Sunday, December 9, 2012

No New Posts

There have been no new posts in quite a while... did you notice? LOL I did.
#1 reason... busy! #2 reason... CHEAP! Blogger wants me to change to a new web album system that requires payment on my part for storing my pictures on the blog. Boo. I thought about it; am still thinking about it and I'm not sure it's worth it for me. Oh believe me! I know I have loads to say.... just not sure that putting no pictures along with all those words is going to work for me.
I think that I will be changing to a new blog format and host, but......... for now........
No news is well, no news ! Happy Holidays Everyone!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crossing Things off my List!

I'm making a list, checking it twice..... yeah.. you can sing that~! I totally did!
My Christmas list is growing and I'm finally starting to check things off!
It seems that  I spend an awful lot of time [on Pinterest or Ravelry] just looking at things and thinking about how I could make this or that, and then even more time thinking about who I could make it for.
Doesn't seem like a whole lot of time actually goes into the knitting... sigh... and even less time seems to go toward actually finishing things. Bigger sigh...
I like the process of knitting. I really do. I'm not so much into the finishing up... I hate sewing in those ends! I really do like the process. The complete process but mostly just the beginning... oh! And the middle. The actual knitting! I like the buying of the yarn (yeah.. I admit it!), the rhythm of the needles through the yarn and reading a pattern, but... somehow I'm so sad when it's all done! You would think that would be the best reward; the ending of one totally means I get to do it all over again... but it's not the same.
Oh well...... BECAUSE I spent so much time on Ravelry Friday morning I found this adorable knit hat with a brim!! I was looking for something to make for DIL (daughter-in-law) and I fell in love with this hat!
I started this on Friday afternoon and WA-LA! I just finished it this morning! All I had to do was sew the buttons on and attach the band across the front!  It really should have been finished yesterday morning, but I was too lazy to go upstairs and get a needle that would fit through the holes on the button! ~Really I think I was just not wanting to finish it... that whole process thingy again....
Isn't it cute?? I'm not a hat wearer but I think even I might like one of these! It's a pattern I found on Ravelry called 'Capitan' by Rosi G. *click on the highlighted text there to go directly to the link*  It's a free pattern and it's a nice easy, rhythmic knit.  Like I said, I started Friday afternoon and was finished by Saturday morning. I just goofed off rather than totally putting it together so this probably took less than 6 hours to make.  The pattern calls for a really dreamy (read $$) soft, bulky yarn but I chose to use a washable yarn (cheaper) that I found on sale!! The bulky yarn and using a size 10, 16 inch circular needle meant it knitted up mega fast!
 DIL's favorite color is pink in any shade so I think I managed to cross something off my list and put it in the total win WIN column!!  Now I'm off to make another, this time in purple for GIL (12 year old granddaughter-in-law)! I'll time the next one from start to finish and let you know how long it takes!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hunkerin' Down

How to prepare for a 'Frankenstorm'? Why,  head off to a yarn store of course!! Definitely the best way to um... 'prepare' for a big storm! We could be without power for days! Weeks even. Must. Have. Supplies!
Kiddo prepared every water bottle, pan, and container with a lid that we owned with clean water. We had enough food, water and ice to make it through at least a week!  Our counter tops looked like we were preparing for a hurricane or something! We even bought snacks! Junk food!! Chips & dip; that sort of stuff! Hey! Don't judge. Big left the day of preparation for parts unknown yet again... Boy & I needed to have something to do right?! We had library books, games, schoolwork and all sorts of stuff to do, but junk food seemed right!! As did the trip to the yarn store!!
Two friends and I bundled up and headed out into the impending storm....... whatever. It was just starting to rain and the wind hadn't even started to blow. That just sounded so much cooler than what we actually did.... we ditched the kids and took off to spend some time in our favorite LYS!  (local yarn store!) We then went to the busy, crazy grocery store too.... so we weren't entirely selfish. Geez.
Don't worry Big... cuz' I know you're reading this... I only bought 2 maybe 3 things.... AND it was stuff I needed!! Totally!! Just ask the girls who went with me!!
I got some black Cascade 220 Superwash which is my favorite and I needed it. Needed it. Really. I couldn't make Boyo a green & black striped hat without it! Cool thing about it is, other than it's yummy self... is that I can make 2 hats out of this stuff! Big scores another hat!!
AND I get to keep my fingers busy on a not so challenging, but very distracting project~ which is exactly the type of stuff to work on when you are stuck at home, in a Frankenstorm, with a bored kid.
This is what I did to hunker down during the storm
(and to maintain some sort of sanity....)

 Cascade 220 Superwash in black & bright green! The colors kiddo picked! This is boy's version and I'm finishing up Big's version. Same colors, just a bit bigger!!

I used size 9, 16 inch circular (pattern called for 10.5's)
Cast on 80 stitches. Join in round. Mark the beginning of round.
Knit 2, Purl 2 all the way around. x2 rounds.
Change color and knit 2, purl 2 ~ continue in pattern for two more rows. **** Do one round as normal... on 2nd round of contrast color.....slip first stitch as if to purl !! It will elongate the stitch on that first row which joins them up every so nicely! 
Next row...  change back to main color and do two more rounds *first round as normal, 2nd round slip that first stitch as if to purl!
Continue in 2x2 rib pattern until hat measures 6 inches from cast on edge.
Next round.... continue in pattern! Place marker every 16th stitch.
Next round... pattern up to 2 stitches before marker... knit those two together (doesn't matter if they are purl stitches). Repeat all the way around... knitting 2 together before each marker. (5sts decreased)
Do one row even (continue in pattern)
Alternate those last two rounds x3 (60 sts)
Next knit 2 together before markers every row x4 rows (40sts)
Now knit 2 together EVERY stitch x2 rows  (10sts)
Break yarn and sew it through all stitches left!
Weave in ends and plunk on your kid's head!!

