Thursday, October 28, 2010

Checking In

Well, October did prove to be a very busy month.  I thought many times of posting something but I was always pulled in other directions.  Becoming a Godmother, seeing good friends get married, and a wonderful camping trip with great friends made this a very spectacular month!  I'm looking forward to finishing off the year with more good stuff (and good knitting)!

I've started working on Christmas knitting, but got sidetracked by camping hat knitting this month.  One for myself, one for the hubby and one for my Godson.  Guess which one is my favorite...

I was very glad I made him this hat because our first morning in Palo Duro Canyon was the coldest and his little teeth were chattering!  This hat pattern is called  Tinker by Woolly Wormhead and it is part of her Twisted Woolly Toppers collection.  It was a lot of fun to knit!  There are a lot of other hats in the collection that I am looking forward to knitting.

It is also Socktober and I had planned on at least starting the new Mystery Sock pattern by Kristin Kapur.  I've got the yarn, but never got the chance to cast-on, but one of the Christmas knitting items I'm working on is socks for my hubby so I should have at least one sock completed in October!  Once I finish the other sock, I'll cast on the mystery socks.  

I must be developing a serious sock knitting addiction because Cookie A. just released her new book as a pdf file and I purchased it right away.  The actual book will be released in November.  So many great socks to knit and the photography is beautiful.  I love my Monkey socks, and next I want to make some knee high socks next!  I don't know when I'll get to knitting something from this book, but I vow to make several things from it in 2011.

Well, there are probably 20 other things I had planned on writing about, but there are many other things to do right now.  So I'll leave you with a lovely view for now.

Monday, October 4, 2010

October Fun

Well, October started off wonderfully and that shows no sign of stopping!  The month began with a most awesome weekend celebrating a special one year old's first birthday.  The occasion called for a special knitted gift.

This is one version of the Lovable Toys pattern from Last Minuted Knitted Gifts.  This book has been a great resource.  I didn't get a picture of my lovable little boy with his elephant, but I hear he loves to try and chew on his trunk!  We'll see how long the toy lasts. :)  I'll just make him another one because this was a pretty quick knit.  On top of that, I learned two new techniques while working on it.  This pattern is written to have the body knit in the round with two circular needles.  I was a bit leery of this technique from the git-go, but guess what...I loved it!  I was shocked but I will definitely be knitting in the round with this as my go-to technique.  The only downside I can think of is that I now need two sets of my interchangeable needles.  I figure I'll just add to my set as I need them.

The second addition to my knitting toolbox was the cable cast-on method which is used for the blue hankie that is tied around the elephant's neck.  I'm not quite as enamored with this new skill, but I was glad I figured it out.  I'm terrible with written instructions.  I have to see it and do it to learn it.  My go-to knitting instructor, Staci Perry, has been adding new videos to her website, but she has not gotten to this one yet.  I found a video, but it wasn't done very well and had no sound.  After doing the cast-on twice incorrectly, I almost gave up and started looking for some fabric to substitute for the elephant's handkerchief when it all of a sudden clicked.  I went back to my work and kicked it out pretty quickly once I figured it out.  I did like the results.

The weekend continued excellently and on Sunday my hubby and I became the Godparents to the same special little one year old!  It was indeed a spectacular weekend.

The month will continue to be super busy, but it is all good stuff.  Next weekend we travel to Dallas for a good friend's wedding and the weekend after that will be spent camping and hiking in Palo Duro Canyon with a group of great friends.  All this driving should leave me with a lot of time to knit some Christmas gifts, if my hubby agrees to do most of the driving.  But at this point, I've been knitting warm camping hats for our trip.  I let my hubby pick out his hat pattern and was excited that he selected a fair isle project.  I had just had a lesson on the technique so I was happy to try it out.  It is a simple pattern with only two colors so it was a good place to start.  I should have it completed tonight.  Then I start making a little one year old a warm hat since it will be a bit chilly at night.

Oh, and since I loved the knitting in the round with two circulars trick, I am about to knit two socks at a time using this method in celebration of Socktober fest.  I am already knitting some Christmas socks for my hubby this month, but couldn't resist the Mystery Sock by Kristin Kapur of Through the Loops fame.  I don't expect to actually complete the mystery sock this month, but I've got the yarn and two circular needles ready to go!

Busy, Busy, Busy, but Happy, Happy, Happy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Too Many Projects, Too Little Time!

Last week, One of the conferences I organized was held and quickly became the conference from HELL!  One of those times where all the things I could not control went completely wrong.  This made it hard to concentrate on the things I could control and made me super tired.  Luckily, on Thursday, I had my Sweater University meeting with all the knitting ladies and they definitely lifted my spirit.  We also found out that next meeting we will be taped for a brief appearance in one of her new videos!  We'll be stars!

