Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Escape to Stitches Midwest: Part III

On Saturday I got up and went to a techniques class: Rolled Endings. This class was to show you alternative bind offs. I picked up a nice BO for ribbing that I will use a lot. A great little trick to help the rib go all the way to the end of the garment and stay stretchy.

We also went over how to apply i-cord and work a picot edge. Both of these are techniques I've used before and find to be great extra tools to have in your knitting arsenal.

After I finished up class, we got in the car and headed to Sycamore to visit with Jack, Meg, and Pete. It was so nice to visit with them. Jack has grown up SO much!!!!! He is such a cute little thing. At first he was a little hesitant with us and then he warmed up when he found out that he could put stickers all over us. I've been finding stickers on my clothes, car, and shoes for the last week. (When we got home we found that we had been sent the same stickers by a mailing company. I tucked them aside for when Jack comes for a visit.)

Playing cars with Uncle Patrick.

One of my favorite things was hearing Jack tell us the noises that animals make. The top two best sounds are blub blub for a fish and this little ffffffff sound for a bunny. Too cute. He was able to say Pat, but Gina is still too much. Aidan called me G for about 6 months, but most babies call me Ina for a bit. We'll see what Jack and Raleigh do.

 Jack busted me. He got my receipts out of my purse from market and gave them to PK!

Jack had great fun clicking on my iPhone button to see a picture of Kennedy. He kept pressing it and saying Kiki. He also showed us how he plays with Pudgy -- the big, fat stuffed animal we got him for Christmas last year.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Fall"ing Candy Corn Hat

I'm taking this brief break from my posts about Stitches to announce this new Brownie Knits pattern!

"Fall"ing Candy Corn Hat

Sizes: 0-6 months; 6-12 months; Toddler; Child
Finished Circumference (in inches): 12 (14, 16, 18)
To Fit (in inches): 15 (17, 19, 21)
Yarn: Berroco Vintage Chunky in Tang, Sunny, and Mochi

Pattern is available for $4.00 US:
Ravelry.com under Brownie Knits 
Brownie Knits on etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/BrownieKnits
Stitches & Scones yarn shop in Westfield, IN

Friday, August 27, 2010

Escape to Stitches Midwest: Part II

After dreaming of all the yarn and items I had seen at market and all the things I could do with Japanese stitches, I woke up and prepared for a full day of classes. In signing up for classes this time I tried to take some classes that were further removed from regular knitting. So, Friday morning I had Knitted Carpet Bags and in the afternoon I had Designing Heirloom Rugs.

In the morning session we learned how to create fabric by knitting ribbon and sewing fabric into the knitting, how to turn old clothes into knitting "yarn", and how to knit with fabric. I found that I liked the confetti look in small doses--like a cuff or bracelet and that I didn't enjoy knitting with fabric very much. However, if you like a primitive or country look, this is a great technique for rugs/bags/etc.

The afternoon rug session was something I really enjoyed. This class taught us how to take knitted strips and incorporate them into a rug by turning it on it's side and rolling it along with wool strips. This was a lot of fun and was more like an art to me than the earlier techniques. I saw a lot of possibilities from this session and plan to make a rug for my downstairs bath.

We started with knitted strips and wool strips.

You also use crochet thread and a shirring needle.

We started a pinwheel rug. I made mine go in opposite directions since I was only going to have the two wheels by the end of class.

As the ideas started to flow, I thought why couldn't you use crochet instead? I mean, I love knitting, but crochet is super fast and I wondered how it would look since you would be turning it on its side. It does look different from the garter strips, but I actually liked the crochet more. AND...you get difference looks depending on which side you flip it to. Here is one view (above).

...and the other side. I thought this would be a good side for the middle of flowers.

The ideas from this class were vast. I don't see myself doing it constantly, but I can envision one or two a year. First up, the aforementioned rug. Then maybe a wall hanging...

Part of what made this class even MORE fun (in addition to Rose Ann and the great info) was the mix of students. I sat next to Melinda and she had two ladies on the other side of her that had been long time friends. They were a trip! So, Melinda and I decided to start talking to each other that way and started joking that we were sisters. People actually did think we knew each other, but we just met when we sat down. We laughed a lot in that class and had a great time. At the end of the class, one of the funny ladies gave a bunch of us these bracelets that she was wearing. How nice are knitters!?!?

I ran over to market after class to check out the second half of the market floor. I picked up a coffee cup from a potter and some stitch markers. Her stuff is super cute! I HATE winter, but at least I will have a great merino cable sweater to knit up while drinking tea from my cute cup!

It was such a fun day. I rounded it out with a night out with PK. That night, I crashed and finally got a few hours of sleep at the hotel. Next up...Saturday class and a visit with Meg, Pete, and Jack!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Escape to Stitches Midwest: Part I

This past week/weekend, I escaped life and went to Stitches Midwest. I hadn't taken classes in a few years and didn't get to go last year, so I was super excited to go up this year. I signed up for 5 classes back in April. Apparently, I was REALLY excited to sign up for so many hours!