IF we had gotten the worst of what the storm center had predicted; I would probably still be knitting more hats!~ Lucky for us the weather wasn't as bad as what was called for!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Big and the Necessary Evils

Big (the hubs) thinks I have way too much stuff.  *HE not me!  Feels that there might be a little bit of a problem happening over here in Cupcake land.....
It's not my fault. It really isn't. It's certainly not my fault that there are places like Pinterest, Etsy and (oh no!) Ravelry. Someone took the time to create the wonderful hand knit, handmade, yummy things on those sites AND post their obviously it must be some sort of an obligation on my part to make some of them! Right?! Can I get a 'heck yeah'!!?? Yeah! Oh yeah... A necessary evil to help out the world of creative people and get my own creative juices flowing at the same time!  I don't see a problem and I certainly don't see where it is my fault that the creative world requires a certain amount of 'stuff'! 
Another thing that makes the amount of this creative stuff seem a bit too much..... knitting needle (notions too) manufacturer's and pattern creators must work in cahoots!  I mean c'mon! How come every stinkin' time I go to make something I end up having to go buy more yarn (snicker) and usually a new needle or two? Seriously.  IF my favorite designer(s) would just work within the confines of my needle/yarn/stuff stash it would be all good.... sigh...
See what I mean? It totally isn't my fault that I have so much stuff. It really isn't. I mean really. I've made stuff for just about everyone in my family and they love it! So.. the necessary hardship of buying another needle set, circular, straight, cable... whatever... is totally justified. Totally. 
More yarn? Ha! That's a given. Pattern calls for certain kind of yarn = another trip over to the yarn store. Duh! Not my fault that another skein of something yummy spoke to me from the shelf....
yeah, yeah... you've heard them too so don't act like I'm all schizo or somethin'.....
Wanting to make something for someone means you gotta buy stuff. Have to. It's necessary. Totally. Must lay out certain amount of cash and then the time to do it.  So... since I'm already at the store.. what's a little extra yarn or a notion or two in the scheme of things? He he he....
My stuff really isn't a problem until Big sees it and then starts snooping around looking around and realizes that hey! She's got more stuff. Keep your hands off of my stuff Big & nobody gets hurt!
The only time it honestly gets to be a problem is when stuff starts to pile up.... which is why I organize!! It's all neat & tidy at my house. Okay.. usually it's neat & tidy.
That means storage!  All right... for the hubs... hiding it! Another necessary evil... make sure the hubs doesn't see it all at once. Might be overwhelming for him and he would then have a problem. Or I would...
I've come up with some pretty creative ways to store my stuff and yep! A lot of it is right out in the open! I have a lovely bowl with some lovely (read expensive) yarn in it. I had to have it ~admittedly an impulse buy and I totally don't want it to sit in the drawer all lonely & forgotten.  It's necessary (See? There is that word again) for it to be out on 'display'! Which just means that my house has a certain ambiance if you will. Cozy. Yarn is cozy & that's the designer look I'm going for.
I've cleaned up and cleaned out. Really. Don't laugh. I have. I've gone through some of the stuff that has been given to me and passed it on to some new crocheters & knitters. I've also sold some and even done the obvious... just didn't buy any. That hurts let me tell ya'.
This whole yarn/knitting thing has created a vicious cycle... to make more you must buy more. To buy more you must have a wonderful hubby like mine who loves you enough to turn a blind eye to the stuff poking out of drawers and cupboards!  I just need to make sure that he gets into the habit of checking the couch for yarn and/or needles prior to sitting......
 Even Big knows that more yarn and more yarn related things are a necessary evil for the warm hats, scarves and sweaters he wears!  Like I said Big... stay out of my stuff ..... and do not open any drawers, cupboards, closets without prior approval!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Should've Started in July....

It's almost Halloween but I'm already thinking about Christmas and it's not because the stores have Christmas displays... which really stinks, but it's because I've decided to make stuff for my family rather than buying gifts.  Most of my family doesn't really need anything anyway and will totally love (THEY BETTER) a handmade hat, scarf, warm thing from me. I hope.
The list isn't really that long.  There are only eight  of them, but I really need to get a move on if I'm going to get it done.  AND then... what about Aunt G, my brother and his two guys, and, and, and.... oh my. Let's start by making a list and checking it twice before we go much further here.
I've started a sweater for Boy Wonder (way back in June and I haven't done anything with that in a while.  Okay, put that into the pile on top of the knitting basket.....

I've finished the Little's Bat Hat *shown here on my lovely model Boy Wonder! and will be painting up a cozy coupe to resemble a batmobile for him too! He's a lucky grandbaby for sure!
I want to make his big sisters fingerless mitts & neck warmers and I'm sure glad there is only two on that list!
 I know the colors I want to use and have the yarn so let's put that into the pile too!
Now that brings us to DIL (daughter in law).... I'm thinking a floppy, slouchy hat but have no idea what color to do it in. Just going to have to ask her I guess!
Boy's Big Brother #1,  not sure I'm going to make him anything; he's pretty fussy... but... how about a Bathat too!  More yarn into the pile!
Boy's Big Brother #2  will be getting some sort of hat and neck warmer for hunting camp. Just need to decide if it's going to be camouflage or bright orange.
Now that leaves me with PPU, MPU (Papa & Mama Parental Unit) and Big himself. Sigh....
I have no idea what to make for PPU. I've already made him a cool hat and a neckwarmer last Christmas and I know he wears it, but.....
See... he looks like some sort of bank robber! He looks funny so I know for sure he wears it. He's kind of like that!
MPU is getting this lovely, LOVERLY cowl/neckwarmer made out of Shalimar Breathless and I think it will look fabulous when she's out for a spring ride on her Harley!
Big.... he's another story. He likes everything I make him, but he's usually the guinea pig so he's got one of everything..... although there is that sweater lurking in the bottom of my knitting basket. *I started it a year ago, messed it up, tore it out, started over and well... let's just say... there it sits...
Yikes! There is only 63 day...... until Christmas.
Good Grief! I better get my knit on!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The BatHat!!