We started work on Staci's Mad Men Mittens which gave me the opportunity to learn fair isle.  I can't believe that I thought it was complicated.  It is a very easy technique and I am looking forward to working more fair isle projects into my upcoming projects.

I've had a round of starteritis going on.  A lot of large projects that will take a while to finish!  What am I thinking when I have a few birthday presents and lots of Christmas presents that need to be done. But I am loving all the projects I've got going on. I've especially loving my Monkey socks by Cookie A.  The pattern is really easy, but looks great!  It has been a relatively quick sock to knit which is good because I have found it hard to work on any other projects..

This picture doesn't do the sock justice.  I'm about a quarter of the way through the second second sock syndrome here!  The yarn is Cascade Heritage Paint in Campfire.  I love the colors, but have no idea what I am going to wear them with.  I guess I'll be forced to go by a new outfit...darn.

Friday I started what should be a super fast pattern to knit up for a special someone's birthday.

No, it is not thumb warmers, but you'll have to wait to see what it turns into.  The yarn is Blue Sky Sport Weight Baby Alpaca.  It maybe the softest yarn I've ever knit with and I love it.  It makes me happy when I am knitting with it!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Felting with a Front Loader

I was introduced early on in my knitting "career" to felting at a French Market Bag class (ravelry link).  I've made a handful of them now.  At the time, I thought that the only way to felt was in a top loading washing machine.  We had recently bought a front loading washing machine because of their energy efficiency so whenever I needed to felt I had to run to the LYS and borrow their's.  This was good for the shop because I usually added to my stash while I was there, but it was inconvenient. (I'm also trying to be strong and not add to the stash unless it is to make a gift for someone.)

So I started looking around and did find some people who had success with felting in a front loader.  So I started experimenting.  If you are interesting in felting in your front loader please test that you are actually able to stop the washer in mid-cycle and open the door.  I understand that this can be a difficult or impossible process with some machines, but I have no problem with my Kenmore washer.  I just have to push the stop button twice and it unlocks.

After you have determined that your washer will unlock during the cycle, you will need to get your supplies together.  The supplies are very similar to felting in a regular washer...
  1. A lingerie bag to hold your item to be felted.  This will keep fuzzies from getting in the washer and mucking it up.  This is VERY IMPORTANT!!
  2. A few towels.  I usually use some from my rag pile.  I usually use three towels
  3. Here is where it gets a little weird...Tennis Balls.  I use 3 tennis balls when I am felting.  This provides some additional friction/agitation, which is necessary to felt an item.

Step 1:  Put your item to be felted into your lingerie bag.
Step 2:  Put the lingerie bag, 2 towels and 3 tennis balls into the washer.
Step 3:  Shut the door and set your washer to its hottest setting.  On my washer it is the "Whitest Whites" setting.
Step 4:  Once the washer has filled up and starts to agitate set your timer.  This is where it will take a little bit more experimenting.  I have found that it is best for my machine to I let it run for 10 minutes and then I check on it.  I usually have to continue for another 10 minutes, but it depends on the item you are felting.
Step 5:  Once you get the results you are looking for remove the item from the washer and dry it with one of the other towels or you can turn your washer to the spin cycle and let it get some more water out before drying with the towel.
Step 6:  Viola, you have a felted item!  Now you just have to block and wait for it to dry.

Blocking a pair of French Press Slippers for a special birthday girl.  They are complete and probably my favorite pair I've made so far.  I will be giving them to the birthday girl tonight so no finished pictures to share yet.

It is not much different from felting in the regular washer, but without the tennis balls the process takes a lot longer.

Good luck and happy felting!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A First!!

A friend of mine is having a birthday next week and I realized that I had not made her a present.  I've been making birthday presents like crazy lately and I knew she would feel left out if I didn't make something for her.  Then I remembered that I had actually started a project for her a long time ago, but set it aside.  It is my own little pattern, and my first. (this is not the project I had intended to be my first project, but I haven't had time to work on my silly lil' hat.)
Both myself and the Birthday Girl have a few Eddie Baur Water Bottle (of course I can't find any online now.).  They are great, but have one problem...They get condensation all over your desk or table.  The BG had suggested that I make something to fix that problem almost as soon as I had started knitting.  I have some 80s cotton yarn left over from my first project at the age of 16, which was never completed (a horrible 80s sweater).  So I cast on for this ages ago, but got excited about some other project and never finished it.  Well, now the fire was lit so I finished it up real quickly.

