Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hats for Sale

I knitted up some hats and a crocheted scarf for the Etsy store. These will be going up on the site very soon, but I thought I'd give you guys a first look in case any of you would like to make a pre-purchase. Post a comment on the blog or in FB if you are interested and I can provide more details.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Knitting Through the Years

I was playing around in iBooks the other day looking to see if publishers have started to clue in yet that knitters would like to get books and patterns on ereaders. (BIG HINT if you work for a knitting book publisher!!! Please, we want them!!! We will buy them!!!)

I came across a few free books where the copyrights have run out. One of them is the Handbook of Wool Knitting and Crochet. I downloaded it thinking it probably wouldn't have all that much of interest to me. I was wrong. There is a lot in there from a historical view that I found entertaining. While skimming over it, this paragraph caught my eye. Although it is about women during WWII, I thought the first part of it applied to a lot of women I know in today's world!

The women of America are knitting as never before. In the social set, no gathering can be fashionable that does not tolerate knitting; the business woman must knit in the car to and from her work; while to the busy housewife no duty is so imperative as to exclude knitting from the daily routine. It almost seems as if the women of America--all women, rich and poor alike--were devoting their united efforts to one vast universal consecration--the comfort of our boys over there.

I should also note that while I was reading this an old episode of Grey's Anatomy was on. It was the one where Meredith was knitting a sweater to keep from dating. I hate that episode. I prefer the ones that have Izzy show how talented she is with her knitting projects. I often find it frustrating in today's main stream media to see knitting made fun of. How nice it was to be feeling this frustration and at just that moment read the above paragraph.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jack Jack!

Today is my nephew Jack's 2nd birthday. I can't believe it has already been 2 years. He is such a joyful child and we love the time that we get to spend with him. This will be a big year for Jack as he will have a little sister soon, but I'm sure he will take to being a big brother. Aunt Gina and Uncle Patrick love you lots and can't wait to celebrate with you in a few weeks.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Grandma's Hat: Reinvented

Last week (as promised) I took out my Grandmother's old crocheted hat, put on my thinking cap and sat down with a hook and yarn. I'm really happy with the result!

First, the original...

From my earliest memories, Grandma wore this hat. That would mean sometime in the 70s or early 80s, thus the colors! I love the hat not because of the visual look of it and the yarn colors, but because it reminds me so much of her. So, when I decided to recreate it I knew that I wanted to make an update to it. (I didn't want to feel ancient!) Here is what I came up with...

I started with an H hook and light worsted weight yarn (Yowza from Miss Babs) in a lovely monochromatic red. The top was a single crochet swirl out from the center without finishing off each round. Then I went into a Ch6 plus SC attachment for the large lace section.

For the bottom of the hat, I switched it up from the original a little more than the top. I alternated between HDC rows and DC. I also made it a little deeper and bigger around (although I did decrease some at the very bottom to draw in the edge). I wanted a bit of a slouch to the hat to modernize it.

Finally, I added on a flower and some petals. This is such a simple flower to make and you can toss it onto anything. Chain as many as you want. Work 2 DCs in each chain. Roll the work to form whatever shape you want. (This is a great way to work a ruffle, as well.)

I'm super happy with my new hat and plan to wear it often over the next few weeks as we work our way through the rest of winter. I'm so glad that I finally got around to figuring it all out! (BTW: The green is also Miss Babs Yowza and the pink is Dream in Color Classy.)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Crochet Block of the Month Club

My friend and fellow crocheter, Karla, introduced me to the Unique Sheep clubs. Shame on you, Karla! I signed up for a mystery scarf and a crochet block of the month club. The block club started this month and I received my yarn/pattern on Wednesday. It came at just the right time. That morning I told my hubby that I just hadn't wanted to knit or crochet for about 5 days. I didn't know how to snap out of it and get my mojo back. magic the package arrived and I wound it up and started it immediately!

Yarn: Unique Sheep Luxe - a lovely silk and wool blend
Hook: US C
Pattern: Private club pattern

Each month you receive a package with enough yarn to make two of the enclosed pattern blocks. This month had a pen, too. I loved making this one for several reasons. The middle cluster stitch was great fun. I kept thinking it would be cute at the top of a hat or all around the center of a market bag. Turning the circle into a square was a little bit of magic, as well. This is such a great way to get a blanket done and play with different stitches and yarn!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

When I was 16, I lost my Grandma Fields. She was such a loving women and I miss her every day. Today was her birthday and I plan to spend the day working on re-designing/re-vamping a crochet hat that she used to wear. I've had it tucked away for the last 17 years with the intent of some day trying to make one for myself. I'll let you know how the modernizing goes.

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Reading List for 2011

Patrick and I decided that we would develop a list of 100 books for both of us to read in the next year so that we can discuss them as we go. We took turns nominating books and tried to avoid ones that we had read already or seen the movie. We also agreed that I can listen to them on audio so that I can incorporate books with my knitting time. Some will be read in hard copy and some on our ereaders. I do have to note that when we talked about this, it didn't occur to us to do the math that it works out to 2 books a week. Yikes. So...this might end up being a two or three year goal. :) Here is our list. Thanks to our FB friends who also nominated a fair number of the books. Oh...we stayed mostly with mysteries.