It's complete! Well.... almost... I have to weave in my ends and figure out how to make the ears really pointy and stay pointy!  AND the best part is... no pattern! No directions! I had an idea and a basic concept from someone else... but I totally ran with it!! The second best part is... I like the results!!
Now that doesn't happen very often; me running with an idea and making it work AND actually liking the results when I'm done. Wow huh?

 Remember where I started? A bat hat pattern I found online. It wasn't knit in the round so it had to be seamed up the side.... which makes it super duper not stretchy and in this instance would only fit someone with a head shaped like Bart Simpson. Bummer.
The Little I wanted to make it for definitely has a round head...
So... totally stepping out of my comfort zone, aka boring box... I figured I could make one up on my own. I hate seaming so it had to be done in the round and had to have the pointy ears. That's the only requirements I had.. oh! It had to have an eye mask look to it too!
Using a #7, 16 inch circular needle, I cast on 100 sts (based on a hat for my 9 year old) and then knit in the round for 6 rows. *could be 4, 5, or 6 whatever you like*. On the round I wanted to add the eye mask part *this part I wish I had done a bit different* I knitted over 25 stitches and then bound off 8, knit 5, bound off another 8 and then knitted around to the other side. On the next row I just knit over to the bound off stitches and then cast on 8 more (onto the right needle with a backward loop), knit the next 5 stitches and then cast on another 8. Then all you do is knit, knit, knit all the way around and up until you get it to where you want it. In this case it is about 7 3/4 inches. I think I would go to 8inches next time only because that would be an even number.   When you get to the end... don't decrease!! Flip the whole thing inside out and just do a 3 needle bind off. This way you end up with a tube shape. I haven't done anything to the ears yet, and I have to sort of tuck them to make them stand up.  When I weave in my ends I'm going to run a little stitch line along the bottom of them so they stand up more.
Cute huh?
I like it when Boyo wakes up in a good enough mood to be a model!
oh... the part I would do differently...
The 'face'. It's a little bit off center because I counted over 25 from the beginning and did the bind off, knit 5, bind off. I should have went to the middle of the side (1/4 way around) and then divided the stitches up to make sure I was centered on that one side. Oh well... next time!!
So that's it! Schi-Schu Knits OUT of the box!!
The BatHat Pattern
Washable, Worsted Weight Yarn *I don't know how much, but it wasn't a lot*
Size 7, 16 inch circular needle
4 stitch markers *one different than the rest for marking beginning of round.
Cast on 100 stitches *fits 9 year old
Use a marker to mark the beginning of round and then place one every 25 stitches
Knit in the round x6 rows.
On 7th row... knit over 15 stitches.... bind off 8, knit next 5, bind off 8 more. **Your stitches on this row should be relatively centered around the stitch marker placed between the beginning and middle of round!!  Knit to end of round.
8th row... knit over to bound off stitches, cast on 8 (onto R needle with backward loop) knit the next 5 sts, cast on 8 more (onto R needle with backward loop) You can now take off all the stitch markers except your beginning of round marker!
Continue knitting (in round) until you have 8 inches of hat from cast on edge *bottom edge*.
Flip the whole thing inside out while it's still on the needle and use a size 7 dpn to do a 3 needle bind off.
Flip it back out, weave in your ends and tuck your ears in to make them pointy!
Place on smiling kid and pretend he is BatBoy!!
oh.... wouldn't this be cute in red and maybe some pointier ears?? Hmmmmm

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Throwing Caution to the Wind....

I'm not usually a 'make-it-up' as I go kind of knitter. Ha! I'm not really a 'make-it-up' as I go kinda girl period. I'm a total rule follower, direction follower and always a pattern follower... yeah. I'm a bit boring. A bit? Probably a lot!
Well... throwing all caution to the wind...
I'm knitting without a pattern!! Knitting without a net! I'm winging it!!  Wow huh?
Can you hear the angst? The jittery nerves? Yeah. Me too. Totally not something I normally do, but I'm doing it.
 ONLY because *you knew there was a disclaimer* I hated the pattern I had for the thing I'm making. H A T E D it. It was stupid with a capital S!
Okay, okay.. what the heck am I talking about. I started off going on a tangent about throwing caution to the wind, rapidly moved to hating a pattern....
 My oldest kid (Big Thing One aka BTO) now has a Little! Yes. I'm a grandma! Which totally means that I get to make stuff for the Little!! Yay! BTO & his Little live in Northern Michigan where it gets a little chilly in the winter. Which then means... logical conclusion here... hats! Hats are necessary to get little heads through a long cold winter! AND a hat is really easy to make and can be personalized in so many marvelous ways! Right?!  See where I'm going now? I hated the hat pattern I had, but wanted to make the hat. Little needs a hat. Can you say obtuse? Yeah...
BTO has always been fascinated by superheros and especially Batman so why not make Little a Batman-esque hat for Christmas?  I found a pattern online, more of a guideline rather and figured I could whip it up in no time! You basically cast on 31 stitches and knit in stockinette (that's knit a row, purl a row with flat stuff) for 4 rows. On row 5 (right side) you knit 8, cast off 6, knit 3, cast off another 6 and then knit the remaining. Now just knit in stockinette for 40cm. Once you're done you have a scarf-like thing with two holes that are supposed to look like eye slits (think Batman mask here okay?). Now sew up the side seams and WA-la. A Batman-esque hat.
Um... not so much. #1 problem... I hate sewing up side seams. It's dumb. Mostly because I don't do it very well, but in this case I made the hat in black. Black is hard to see. Problem #2, once said side seam was sewn up it left no 'give' for the hat to stretch around Little's head. Problem #3, I can't measure Little's head to get it just right... he's in Northern Michigan. Sigh. Dumb *$*#*&# pattern anyway.  Problem #4... nowhere online could I find a pattern that would work. Problem #5 I don't think outside the box with this stuff very often (sigh.. ever). Insert light bulb blinking brightly in my head! Why not make up my own pattern! A Batman hat would be oh so cute on Little! BTO would love it - even if it was knitted by me!! Off we go.... into the realm of making stuff up.  Eeeek!