This was the first time I had gone since it moved from Rosemont. I really like the new place. We stayed at the hotel connected to the convention center. (Side note: The mini tv in the bathroom mirror was interesting. Scared me the first time I walked in and flipped on the light. All of the sudden I heard a news anchor talking!)

On Thursday I took Challenging Japanese Stitches. It was a fantastic class. The Japanese have beautiful stitches, but the charts can look overwhelming and their stitches are more complex than your typical knit/purl combos. We had 6 charts to work over and most of us got through 3 to 5. I got through number 5 and went over 6 with the instructor. I plan to sit down and try that one out when I feel bored one day. I must get my hands on one of the recommended stitch dictionaries. From there, I could try to start translating an actual pattern into knitting. Loved this new realm of knitting.

After class, I got in line for market preview. I kept telling myself, "Be good and stay on budget." Ugh. I cannot tell you how many women I heard say over the weekend, "I spent WAY more than I meant to." We get in there and it is like a tornado starts hitting each booth! I picked up a freebie from one of the stands. They were giving stitch chasers out to anybody who had a Ravelry button with their Ravatar name on it. I feel bad that I don't have the name to tell you, but I love the pretty little design of this tool. Cute, cute, cute. She sold cable needle necklaces and other metal tools/hardware.

I had to grab a little something something from Miss Babs. I settled on the Ashlar hat and Yummy Toes. This one will go to Raleigh in his stocking. Entrelac was everywhere this year. XRX has a new book out on the topic and there were garments all over using the technique.

And, after swearing that I wouldn't buy a bag, I bought a bag. A show special for a three piece set from Debra's Garden. The organizational bag even came with stationary and miscellaneous craft items (ribbons, crocheted flowers, buttons, etc). How fun is that?

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Bella" the Penguin

After adding my classes, I started working on some shop samples. I make up shop samples for two reasons: to advertise the class and to work through writing my handouts for class. I can't tell you how often I have bought something to make because I saw it made up in a store. Such a good thing to see and get excited about making something. Anyway...all of this resulted in a little crocheted penguin. I named him Bella after the penguin PK and I met at Seaworld.

Yarn: Cascade 220 Wool in three colors
Hook: G
Other: Stuffing
Pattern: Penguin from Tiny Yarn Animals

I enjoyed crocheting him. It only took a few hours--love the satisfaction of crochet! Bella is just one of the many amigurumi patterns out there. You are welcome to select any pattern for the upcoming classes:
  • October 7th from 6 pm - 8 pm (Thursday night)
  • October 23rd from 9:30 am - 11:30 am (Saturday)
  • Cost is $15 for the class and you will receive a handout guiding you through all the tricks and techniques, in addition to pattern help for the animals you opt to make.
  • GREAT class for those who have learned to crochet but want more guidance on increases/decreases/shaping/techniques. What you learn in this little creatures will help you in crocheting sweaters, blankets, and everything else.
Let's get hunting (ha!) for the pattern you want to make. I hope you can join me in the fun. What great holiday gifts they would make!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fall/Winter 2010 Classes

I FINALLY got around to settling my schedule for the fall and winter. I have some exciting classes coming up and I hope to see many of you in them.

  • 9/18 from 10-2 Felted Trifold Knitter's Bowl Workshop for $30. This class will cover using Cat Bordhi's moebius cast on and all her genius techniques used in the magical trifold knitter's bowl. This bowl has five outside pockets and an interior space for your project. After you have it felted, place it on a Lazy Susan and turn it around to whatever pocket you need.
  • 10/16 & 10/23 from 1-3 Beginning Knitting for $30. Covers all the basics of knitting: casting on, knitting, purling, binding off, weaving in ends, pattern reading, and fixing mistakes.
  • 10/7 from 6-8 Amigurumi Crocheted Animals for $15 OR 10/23 from 9:30-11:30. In this class, we will discuss all the techniques used in shaping your crochet to create these little cuties. You pick whatever pattern you want and I'll help you figure it out!
  • 11/6 from 10-2 Felted Trifold Knitter's Bowl Workshop for $30. Description above.
  • 11/13 from 10-2 Baby Blankets for $30. Whether you are a beginning knitter or want to try out lace or cables for the first time, this class is for you. You pick whatever pattern you want to try and we will go through it together. We will discuss techniques and tips for newbies, lace, and cables.
  • 12/4 & 12/11 from 9:30-11:30 Beginning Knitting for $30. Description above.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Visit with Raleigh

I got to spend some time last week with my little naked nephew, Raleigh. Poor little guy is like a heater. Given the 90-100 degree temps, he spent a lot of time without much on. We were joking about his little belly being a muffin top above his diaper. It's amazing to see how much he has changed in a few quick weeks. I keep waiting for his eyes to change color...I keep thinking they will go green, but they are a gray/blue right now.

I only had my iPhone camera, so all the shots have a baby movement blue in them.

Playing pat-a-cake

I'm so sleepy...

My brother sent me this shot of Raleigh hanging out with his older dog brother, Hank. Hank does such a great job with the little man. He will come into the house and locate Raleigh, give him a sniff to make sure he is fine, and then he says hi to everybody else. According to Nicki, he doesn't really care for the late-night feedings and would prefer to sleep!

Need to get him a t-shirt that says, "I'm an Apple kid."