I don't know how many of you out there have this brand of bottle, but here are the simple directions:
CO 12 and divide on to 3 needles (4 sts each) join in the round.
Row 1 - K
Row 2 - *K2, M* around (18 sts)
Row 3 - K
Row 4 - *K3, M1* around (24 sts)
Row 5 - K
Row 6 - *K4, M1* around (30 sts)
Row 7 - K
Row 8 - *K5, M1* around (36 sts)
Row 9 - K
Row 10 - *K6, M1* around (42 sts)
Row 11 - K
Row 12 - *K7, M1* around (48 sts)
(This part of the pattern is exactly like Very Pink's Orb-It pattern - Ravelry pattern.  Thanks, Staci!!)
K 14 rounds
BO 4.  K 44
You are no longer working in the round, but will knit and purl back and forth in stockinette stitch for 4 rows.
BO.  Weave in both ends.
Since it doesn't seem like this bottle can be bought online anymore, there probably won't be too many people who need it, but it's my first pattern. :) And I wanted to show that you do not need much experience to make a pattern of your own or change another to meet a completely different need.
Also, more excitement in my knitting world,  I finished test knitting my Sugar Cane Skirt for the lovely and talented Miss Andrea Rangel.  She has not release the pattern yet, but I will let you know when she does.  It is a lot of fun to knit and it was my first skirt!  My husband is very fond of the results! :D

I'll talk more about this pattern once it is released.  I learned a lot and enjoyed every minute of it!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Yarn Cake!

What is a poor knitter to do when she has some lovely, squishy yarn that she needs to wind into a center pull ball without a yarn ball winder or swift?  She improvises!

Take one used toilet paper roll:

Cut a slit into one side and stick the end of your yarn through it:

Wrap your yarn around the toilet paper roll.  I sit in my comfy chaise with my knees up and put the skien of yarn around my knees in place of a swift..sorry no silly  pictures of that.

And, viola, you've got yourself a yarn cake.

It ain't pretty and it takes a bit longer than using a ball winder, but it does the job nicely!  No, I'm not the first person to figure this out, but I there are probably others out there that didn't know this little trick.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Changes, They are a Comin'!

I am mad at myself for only writing a post once a month the last few months.  There are many excuses, like a couple of sickly dogs and being generally busy at work, but I'm still not happy about it.  The dogs are all on the mend now.  The oldest had a back problem which lead to the discovery of a mass in her liver.  It can't really be operated on, but it isn't really causing her any problems except that her liver becomes infected at points.  Our middle doggie also had two masses, but these were causing problems and he had to be operated on.  A huge incision and mucho money later and he is well on his way to recovery.

I guess it is not as bad as it seems.  It doesn't seem to bother him too much.

I've got several projects going on that I am excited about.

1.  I am studying for my Certified Online Teacher Certificate.  I've taken the online classes, now I have to pass a test and develop and teach 2 online courses for the certifying association to critique.  This is for my position at UT, but I envision myself working on some outside interests with this new skill.  My mind keeps coming up with ideas to use this skill with my knitting obsession so hopefully I can make that happen soon.

2.  I am test knitting a wonderful skirt by Andrea Rangel I have been a fan of hers since I saw her Hex pattern in the Fall 2009 Knitty.  Truth be told, it was that pattern that finally made me get off my butt and learn to knit.  As soon as I finish this test knit for her, I will be casting on a Hex shawl in burnt orange!  It will be a fun knit while I am enjoying some longhorn football.

Here is a sneak peek of my test knitting

This skirt is a very fun, but a bit of a slow knit, especially for a slow knitter like me.  Since I am working on a deadline, I've had to put aside some of my other projects for a bit including my summer sweater university project and my own first pattern.  After I finish the skirt, I am going to concentrate on my first hat pattern because I already have a second pattern in mind!

3.  I don't know if it is a mid-life crisis or what, but I have been struggling with wanting to make some major changes in my life.  I couldn't figure out what it was I wanted to do differently, just that there needed to be a change.  It has been something that has been going on for awhile, but I have chosen to ignore it since I didn't for the life of me know what direction I wanted to go in.  After spending a lot of time contemplating what was going on with me, I think that I finally have it figured out.  I can't go into any details right now, but in the next few of months I hope to be able to announce a pretty major change in my life.  While this change isn't directly related to my knitting, I hope that eventually it will allow me to explore knitting in a more professional way too!!

I also hope to post more frequently on my blog than I have been.  If you have any topics you would like me to discuss on this blog please share your ideas!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'mmm Back!

There have been a few things going on that seemed to have sucked the creativity out of me.  Mostly in the writing department...thus the lack of posts this month.  But that does not mean that I haven't been actively knitting and/or learning more about knitting.