This is the first attempt... not so bad, but I think I can do better... AND do it in the round so no seaming AND it will stretch a bit to fit Little's head.
This is my version!! Using #7's, 16-inch circulars (No seaming!!) and worsted weight black yarn (this is Wool-Ease) I cast on 100 stitches. Should fit my 9 year old okay so it will definitely fit a cute Little! Too big probably...
Another cool thing about knitting in the round means... no purling!! No seaming AND no purling! Winning!!
After casting on now, knit 4 or 5 rows, on 5th row (or 6th) just pick a spot where you want the eye mask part to be... I knit over from beginning of round to about the 25th stitch.. then I bound off 8 stitches (I wanted bigger eye slits), knit 5, bound off 8 more and then knit to the end. On next row I knit to the bound off stitches, cast on (onto right needle with backward loop) 8 stitches, knit the next 5, cast on 8 more and then knit to the end.
Now I'm just knitting around and around until I get about 40cm (I think) and then I am going to put all the live stitches onto straight needles and then probably do a 3 needle bind off.  The little ears may have to be tacked into place, but it should work. Keep your fingers crossed!
I don't have a completed pattern yet... it's a work in progress and I'm really going to geuss-timate how long it needs to be by measuring it on Boy's head and maybe the next door two year old! THEN I will post my final pattern and how to finish it all up!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

How to Fix Your Knitting

What do you get get when you add one busy puppy, one long circular needle, an impatient mom, a home schooled (read bored 9 year old) and 2 balls of yarn. Sigh.  Sometimes not the socks you were trying to get but totally what I got a couple of days ago.....Yarn vomit.   One seriously twisted up pile of yarn, needles, stitch markers and patience.  It was definitely enough of a mess that I tossed it off my lap and onto the floor. Ugh.
How to fix it?  Walk away.  Put the needles down and walk away.
~ Like I've said before, sometimes the best fix for a knitting issue is to just walk away. Stay away & take a breather usually helps too! I managed to ignore it for two whole days, but finally I just couldn't stand it! I wanted to knit! I wanted to finish the socks! *yeah... me finish something? Ha! That's how bad the explosion/vomit was! It was so bad that it took two days for me to even want to touch it again. It was way too twisted for my impatient brain and there was no way my brain would allow my fingers to coax into any sort of useable mess.  Dang. I thought it was all over. One twisted up pile of crap to throw in the trash. Hey! Wait a minute... I bought that crap! I paid money for that! AND the best part of it was that I felt compelled to finish the socks!! All right... truth here... Big's birthday is Saturday and I haven't gotten him anything yet. I should finish these socks and wrap them up for him! Smart huh? So... I finally picked it up this morning hoping that the yarn would comply. Crossing my fingers that the kid and the dog would leave me alone.I'm on a deadline here.   Hm mm? Yeah. Let's just say that if I hadn't remembered another very important thing to have for knitting, this whole mess I made might truly have gone into the trash bin.
I can't believe I didn't utilize the best knitting tool EVER! It's actually the best tool in the knitting toolbox and although it's often one I frequently forget........ other than my patience, it's a real easy fix for just about any knitting or yarn emergency!!  Time to utilize the 'Phone a Friend tool'!! Talk about a lifeline!!
How come I don't use this tool more often? Especially when I have a bunch of friends I can call that are so close? Beats me. I'm a much happier person when I have someone to share yarn with, but maybe it's that whole thing... I wanna do it myself? I don't know, but friends make life so much better! Even if only it is to talk you through a knitting emergency over the phone! Thanks Aunt G!!
The only cure for my serious sock/yarn/vomit/mess was to call up my friend Miss Muno (names are always changed to protect the guilty innocent) and her cute children! Oh wait? How can cute children help with a yarn explosion? Why they can entertain the bored child and the busy puppy!! Whoop!!  After settling down on the couch with children and dog entertained, Miss M proceeded to knock out my mess.... .... in about five short minutes. Really. Guess I should have added some more patience? Nah.. it was way better just hanging out with my friend option!!
Thanks Miss M for saving my sanity and rescuing me from a pool of yarn vomit!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Gotta Have Its