  1. The Alienist by Caleb Carr (Gina’s read)
  2. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John LeCarre
  3. Moonlight Mile by Dennis LeHane (Gina has)
  4. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  5. The Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O’Toole (Hardcopy)
  6. Roseanna by Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall
  7. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (Gina has and has read)
  8. The Sherlockian by Graham Moore (Patrick has)
  9. Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon (Hardcopy)
  10. Our Man in Havana by Graham Green
  11. Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie
  12. The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesteron (Project Gutenberg)
  13. "A" Is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
  14. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (Project Gutenberg)
  15. Secret History by Donna Tartt (Hardcopy)
  16. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad (Project Gutenberg)
  17. Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver
  18. Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers
  19. Cathedral by Nelson DeMille
  20. Ratking by Michael Dibkin
  21. The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie (Gina has)
  22. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Patrick has)
  23. The Peril at End House by Agatha Christie (Gina has)
  24. Cover Her Face by P.D. James (Hardcopy)
  25. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell
  26. Don’t Look Back by Karin Fossum
  27. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Hardcopy)
 Please feel free to send me any nominations you have to round us up to the 100! Anybody want to join along? :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Some More Ella Knits

Over my break, I spent lots of time knitting and crocheting items for Ella. What fun I'm having knitting girlie things.

I added an optional ribbon to the pink Heaven yarn blanket so that Meg can have it in the eyelets when she wants and extra punch.

 Isn't this the cutest? The diaper cover and headband are adorable!
Yarn: White is Dream in Color Classy and the other three colors are Berroco Vintage
The pattern didn't really state what the weight of yarn was and Ravelry (Fancy Diaper and Headband) said fingering weight, but the picture on the pattern looked like worsted and the hook size was H, so I went with worsted and it worked great. 
Hook: J and H
Mods: I added the button as the center of the headband flower. I can't wait to make up my own headband flowers and patterns. I'm thinking the Flowers of Fall flowers would look super cute on some headbands!
I'm hoping that Meg will get a picture of her in this as a newborn all snuggled up.

Most of the other hats I make from here on out for Ella will be 3 months and beyond, but I wanted to make a second newborn sized hat for the first few weeks. This one was SUCH fun. 
Pattern: Cupcake Hat from Itty Bitty Nursery
Needles: I used a size 5
Yarn: Bottom yarn is Dream in Color Classy and the cherry is Berroco Vintage; I used Plymouth's Filatura Di Crosa Baby Pom Pom

I have a few more items on the needles and hooks for Ella that I hope to finish up in the next few days. Then, well then I get to cast on more items for her! And, oh yeah, items for the etsy store. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Knitter's Holiday and Break

So...I've been a little absent from the blog for the last few weeks. I took some time off from life and spent days with Patrick and the dogs, visiting with friends and family, and enjoying some me time. Now it is time to get back into it! I hope that all of you were able to take some time for yourself, too. I find something oddly comforting in taking all the decor down and getting back to the norm.

This Christmas we were at our house for Christmas Day so we got up to see what Santa delivered, went to see The King's Speech (wonderful), and had homemade thai chicken wraps (yummy). I was super surprised and excited when I saw the great gifts from PK. Such cool items. I didn't really ask for anything this year (well a laminator and a yarn scale - woohoo), but those were more business related. Check it out!

 Said yarn scale, some fun stitch markers, and EZ's PBS series and Glossary on DVD! I'm saving these for a snow day where I can sit in front of the TV with needles, yarn, and a notebook to learn all her fantastic ideas. I tasted some of the glossary on Christmas Day and learned some great tips already!

 I about fell off the sofa when I opened this original art print from Sheep Incognito. I LOVE the Bumble Baa. I can't believe I get to keep him. He is snuggled in the yarn studio surrounded by yarn.

 Aren't these cool? This etsy store (Hey Cary Ann) sells button rings. They take buttons and turn them into wearable jewelry. I thought it was such a cute idea. Some nice everyday rings.

I was super spoiled, but the most important gift was PK's company. Love that man! I had to spoil him with some gifts, too. He spent the day getting his new Air all set up. He was like a little kid. To go along with the computer he received a game and some scotch. :)

This was his year to find the pickle on the tree and get the extra special gift. 

Of course, no post about our holiday would be complete without the dogs. Each year they get a toy each and some treats. I might as well start putting both toys in Kennedy's stocking and the treats in Riley's. They don't share very well. This year, I gave Riley a toy that had multiple places to pull so that he could at least put up a fight with Kiki to keep it. So far, he has been more aggressive about making her play fair with both the rope toy and the pig (named Bacon by us and recognized as such when we say, "Go get Bacon").

The next post...back to knitting and crochet!