We started the Sweater University this month.  I only got to attend the first meeting because of a visit from some family, but I am excited to see everyone tomorrow at Very Pink Headquarters.  I have made great progress on my Que Sera sweater!  I should be past shaping the armholes today!  Very exciting.  I love this pattern by Kristin Kaper of Through the Loops fame.  I've also just seen her newest design which will be released around my birthday!!  I may have to knit the new pattern as a birthday present to myself.

I attended a great class with Franklin Habit on Lace Knitting and its history.  He is a great instructor and I learned a lot.  I wish I could have stayed to be a part of his second class that day on lace borders, but family obligations kept me from attending.  I look forward to him coming back to Austin!!

I've had to back step a bit on my featherweight cardi. :(  I had knitted the arms using dpns and it just wasn't working out for me.  I've ordered some 9" circulars and will be giving it another go as soon as they arrive.  I can't wait because I really am happy with the way the rest of the sweater was going.  I think I will be knitting another one of these...perhaps in yellow to go with a new skirt.

I finished one knitted birthday present and began another.  After that project is completed I must turn my attention toward Christmas knitting.  I know many ladies who will be getting some French Press Slippers this year and a couple of guys who will get a Dwarven Battle Bonnet for a good laugh (and some good photos).  I'd rather get everything done early so that I can relax and knit something for myself for Christmas.

Finally, I just cast on for my first knit design!  I am very excited.  It has been bouncing around in my head for awhile now.  It is a hat and I will hopefully have the design written out soon.  I'll then have to have some other knitters look it over and make suggestions.

So while my writing has been slow, the knitting creative juices are flowing!!  I'll turn more attention to my post now too.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Going Back to School

I am very excited that the Knitting Nest's Sweater University begins tonight.  We will be meeting in their new store for the first time.  Starting this course got me thinking about my history with knitting...

Everyone comes to knitting in his or her own way.  Mine included an almost 25 year hiatus before I became obsessed with knitting.  I was around 16 when I expressed an interest in knitting to my mother.  She was encouraging and signed me up for a beginning class in my hometown.  Although she doesn’t knit, she is a crafty woman and always tried to encourage that in me.  Immediately after finishing the beginning course, I decided to knit a sweater as my first project.  Then I picked out some cotton yarn that screamed 80s.

I started out the project and it went ok for a bit, but I suffered from a syndrome that I now know often plagues new knitters…super tight knitting.  That, on top of the fact that I was using cotton yarn, which does not have the nice springy action of wool, made my hands and head ache.  I remember throwing the sweater down in frustration with just the neck completed.  I don’t think I ever picked up needles again until the fall of 2009.  Surprisingly, my mother still had the yarn from 25 years ago!

Once I was reintroduced to knitting, how I wished I had stuck it out as a teenager!  I could just imagine how skilled I would be now, but when I was honest with myself, I realized that even if I had picked an easier first project or some more friendly yarn, I just didn’t have the stick-to-it-ness needed to complete any project as a teen.  My closet was full of different craft projects I had started and never finished.  I think I had a lot of growing up to do to before I would get over that problem.

Now that I have rediscovered my love of knitting, I want to do what I can to encourage other new knitters out there or those who just can’t finish a project to give it a try!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Creative Juices are Flowing!

I had a minor health issue recently.  It is all taken care of now, but I had to take a few days off work.  I couldn't do much, but I was able to sit and knit quite well, thank you!  I finished the Toddler Tunic I was working on for a soon to arrive baby girl.  As usual I bought way more yarn than I needed so I figured why not knit a couple of other pink baby girl things.  Soon I had some baby booties and a cute hat, all in a sweet light pink color.  Now I just have to wrap them and get them in the mail (which is always the hardest thing for me for some reason...probably due to my laziness).  Once they are received and opened by the special expectant mother, I will share some photos.

After completing that project, I wasn't sure what I should start next, but settled on a featherweight cardi (ravelry link) in Spinning Colors yarn.  I got a skein of Emerald lace yarn that is to die for!  This is my first green sweater and since green is my favorite color I am very happy.  I had never knit lace weight yarn before so I was a bit intimidated.  I am happy to say that it is going very well and much quicker than I expected.  This will be a sweater that I can use quite a bit even here in Texas.  It's light weight makes it perfect for wearing inside in the summer, when people seem to turn the AC to freezing in my office.

My new sweater addiction is happily being supported by my LYS, the Knitting Nest's Sweater University.  This group will meet every other week during the summer to work on a sweater of our choice.  I can't wait to graduate! :)

Also, I just found out today about a great e-course in early June to help me get the creative juices flowing!  To make it even better it is FREE!  I hope to get some good ideas to revamp my blog and start getting some more ideas for some knitting designs by moi.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy Knitterversary!