The other day someone asked me.... "what exactly do I need to start knitting?"
I of course laughed and told her, "oh.. about a million dollars!" Really I did. If I took the time and really thought about *which I don't really want too...* I have probably spent close to that already and really I'm still a beginner. I did think about it a little bit though... see the smoke? Yeah...
What do you need to start knitting? What are the true 'gotta haves'? Just the basics of course.  There's lots of extras that I think I gotta have, but really the basic things to start are pretty few!
Where should we start?
How about at the beginning...... WHY do you want to knit? Are you knitting for a reason? For a gift or to make something specific? Are you doing it because it looks like fun and you really want to try? Uh oh... we're getting into grey areas here! Because... if you think it looks like fun and you just want to try..... that means an entirely different set of 'gotta haves'! IF you have a specific purpose in mind, say for example, a baby blanket for your new baby, that changes things. Much easier to pick out those 'gotta haves'.
Let's start there.... we want to make something specific. Let's say a scarf for Grandma for Christmas. Easy peasy. First thing that you gotta have has been accomplished. A desire. A reason. A purpose! Now....
 Sigh....... this is where the whole process for me goes wrong. Seriously wrong. AND it's where the million dollars come in! Don't worry! This is also the very best part of knitting... oh wait... that's supposed to be the part where you give the gift you made and the recipient loves you forever.... yeah... I'm goin' with the yarn!
Go to the yarn store (or craft store) and look at the yarn. There's a lot there isn't there. Start by picking your favorite color (or Grandma's ~to score points!) and then start feeling those yummy little things skeins right up! Found one in a color and texture you like? Yay!! Pick it up and read the label (that will be another post!) Find where it says 'gauge'... see it? It should say something like so many stitches per inch, using.. #something. Needles! If your yarn label shows #9 , head over to the knitting needles and look at all those needles hanging there.  Uh oh... more choices!
I probably should have prefaced this list of things you need with a more specific requirement for the whole process.... someone to teach you the ropes!! Enlist the help of your knitter friends, or in my case, my favorite Aunt G!
As you're standing there looking at all the needles and gadgets & gizmo's... you're probably a little overwhelmed right? Yeah. Me too.
I've only been knitting for about 5 years now and although I probably have (probably?) most yarn gadgets available, the following picture shows you those that I use the most AND those that I really think are the most important.... after the yarn of course!
From the left... stitch markers. Different shapes & sizes. As you expand your knitting you'll see why you need different types. For now. Either the locking or just the little circular kind will do.  Needles... These are dpn's (double pointed needles) and the funky thing with a cable is a circular needle. I used to think you had to have those long pointy sticks that clicked and clacked, but.. now I usually go with either of these type. A measuring tape! Gotta have! It's a must! If your pattern says, knit for x amount of stitches; how you gonna know when you get there? Scissors. Yep. Also a must. Sometimes even my superhero strength can't break yarn.   Stitch holders. Once again it's a necessary thing when you've moved beyond the basics. A crochet hook. A what? Crochet hook. Really. It's how I pick up dropped stitches & fix stuff! Laugh if you want to, but I can't knit without it!  Last but not least, the bottom left corner is my favorite kind of darning needle. It's for sewing in those loose ends and finishing everything up! Definitely you'll want one of those!
I think that's it for the basics. My 'gotta have its'. Then of course comes the extras.... the bag(s) to put it all in. A project bag(s) for each project. Fancy schmancy needles and a case for each type. Special scissors. Fancy and sometimes adorable stitch markers. The list goes on and on (and on...)
Oh! I forgot another very important thing to your 'gotta haves' for knitting....
Check out your local facebook pages for a knitting group near you! You can also ask around at coffee shops and the library! Or better yet... ask the people in your favorite yarn store!

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Socks!!

So Big finally..FINALLY.. got a new pair of socks! Why he couldn't just go to the store is beyond me, but he finally got a brand new pair of hand knitted, handmade by ME socks!
When I was home last month I spent quite a bit of time with my favorite Aunt G who has been trying to teach me to make two socks at one time using one needle (maybe we should just say that as one word?) twosocksatonetimeusingoneneedle. Hmm... doesn't sound any better if you say it as all one word does it? Yep. It's weird. Sounds weird and is weird, but... the coolest thing ever happens when you finish one sock!! YOU FINISH THE SECOND ONE AT THE SAME TIME!! ~yes! I was shouting!
That's one of the things I hate about making socks. The second sock!! So what the heck! Might as well give it a try!
It's great! The hardest part is getting started, but once G got me going everything went great! Now all I have to do is pry them off Big's feet, weave in the ends and block!
The color isn't overly manly, but it was free!  Aunt G was determined I was going to learn how to do this when I was home last month! She gave me the yarn and loaned me her needles so I wouldn't have any excuses!  Anyway I don't think the color combo is too un-manly... the guy won't take them off... he loves them!

Here's a link to a video on youtube... so you can see what the heck I'm talking about! *I didn't do the cast on way the same but now I can't remember how I did it at all............. going to have to go home I think!

Friday, August 10, 2012

It's Really Not a Problem...

I seriously have a problem. An addiction. A big one. AND sometimes an expensive one.
There. I've said it.  I've admitted it.  That's the first step in recovery right?  Admitting you have a problem?  BUT does it count when I really don't think it's that much (not much) of a problem?  It's just yarn!  Seriously!  How bad can it be?! There must be people out there who have more than me.... yeah, yeah... yarn stores do, but how about real people?  *Uh oh.... that's another issue on the addiction scale ~working with my limited experience in yarn addiction;  (yes, please feel free to insert a snort here)  the justifying of your problem could be considered not a real admission of said problem.  Which would then imply that maybe (just maybe?) I'm not quite ready to admit it?  
Whoa! Wait!! Stop laughing!  Admission of the problem is the first step! I've said I have a problem. I've admitted it to you.... haven't admitted it to myself yet... my husband would agree that I have an issue with yarn, but...... if I keep it in check and organized, he's not so very worried. Can't be that much of a problem then right?
Who am I kidding? IF you look in my dining room; there is yarn. The den area? Yep more yarn. The living room? Sure. It's a great place to knit. The TV lives there after all. My bedroom? I'm not sure, but maybe? The bathroom? Nope. Definitely not!! The office upstairs? Um.... well.... yeah! That's where all the yarn lives in my house!  Except the stuff I'm working on and that has to be wherever I am at the time!! ~ yeah... justification of one's problem is another sign of a bigger issue... sigh.
How about organization? I do that fairly well. I have most of my stash upstairs in the office/craft room. All organized ever so lovely-ish in it's baskets & bins. I know, I know... no matter I sugar coat it. I have a lot of yarn. Loads. Buckets. Bins. Lots!! But isn't it pretty? Isn't it lovely? Don't you want to just look at it?
I posted this a while ago, but I think it's worth doing again. Yep. I think it's pretty sweet ~ don't you?
I purchased the four Antonius storage frames (around $10 each at IKEA) and then purchased the baskets separately. There are a couple of fabric baskets - toward the bottom and some plastic bins too. Originally I thought that this was going to be more for my craft storage (read fabric) but my yarn was outgrowing it's other home(s).  I even have some lovely (wicked lovely!) inserts inside some of those baskets with little dividers! The whole thing was a bit more than Big wanted to spend but it keeps the yarn (most of it) all in one spot so I think overall he's pleased. I know I am!!
So......... organization is the key here! Keeps it out of the way of the family (and the cat and the dog and the kids) and therefore one can assume that if it's hidden... well.... it's NOT A PROBLEM!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