Raleigh will never know how much he means to all of us. He provided lots of snuggles during the week and was a trooper about it. I'm not having any kids and my brother and sister-in-law insist that this is it for them. He's going to be SPOILED!!!!!! I can't wait to take him on some auntie trips, but that comes after the potty training is done!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cincy Trip, Part II

I got around to downloading our camera pictures from Cincy. I had completely forgotten about them and didn't even remember taking most of them! Due to life right now, I'm not getting tons of knitting done so you guys get some family shots for a few days.

Group shot with Simon. The penguin next to me is stuffed. I didn't even know it was there when she took the picture. The others are real.

A few animal pictures...

I'm always enthralled with the jellyfish when I go to the aquarium. I find them to be beautiful.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reds Game

We recently took our oldest nephew to a Reds game. Patrick was super excited to go to a pro baseball game. Aidan jumped on board and the two of them got their gear and we headed off to the stadium. After a rough start, the Reds came back to win it with an exciting few plays in the 7th.

Patrick showed Aidan how to keep track of the stats. He got a little bit of it as he was able to tell us what a double was. PK and I also realized that both of our grandmothers were Reds fans. I can remember Grandma listening to the Reds games on the radio when I was little. She loved to sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game and taught me all of the words.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, EZ!

When I haven't been knitting on hats or crocheting animals as of late, I've been knitting on my February Lady Sweater knit out of Miss Babs Yowza. Loving the slight color changes--just enough to go with the famous lace pattern in this sweater. I'm below the divide for arms and slowing am making my way down. Right now, I'm planning for full length sleeves on this one--maybe with a slight bell sleeve.

For those who are newer to knitting, this is a free download in Ravelry and is based on the baby sweater design by the amazing Elizabeth Zimmerman. For those of you non-knitters, you might enjoy reading a bio about Elizabeth. Her 100th birthday would have been today. Happy Birthday, EZ!

When I sit in my oversized chair and knit, I often have company visit me. Often, the company wants to occupy the same spot, so we have a little bit of moving around to get everybody happy. The other day I looked down and realized that this is my view while I knit. Cracked me up...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Student Stocking

I had the pleasure of teaching a student how to make a holiday stocking in July. It was so nice spending a few afternoons with Pam. We used the Knitting Pure & Simple Stocking pattern. Like all of KP&S patterns, it was very easy to follow and makes a great beginner stocking.

Yarn: Donegal Tweed
What a cute dog! Nice to know my dogs aren't the only ones who like to ham it up in my knitting pictures!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Football Hat

I knitted up this little hat from the Itty Bitty Hats book by Susan Anderson. I've knitted SO many hats out of this book, but never this one. I made it in an afternoon and love the result. Super cute!

Yarn: Green is Yowza from Miss Babs
Brown is Dream in Color Classy
I used a US 5 to get a nice fabric. 
Size: 6 to 12 months

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Little Organization

In my on going quest to organize my yarn room, I decided that I never watch the tv in that room. It took up a bunch of valuable space and I use my iPad if I want to watch something in there. So, out with the tv, video player, DVD player, and OLD Tivo box. That made room for this super nifty organizational shelf that I got on a 40% sale. I had lots of fun organizing all the buttons, beads, stitch markers, ribbon, and other goodies in the jars. (I know. I'm a geek. I also like to clean and I was voted most organized by my high school class.)

Look at all that room to add ribbon! All my little sheep now have a home.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Finally!!!!!!! After trying in 4-H and then again 9 years ago, I have FINALLY figured out how to sew. Well, sort of. More than I ever thought I'd be able to anyway. I took a one-on-one sewing class to relearn how to use my machine and ask all the stupid sewing questions I was too shy to do so in a group class.

(Side note: When I got my machine 9 years ago I took the free class that went with the machine. There were about 30 of us in an area to fit 10 people. I was made to feel pretty stupid at any and all questions I had and left in tears. I always try and keep this in mind when teaching knitting and crochet. I always limit my class size and try to make sure people feel comfortable. I doubt that I pull it off 100% of the time, but I do try--which more than I can say for that class 9 years ago!)

After taking this personal class with a very nice lady, I bought three patterns and the goods to go with them. I booked a second lesson for the hardest pattern (more about that after the lesson). For the easiest project I decided I would see how well I could do on my own. (I also thought I could gather together more pattern-oriented questions for my second class if I did a project on my own.) I sat down at the machine and went for it. Four hours later I had a reversible bag! It doesn't look half bad. Sure, there are a few blips, but they aren't noticeable until I point to them and say, "Thanks for saying it looks good, but see this mistake I made." Why do we all do that?!?

Option 1

Option 2

I used the book Sew What Bags by Lexie Barnes. I really liked how easy it was to follow. Good projects for a beginner and clear notes on how to do things. It was only AFTER I finished the project that I realized it was marked as Pro level. That helped my confidence a ton. There are a bunch of other bags that I want to make from the book and one organizer that I think would be a great knitting needle case. First up, though, is the ruffle bag in my class and then a Sun Hat. If I live to see those done, then I'll shop for more fabric. I MUST not build a fabric stash to match my yarn stash!