I became a knitter 6 months ago today.  I took the beginning knitting course at the Knitting Nest with Staci Perry and started my first project (ravelry link).  Looking back, I can't believe how much I've accomplished over these few months.

  • 17 projects of various sizes and skill levels completed.  Currently 5 WIPs.
  • I can't even count the number of classes I've taken.  Well, I probably could, but I'm too lazy to go back through my calendar.
  • I made my first sweater! (and developed a new addiction, I'm afraid!)
  • I can make socks.
  • I've learned if you make one French Market Bag, you will make many more.  All your friends and family will want one.
So this made me think about the future.  What do I want to explore in the next 6 months?

  • Designing - I have my first design in my head.  I just have to knit it and then write the pattern.  It is a very simple, silly something, but you have to start somewhere.
  • I'm signed up for a Beginning Lace class in June with Franklin Habit at the Knitting Nest.  This will be my first step into lace knitting.
  • I'm so excited about the Summer Sweater Club.  I'm signed up to make the Que Sera Sweater and I have the best yarn.
  • I suspect that both of these courses above will teach me to learn how to read a chart.  I haven't been able to wrap my head around that yet.
Whatever the future brings I am looking forward to it!  On top of this anniversary, I am celebrating being married to my hubby for 11 years!  It is a going to be a good weekend!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Catching Up

It has been a long time since my last post!  First, I had been waiting to finish my sweater, then I had a week-long conference to deal with.  Those conferences tend to suck the life out of me.  I did still find time to knit.

Anyway, my first sweater is complete, but lacking any buttons.  Tah-Dah...

I think some small silver buttons will look very nice!  Here is the obligatory headless sweater shot...

I'm very happy with the way it turned out.  It is very soft and I love the color.

I just finished by third French Market Bag for my MIL.  Now it is time to pull out the pink yarn for a new baby who will arrive in a few weeks.  I think a nice toddler tunic and baby booties will be just the ticket!

For myself, I think I am going to quickly knit up some French Press cute!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Needles on Fire or Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines!!

I've been keeping my wonderful Knitpicks Harmony needles so busy I actually wondered if I could use them to start a fire by rubbing them together so much.  Not that I am even close to a fast knitting speed...

I completed my newest French Market Bag (ravelry link).  It is a gift for my mom for Mothers' Day.  Luckily she does not read my blog so I can share a picture with you.

No sooner had I felted this bag then I cast on for a third bag for my mother-in-law for Mothers' Day.  I love the Cascade Yarn I selected for this bag.  I almost finished the bottom of the bag this weekend.  The color, peacock, is quite lovely.  You can't really tell from photographs, but it is a lovely blue with purple and green tones throughout.

I think it will look lovely when I'm finished.  I am mixing this yarn with some grey and possibly purple strips.  My mother-in-law is quite crafty, but does not knit.  I know she'll appreciate the work that went into it.

Although, I have to complete this bag on a deadline, I just can't stop working on my neckdown summer cardigan.  I love the yarn and the sweater is turning out nicely!

I am going to see how far I can get by this Saturday and then I'll go see Staci Perry, who has her free knitting help at the Knitting Nest.  After that it is back to my deadline knitting projects.  I promise.

Speaking of Staci, she just released a new pattern with videos on her blog.  Her Raglan Toddler Tunic is as cute as can be.  Check her blog out and while you are there take a look at the basenji pup that she is currently fostering.   I think she is looking for a good home for him (unless she has decided to keep him for herself). :) I am sure I will be using her videos to get me through my first baby tunic.  I am so happy to get to knit something in pink finally.  My friend's little girl is due in the middle of June so I still have time for this, but I hate having deadlines hanging over my head.  I'll be making a larger one for a little boy for his birthday in October too.

Finally, I wanted to mention the great knitting giveaway over at Never Not Knitting .  Tons of lovely, colorful yarn and a Color By Kristin book with lots of patterns to use that yarn on.  How cool is that!

Well enough of this blogging stuff, back to my knitting!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

I can't believe I haven't posted anything so far this month!  Time flies!  My real job has kept me jumping the last few weeks and the next few weeks will only bring more of the same.  That does not mean, however, that I have not had time to knit.

I took a class to make a neck down summer cardigan.  I love the yarn, Kathmandu Aran Queensland Collection (ravelry link)  in Petrol.  So soft and great to work with.  The pattern is really easy.  I got to the point where you split for the sleeves and then put it aside until the next class on Friday. 