When a Crocheter Knits

My crochet friends are wonderful friends, don't get me wrong, but........ Do not believe your crochet friends... ever!! Never!! They tell fibs. Big ones. ALL the time. Oops. Wait... let me rephrase that a little bit! I have two friends that strictly *cough* crochet. They said they can't knit. *insert a little whine here...* "I don't know how. It looks hard. Two sticks? Really? I can't do that!" ~ those are just a few of the whines things that I have heard them say.
Um... yeah... so don't believe when they lie to your face say they can't knit. They probably can.

V's KNITTED washcloths.

My friend Miss V way out West in Tennessee said she can't knit. Doesn't know how. Whatever. *insert eye rolling*. She knits. She knits like crazy! She made & sold knitted washcloths at a craft fair last year AND she knits these crazy scarves by the bazillion! Her grandmother-in-law sells them to her friends as fast as V can make them!  Not only is she knitting away... she's making some money at it!  Can't knit huh? Oh yeah... to add to her list of already growing transgressions... just yesterday she asked me to clarify a pattern direction for her. NOT a crochet pattern mind you..... A KNITTING PATTERN! Yes, V.. k1, p4 for two rows means you k1, p4 all the way across a row and then return, therefore doing it x2 rows. AND THEN.... she says she has to by circulars. Oh really?
My other crochet friend... who by the way is the crochet expert in our local knitting group * did you catch that? K N I T T I N G group! Anyway... (yes you can insert eye rolling here) Miss M is not only an expert crocheter, she lies. Lies like a rug. She knits. I even caught her with dpn's. Oh my.
The other night, Miss T and her children were here for a visit. She decided that she was going to 'mess around' with knitting needles. *insert snorts & eye rolling* Mess around? Lies. Completely. Mess around meant that she was bored with not only knitting, but purling as well. AND guess what? Even more lies! She made ribbing! Mmmhmmm... ribbing. 
So... me being the superwonderfulnicehelpfulfriend (yes, all one word) I decided instead of her distracting me with her cute kid so she could knit in relative peace; I would show her cables. That stuff is hard! Right?! NOT. Miss Thang herself gets it lickety split! Yeah... Miss I don't know how to knit............
 This is what she did. Besides lying to me....
See that? Knitting a border on both ends! Some stockinette stitch, some ribbing and those cables! *the odd shape of the sampler is my fault... I didn't have her count on an adequate amount of stitches... sigh
So my friends - whom I know will not lie about their talents..... do not believe your crochet friends when they say the cannot lie knit.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Do Over ~ Week 4 (Portable Projects with a Cause)

Yeah, yeah I know. It's actually week five. Don't get all caught up in that number thing! It's just been crazy around here. Busy, busy, busy and the weather has been so stinkin' hot that it's not even fun (not much) to even knit. Temps haven't been all that bad, but it's the humidity that gets me. Ugh. Some days all we do is lay around and read a book.  Hm...if I could get the kid to turn the pages for me I think I would be all set!! Right now it's 0646 am and the temp is only 75degrees! ONLY. The humidity however,  is 98%. Gonna be a real nice day. Yeah. Real nice.
Anyway..... it's week 4 of the project! Woot! Everyone is knitting up their blocks and learning some new things along the way! Miss N has already completed her first set of ALL 6 blocks and is heading off to make the second set. What an overachiever!  Miss T~ the crochet queen has been whipping hers out in between making some pretty fabulous monkeys & washcloths! AND she's also 'learning' knitting... more on that later!   Royal D admits that she didn't mind the color work block (#3) and has finished it, but also admits the yarn that was giving her fits.
 Even her kids laughed at her with her when she was done! **Please admire the block to your right... the tension is perfect, the color choice amazing.. yep! It's a nice block! It is a bit crunchy.. but D is right... the yarn stinks!   Such a snob! *me too!! 
 Me? Um... I'm waiting for the Princess' Mommy to finish her block and then I will move forward!  *That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!  Honestly? I really haven't been knitting.  Oh... I've got projects on the needles (multiples) but I keep getting distracted by just about anything else that comes along! Today I WILL make a block four! I will!  It's looking like rain this morning so I might as well settle in and knock it out!
Here's the pattern just to keep you all up to speed~ Once again using those size 8's and washable worsted weight yarn....
Bean Sprouts
*Multiple of 6 sts +5
With A: Cast on 41 sts
Row 1 (RS): With A, knit.
Row 2: With A, purl
Row 3: With B, k2 *sl 1 wyib, k1: repeat from * to last 3 sts, sl 1 wyib, k2
Row 4: With B, k2, sl 1 wyif, *k, sl 1 wyif, p1 sl 1 wyif, k1, sl 1 wyif; rep from * to last 2 sts, k2
Row 5: With A, k2, *k3, sl 1 wyib, k2; rep from * to last 3 sts, k3
Row 6: With A, p3, * p2, sl 1 wyif, p3; rep from * to last 2 sts, p2
Row 7 & Row 8: Repeat rows 5 and 6
Row 9 & Row 10: Repeat rows 1 and 2
Row 11: With C, *k1, sl 1 wyib; rep from* to last st, k1
Row 12: With C, k1, sl 1 wyif, p1, *[sl 1 wyif, k1] twice, sl 1 wyif, p1: rep from * to last 2 sts,
                sl 1 wyif, k1
Row 13: With A, k2, *sl 1 wyib, k5; rep from * to last 3 sts, sl 1 wyib, k2
Row 14:  With A, p2, sl 1 wyif, *p5, sl 1 wyif; rep from* to last 2 sts, p2
Row 15 and Row 16: Rep rows 13 and 14
Repeat rows 1-16 until piece measures 10" from beginning and end with Row 8 or Row 16
** Just make sure your block ends up being about the same size as the other 3 blocks you've made already**~ if you're doing the project with us!

