Interweave Crochet in Spring 2006. I started working on it last year and then got sidetracked. Recently I felt like crocheting, so I picked it up again and took it out of hibernation. I only have 32 more squares to make before I can arrange them and crochet them together. I'm thinking that this will end up being a wall hanging. I used a lot of yarns that aren't blanket friendly, but I was going for the artist factor. I'm mostly using yarns that I had in my stash. (The original pattern uses all Koigu. I used more DK weights, so I doubled sock weights and mixed them with the DKs.)

Hook: E
Yarns:
Sheep Shop
Cotton thread
Koigu--2 colorways
Chutney in color Orange (from Artfibers)
Cotton Classic
Handmaiden Sea Silk
Panda Silk

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hard Decisions

As a knitter, we become very attached to our projects. We spend a great deal of time and energy with each project. We plan, plot, and work. Sometimes, for various reasons, things just don't work out. Part of my New Year's resolution this year was to finish everything on the needles on 1/1/09 by 12/31/09. I started off with 14 projects. I worked through a large bunch of them, plus other things I casted on. There were a few projects that I just couldn't bring myself to pick up again. I've been thinking about frogging them and using the yarn for other projects. I've been considering these options for months now. I woke up on Sunday and decided that two of them had to go. So....

It is with a little lingering dread that I frogged Myrna and Marmalade.

These two projects got the ax for very different reasons:
  • Myrna: I casted this on to knit for our KAL. I love, love, love the yarn I purchased (Wool Bamboo in red). However, it is too warm to wear in the summer (reason #1). Although I have great respect for White Lies designs--beautiful garments, I didn't enjoy working on this sweater. I don't know if it is the amount of ribbing (reason #2). I also HATE pressure knitting (i.e. knitting for a deadline or for a set reason), and the KAL was forcing me to work on this and I just didn't want to (reason #3). I gave in and frogged it despite the KAL.
  • Marmalade: I bought this kit many years ago in a colorway I would never wear. I dyed the yellow (bad color for me) to red last year and thought that would take care of it. It really didn't. It just wasn't me. I tend to wear solids, or a very calm print. This was way wild in the color area. I decided I really liked the yarn and it will be GREAT to use in hats and such.
Now that I've dealt with those projects, I'm down to 3 active projects and 2 hibernating ones. Of these, 3 were on the needles on 1/1/09. Progress...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Patrick's Cooking Classes

Patrick loves to cook (thank goodness since I hate it). He is constantly reading recipes and finding new adventures for the taste buds. For his birthday this year, I gave him a gift certificate for some cooking classes so that he could play Top Chef. His last class is this Thursday and he has seemed to really enjoy the experience. (Classes at Kiss Z Cook in Carmel if you are interested in signing up.)

Here are some pictures from his poultry class. Duck and grilled chicken slammers. Patrick actually made the quail (not pictured).


As he has taken classes, he has gotten more adventurous in just trying out combinations. This past Saturday he made pears on the grill. They were really yummy.

Slice pear in half and core it.
Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (total for both halves);
Toss in a few nuts and spritz sugar/nuts with fat free butter.
Wrap in aluminum foil and cook on grill for 15 minutes or until pear is warm throughout.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yummy Birthday Cake

Yesterday was my bday and Patrick got me a yummy, beautiful cake from Pad-a-Cakes. Yum!!!

I'm super excited about my birthday gift, which is a yarn crawl to the stores in Columbus and then the show in Wooster. Come on Friday, I'm ready!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Relay for Life Knitathon

Today is the Relay for Life of Westfield event and we are the first team in the country to knit throughout the event. If you would like to donate to the American Cancer Society, it is a great cause. (My link is on the top right of my blog.) Almost everybody relays because they have been touched by cancer. I relay for my aunt and grandmother. They both kicked breast cancer's butt!

Here's Grandma getting her grove on!