Since then I have been working on my second French Market Bag.  I decided to make one for my mom for Mothers' Day.  I have made record time on this one.  I have one more handled to finish, many ends to weave in and then it will be ready to felt.  In plenty of time for Mothers' Day!  I mentioned that I was going to finish it in plenty of time for Mothers' Day to my wonderful hubby, who then said, "Maybe I could commission you to make one for my mom?"  Just when I thought I was getting caught up...  So I'll have to pick out some new colors for his mom and start working on it right away.

I can't believe I have been knitting for only 5 months now!  I'll be done with my first sweater before my 6 months anniversary. I'm signed up for another cardigan class this week and was very excited to hear about the Knitting Nest's idea for a Summer Sweater Team.  I've already picked out the sweater I want to make, Que Sera by Kristen Kapur of Through the Loops fame.  I picked out some wonderful yarn and just can't wait to get started.

I hope to have some pictures of my new projects up soon.  Every time I want to take pictures it is overcast outside.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring is in the Air!

I finished one of the last projects I had in my queue that was for someone else.  A pair of Fetching fingerless gloves (ravelry link) for a co-worker.  It will be the very last time I knit that pattern.  There are too many other neat fingerless glove patterns out there and I've created 3 of the Fetching gloves.  Thanks for helping me learn, it is now time to move on.

Since my queue was down to a manageable level again, I rolled up some fabulous hand spun yarn I received quite some time ago by Kitty Grrlz.  I decided to use both skeins to make a Chevron Scarf.  I've only got about 6 inches done, but I am very pleased with the results.  No pictures yet of my progress, but here are some not so good pictures of the yarn.

Besides knitting I'm enjoyed this wonderful spring weather.  Yippee for wildflowers!

This Tuesday I begin my first sweater, a neck down summer cardigan, and I've already selected my second sweater, the new Que Sera pattern featured in the Spring 2010 Knitty.  Can't wait to get started!

Enjoy the rest of this weekend and have a great week!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Holy Sock

I've made good progress on my first toe up sock.  The other day I finished heel of the sock and was ready for the final push for the finish line.  Then, to my horror, I found a hole in the sock about an inch before the heel.  What to do?  At first I continued knitting and I thought about going back and fixing it after I completed the sock, but the more I worked on the sock and thought about it, the more it bothered me.   RIP, rip...I carefully took out my needles and ripped back past the hole.  Then I carefully picked up those live stitches and voila, I am ready to get going again.

I'm not going to talk about how to rip back to a problem spot.  There are plenty of videos and instructions available on the web for that.  As a new knitter, I use to get a horrible feeling in my belly when I would drop a stitch or had some other problem that needed to be corrected, but I've noticed lately that I have confidently gone about solving these problems.  While I am not super excited about having to reknit those two or three inches of work, I glad that I have the confidence to try and fix problems in my work.

I am almost ready to start working on the heel one more time, and oh yes, here is a photo of my wonderful hubby with his new cigar glove!

Now I just have to finish the second glove!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Knitting Withdrawal

I left my knitting bag with all of my needles and two of my projects in my office on campus.  I cannot knit tonight (unless I were to run back up to work, which I'm not).  How will my idle hands survive?

Maybe a forced break will be good for me...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lots of Juggling

After spending all of my knitting time on one project for two weeks for the Ravelymics, I could use a break from large, time consuming projects.  I had been working on my toe up socks, but wanted to do something different this weekend.

When I took my first class at the Knitting Nest, I noticed all of these knitted balls around the store.  Some were stuffed to be a toy for dogs, but some were stuffed with lentil beans to be used for juggling.  Since I was just learning to knit, I didn't feel like I could make them, but after all of the other projects I've done I felt confident that I could make them now.

Aren't they cute!  These were made with some of the yarn I bought for my first knitting project 24 year ago!!  It is a cotton yarn which I didn't enjoy knitting too much, but I love the results.  After knitting with this stuff for awhile, I thought to myself, "No wonder you didn't finish that first project when you were 16."  I remember getting frustrated when I was knitting back then, but never realized it was the yarn, not the knitting.  If it hadn't been for this yarn, I would probably have 24 years' experience knitting now.  Oh well, no reason to dwell on the past.  Now, I've got to relearn my juggling skills.

I've also finished another Kitty Hat (ravelry link) for one of the crazy kat ladies in my life and have almost finished some gloves for my hubby.  I was surprised with how quickly the gloves knitted up once I spent a little time working on them.  Of course, our winter in Texas is pretty much over with so he won't be able to wear them until next winter, but they'll be waiting for him then.