See?! I've already started. Too bad this yarn is that 'crunchy' stuff.... needs to go into the washer!
Which btw is an experiment in the works and fodder for more posts!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Do Over Week 3

Portable Projects with a Cause is definitely A GO!!!  Thanks to all my wonderful new friends and their knitting & crochet talents,  I think we may end up with (definitely 2) three complete afghans at the end!
 This is just a sample of the blocks we have completed!  Block 1 - Big Bamboo, Block 2 - Horseshoe Cable and now ... insert drum roll please...

Block 3 - Peas & Carrots!!

Don't worry, it's really simple! It only looks hard! It's just a matter of (gasp!) working with three yarns.... ha ha! Really you only work with one at a time! Not some fancy schmancy color work but it certainly looks like it could be!  In this block you just slip some stitches to make it look a lot harder than it actually is!
So... starting out with 3 yarns (all different of course!) *definitely try and use something that coordinates (or is the same) as blocks one and two!  Pick a main color... in the block above, white was the main (color A) color. Red = B & Blue = C.

Cast on 42 Sts.
Row 1 (wrong side): with A, purl
Row 2 : With B, k1, sl 1 wyib, *k2, sl2 wyib; repeat from * to last 4 sts, k2, sl 1 wyib, k1.
*** WYIB means 'with yarn in back'... no worries... just hold your yarn like you would normally knit with it... in the back!! Some patterns have you bringing it to the front (as if to purl) to make a wrap and/or to slip the stitches, this one just wants us to keep it in the back when we are knitting a row. Guess what we do with it when we are purling?!! Yep! You guessed it!! With yarn in front!! WYIF!!
Row 3: With B, p1, sl 1 wyif, p2, *sl 2 wyif, p2; repeat from * to last 2 sts, sl 1 wyif, p1
Row 4:  With A, knit entire row
Row 5: With C, *p2, sl 2 wyif; repeat from * to last 2 sts, p2.
Row 6: With C, k2, *sl2 2 wyib, k2; repeat from * across
Repeat Rows 1-6 until piece measures 10'/25.5cm from beginning. Bind off.

The biggest trick to this is remembering to slip those stitches!! And of course to make sure that when you are slipping those stitches that you don't pull your yarn too tight! If you do, it will just smoosh it up and make it tighter! Don't worry though because once we block it, it should stretch out a bit and better yet... when we attach it to the other blocks; we'll never notice!

Again.... for the crochet version. I will ask my resident crochet expert, Ms. T for a little direction and maybe a guest post!
WYIF - with yarn in front. Just means to bring the yarn to the front - almost like you were going to purl with it.
WYIB - with yarn in back. Just hold your yarn in back; just like you do in knitting.
sl - slip
sts- stitches
* bla, bla; repeat from * across.... repeat the pattern directions inside the *'s

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Do-Over Continues ~ Week 2

** I posted this to my family blog and just realized it now!! Ooops! It was posted a week ago so we would all be on the same track and the same week! Now that it's week 3... here is week 2!!

It's week 2 of the Portable Projects with a Cause - Do-Over x1!
That means it's time for your second block.... are you ready?? Get ready... set.... WAIT! HOLD ON!
Admire the pink block over on your left! Yay DB!! She not only learned to follow a pattern (she knew this already!) but she learned how to bind off! *I think she was a little disappointed that binding off wasn't all that exciting!
So now that we've admired some knitting... we can get ready for the second block!!
Time to start some cables! Aka fiddly knitting! Don't worry they really are easy! It's just a matter of holding 3 stitches (on a cable needle) either in front or back of the work, knitting the next 3 and then knitting the 3 being held on the cable needle. Phew...did you get all that? Talk about fiddly!
I admit it, I was afraid of cables. Not really afraid, just thought there was way much more to them than just holding some stitches this way and that way... I thought you had to do that fiddly stuff every row. Um.. nope! Just once! You do the cable stitches for one row, some other pattern (technical jargon there!) stuff for a few rows and it all works out! Very little work! Just mainly knitting and purling to make those twisty stitches pop out! YOU CAN DO IT! You'll be amazed!
Here's the pattern for the knitted cable block....but as always PLEASE feel free to head on over to Knit and Crochet Now website (Season 3, Knit Blue Baby Afghan)*it's a free log-in and then you will have access to their patterns AND the ability to double check my copy and paste ability!

*Using size 8 knitting needles & washable worsted weight yarn....

Special Stitches
6 st-RC (3 over 3 right cross) Sl 3 sts to cable needle and hold in back, k3, then k3 from the cable needle.

6 st-LC (3 over 3 left cross) Sl 3 sts to cable needle and hold in front, k3, then k3 from cable needle.
Using #8 needles & worsted weight yarn....

Cast on 42 sts.
Knit two rows.
Row 1 (RS): P6, *k12, p6; repeat from *across
Row 2 (WS): K6, *P12; repeat from *across.
Row 3 (cable row): P6, *6-st RC, 6 -st LC, p6; repeat from * across
Row 4: K6, *P12, k6; repeat from *across
Row 5: Repeat Row 1
Row 6: Repeat Row 2
Row 7: Repeat Row 1
Row 8: Repeat Row 2
Repeat Rows 1-8 until piece measures 10" from beginning, end with a WS row.
Knit 2 rows
Bind off!

Cool huh? The twisty-cables add some bulk to the work and make it stretch a bit weird, but don't worry about that! We'll block it and hook it all up with the cables that the rest of the group are making! It will be fine!!