I have another small project to work on after I finish the gloves.  Then it will be time to knit my first sweater.  I am looking forward to learning some more techniques!  I also have selected a scarf pattern for some special yarn I got a few months ago, but more information on that will come soon.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sock it to Me!

Just in case there are any budding sock designers out there, my wonderful knitting instructor, Staci Perry, is judging a sock design contest at the Exercise Before Knitting blog.

Blogger Elinor Brown has gotten some wonderful baskets together for the winners.  I wish I had the experience to design a sock...or anything for that matter.  The deadline for entering is April 19, 2010.

This year I'll just have to knit some of the winning designs and maybe next year I'll have some mad knitting design skills to share.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In Record Speed

So I've only been knitting for about 4 months now.  I have definitely gotten faster then the glacier pace I set on my first scarf, but I am still not a speed demon by any stretch of the imagination.  I've watched videos.  I've watched my knitting instructor's technique, but I just haven't been able to change the way I hold the needles and yarn so that I can increase my knitting efficiency.  I don't worry about it too much because I enjoy the way I knit.  It is comfortable.  Are there others out there that struggle with this?  I don't want to foster bad habits, but I think I will just have to live with my knitting style for now.

Speaking of speed, I finished my French Market Bag (Ravelry link) in record speed...for me.  It took me about 2 weeks of knitting to finish this large project and I am proud of that.  When I concentrate on one project I make great progress.  I altered the pattern and made it wider and taller with longer straps.  Here it is before I put it in the washer...

It is hard to get a perspective of the size of this thing, but it was huge.  After I felted it, it was the perfect size.

Meet my new project bag.  I am very pleased and now I am trying to pick out colors for the one I am going to make my mother as a Mother's Day present.  Shhh, it's a surprise.

Ok, I promise no more posts about this project.  I am on to the next one!

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Lack of Materials Leaves This Olympic Hopeful Out in the Cold

Well, I would have finished knitting my lovely French Market Bag this weekend.  Even with my huge work commitments over the last week, I was making great progress and could have finished it on Friday.  Unfortunately, I ran out of yarn with about 2 inches left on the last handle.  Booo, Hisss.

Oh well, since I worked about 80 hours this last week, I've taken today off so as soon as my LYS opens this afternoon I will be there to buy another skien of Cascade 220 in a lovely shade of evergreen.  I'll finish the bag at the Knitting Nest and use their washer to felt it.  I am very excited!  I will post some before and after photos soon.

Also, while I am there I hope to sign up for a couple more classes.  My knitting guru, Staci, mentioned that she was going to offer a sweater class that I should take.  I am looking forward to making my very first sweater!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

All Ruffles

For Valentine's Day Eric went and got a lovely chocolate cake and Chicago Style Hot Dogs for lunch.  We decided to keep dinner low-key and went to Vinny's Italian Grill for dinner.  This gave me a chance to wear a very cute skirt I bought at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, but hadn't had an occasion to wear it yet.  The skirt and corresponding top went very well with my newly completed Just Enough Ruffles Scarf (ravelry link).  You can't see the cute skirt in this photo, but my scarf looks lovely and it is very warm which was good because Valentine's Day was a bit chilly.

I didn't get my French Market Bag completed before my class yesterday, but I am getting close to the end of it now.  I've got about 17 more rows before I start on the handles.  It would be great if I could get it done before tomorrow afternoon so I could take it up to the Knitting Nest to use their washer for the felting process.  My washer is a front loader which apparently doesn't work well for felting.  Learn something new everyday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Going for the Gold!

Due to my involvement in the Ravalypmics, I've actually watched much more of the winter Olypmics than I ever had.  I am really enjoying it and the knitting is coming along well.  My French Market Bag is probably about 40% complete.  I am trying to complete it by this Friday.  It doesn't look like much now, but I think it will look very nice once it is complete and felted. is green!

My only problem is all of the other projects on my needles haven't been touched.  Oh well, I'll get to them at some point.

One project that I have not ignored is my first toe up sock.  I had a couple of missteps in the beginning, but after frogging once and tinking back another time, I have fixed those problems and I am now making good progress!  I will share some pictures it soon.  The yarn is gorgeous and I can't wait to wear them.  Yes, I now understand the sock obsession that many knitters talk about.  I am so proud that I can use those little teeny tiny needles.

Between the bag and the sock, I've learned some more techniques and continue to grow as a knitter.  I am not sure what I will attempt next, but I am looking forward to whatever comes next!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympic Knitting!

Well, the Olympic starts this weekend and I just recently heard about the Knitting Olympics or the Ravelympics.  What a great idea!  Knitters are so inventive.  Anyway, I've been searching for a project of my own to work on as a Ravelympics project.  Luckily for me the Knitting Nest has a class tonight on the French Market Bag (ravelry cute!!) that I have been wanting to learn and it is just in time for it to be my entry into the Ravelympics!  It is cool to think about all the knitters all over the world watching the Olympics and knitting away!

I got a lot of projects of my needles lately so it is time to add about 5 more on the needles.  I am working on a new pair of socks, Cigar gloves for the hubby, another test knitting of the kitty hat and gloves for a friend.   And of course now I'll have my new bag to work on.  I'm glad that most of these projects to not have a due date.  I've been particularly enthralled by my first toe up sock project.  The colors are to die for.

I hope to have some more pictures to share with you next week.  Enjoy the Olympics!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sock Attack!

I just got another project off the needles!  The second sock from my first sock attempt is complete.  This is a great sock for newbies (Ravelry link) to learn the basics of sock knitting.  Staci Perry, knitwear designer and knitting instructor for the Knitting Nest in Austin, has a great pattern for learning the basics and the pattern includes some very well done videos of each step.

Here is one of my lovely socks:

I love the color!  The yarn is Cascade Yarns 220 Quatro Moondance.  I still have have half a skein left so I might have to make some gloves to go with these.  These socks are great for wearing around the house with slippers.

I start my first real sock this weekend.  This time from the toe up!!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Kitty Kat Knitting

I have, happily, been a very productive, new knitter lately.  Last night I completed my first gig as a test knitter.  For those who are new to knitting, when a designer has a new pattern or has made significant changes to a pattern, they will often get a few people to test the pattern for them to give them some suggestions to improve the pattern or make it clearer.  I was drawn to the idea of this as soon as I heard about it and I joined a group called "Free Pattern Testers" on  Not only do you get the pattern for free, but you get a little insight into the designing process.

Here is my Kitty Hat  by designer  Adrienne Enriquez. (ravelry links) I used Cascade 220 Camel for the body and scrap yarn for the face and ears.

This hat has already created a quite a stir amongst the crazy cat ladies in my life!  I will be making at least two more of these.  

If you a beginning knitter or just have never done any test knitting, I highly suggest giving it a try.  It is a good way to meet other knitters and expand your knitting skills.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Finally, a Sunny Day

It has been cold and gray in Texas for longer than most of us like.  This had kept me from taking pictures of my latest (and largest) finished project.  This Saturday stayed cold, but was at least it was sunny so I could take a couple of photos.  May I present to you...

my Clapotis (ravelry link).  The color is more spectacular than I could have imagined

You would never know a new knitter made it and this pattern looks much more complicated than it really is.  I encourage those of you who are also new knitters to give this a try.  I think you will be happy you did!  I will definitely make another one in something lighter that I can wear in Texas more often.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Knitting Frustration

Luckily, in my long knitting career (2.5 months)[insert sarcasm] I haven't gotten frustrated too many times, but it has happened.  I especially felt the frustration build as I started my first Clapotis.  Before I understood how the pattern worked, I kept getting confused or I would start feeling overly confident, would not pay close enough attention and would mess up.  Finally, after I got to a certain point it all started coming naturally.

I started to feel this way last night with the first hat I am working on.  Something that should be easy, just wasn't working out.  So, what do I do when that feeling starts to creep in?  Put that project down and walk away for awhile.  After playing around with the hat a couple of times, I put it back in my WIP storage bin and started the second sock of my first pair.  This put me back in a fine mood!

I think I will go visit my knitting instructor, Staci Perry, at the Knitting Nest.  She is nice enough to offer free knitting help once a month!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Clap on; Clap off

I finally finished my Clapotis! (Ravelry link) I think it turned out great!  It is definitely not perfect, but it doesn't bother me.  I will post some pictures soon.  I am just waiting for it to be sunny for just the right light!

I learned so much while working on this pattern and definitely got more confident in my knitting.  This is my first "BIG" project so I am pretty proud.  As my knitting mentor, Staci Perry, said, I am an "adventurous" knitter and so the name of this blog was born!

I started the Clapotis on November 29, 2009 and completed it on January 24, 2010.  Of course, I was interrupted by a few other small projects along the way which took me away from my shawl.  Including 3 finished projects, 2 pair of Fetching Fingerless Gloves and one Rat Race Scarf.  Also, during that time I finished one sock (the other one will be finished in a week or so).  So the time spent on the shawl wasn't too bad, but I am still a slow knitter.   I am working on that.

If anyone would like to add me to their friends on Ravelry, I am Fabfemme.  I am a big fan of Ravelry.  It has really been a great resource to this new knitter.  I am going to try to make this blog another resource for knitters, new and old alike!