Now go get your knit on!!
I'll post the crochet version later.... I'm not even sure I know how to read it and I certainly can't explain it so we'll have to get some technical help from Miss MT~

Portable Projects with a Cause are a GO!

Wow! It's been a while since I've posted (22 days) and that's a little odd! I usually have way much more to say than I can possibly get out in a day... hence the blog!!
So what's been keeping me busy for the last three weeks?  Oh... just a little charity knitting and hanging out with my yarn buddies!!  What a way to spend the summer! Knitting up some simple blocks, learning a few new things on the way AND hanging out with like-minded yarn peeps! Woot! It's a win-win summer so far!
There are now 8 people knitting (and crocheting) our way through the block project! I'm hoping that this will mean we end up with several afghans at the end but for now we're all working like mad on our blocks!  (BIG thanks to everyone participating!) For the LINK to the post about the project just click on that highlighted word LINK ~please!

So far we've got 12 blocks made... which is enough for one entire afghan which is totally cool!
Can you hear the rather loud BUT in there?

  My inner Goddess (aka OCD Queen) saying... "Um...hey Toots? The colors, well, they are just a bit too random even for this project."
Yeah, Yeah. I know. I keep saying, "it doesn't have to match, it will be okay."  It doesn't even help when I can hear in my head....Royal D saying.."it's not going on my bed so I don't have to look at it..." which implies that random is okay in her book as long as it's not in her house! I'm trying here........
I really am!
BUT looking at this collection of 12 lovely blocks (AND that's only the knitted versions!)  I don't know if I can really handle all that randomness.  I don't know for sure, but I think  I may have to hustle up and make some more blocks in those specific color families... just for a little less randomness.  What do you think?

I'm not worried about the different sizes and/or shapes! A little blocking will go a long way in making everything fit better as will the final sewing up! I'm going to spring for a couple of skeins of white yarn to sew it all up together and edge it. Hey! Maybe that will help bring those colors together?  We'll see.....

In the meantime I think I'm going to just go and make some more blocks. I WILL do my very best to keep it random! *I've zipped the bag that I have the yarn in and I am forcing myself to not look and just stick my hand in. The hard part is making myself knit with whatever I pull out! Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Portable Projects for a Cause... Do Over

Just a little update on the 'Portable Projects for a Cause'....  I've found some stragglers and want to include them! I've even found some crocheters that I want (forgot) to include so here we go again!
Insert drum roll..........
I've decided... yeah... Lil' Miss Dictator I know...
that we should all knit up some blocks (and crochet some too) and then combine them all together to make baby blankets! Once we've completed our blocks & afghan(s?) we will then decide (AS A GROUP!) which charity we will give them too!  *I'm leaning toward a crisis pregnancy center in Baltimore* It's a group project that will allow us a chance to work together and learn some new stitches along the way!
I've hit up the girls I hang with... the ol' Royal Knitting gang and some peeps that hang out on the
Fort Belvoir Knitting and Crochet Club page and so far it looks like (maybe!) we have 5 people that want to help out with the project! Yay!!
It's a pretty simple project and I didn't have to look very hard for a pattern! It's from Knit and Crochet Now and it was on their TV show (and website) as a 'block of the week' pattern series! What I failed to  pay attention to realize was that there was a crochet version as well! 
I've been looking for something to knit that is easy to take with me (aka small & cheap) but also something that will keep me interested.... my family is getting washcloths for Christmas (shh)!
I started this a couple of weeks ago, but now that I have been getting some more interest (hellooooo stragglers!) I'm going to just restart! Do-Over x1! Only x1!
This is how it works...... okay, okay... this is how I would like it to work! Better?  This Miss Dictator can be part of a group.. you'll see!

Each week I will post a new pattern but please *PLEASE!* feel free to go to the Knit and Crochet Now website and download the entire thing! I may make a mistake and if you find I did... please let me know!
We're working on Season 3, crochet 'Pink Baby Afghan' and knit 'Blue Baby Afghan' ~ you can find the patterns and the picture on the website under the tab 'free patterns'. It's all the way at the bottom of the Season 3 patterns.
Requirements~ size 8 knitting needles and worsted weight yarn! Size I/9 crochet hook and yes! Washable worsted weight yarn! 
Easy, peasy, lemon squeasy... it really is! Just concentrate on this one for the next week and once you have one done... do another? I did and I have 4 already!

multiple of 12 sts + 4
Cast on 40 sts
Row 1 (right side) : K2, *P2, K4; repeat from * to last 2 sts, K2
Row 2: K2, *P4, K2; rep from * to last 2 sts, K2
Rows 3 & 4: Repeat Rows 1 and 2
Row 5: K2, *K8, P4; repeat from *to last 2 sts, K2
Row 6: K2, *P4, K8; repeat from * to last 2 sts, K2
Row 7-10: Repeat Rows 1-4
Row 11: K2, P2, K4, *P8, k4; repeat from * to last 8 sts, P6, K2
Row 12: K8, P4, *K8, P4, repeat from last 4 sts, K4.
Repeat Rows 1-12 until piece measures 10inches (25.5 cm) from beginning, bind off

CROCHET Block #1 aka Shell and Bar Square

Ch 32
.Row 1:
Dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in next ch, sk next 2 ch, (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in next ch (shell made), sk next 4 ch, shell in next ch, sk next 2 ch, dc in next 4 ch, sk next 2 ch, shell in next ch, sk next 4 ch, shell in next ch, sk next 2 ch, dc in last 3 ch—4 shells.
Row 2 (right side):
Ch 3 (counts as dc), turn, dc in next 2 dc, shell in ch-1 sp of next 2 shells, sk next 2 dc, dc in next 4 dc, shell in ch-1 sp of next 2 shells, sk next 2 dc, dc in next 2 dc, dc in top of turning ch.
Repeat Row 2 until square measures about 9"/23 cm.

Fasten off.

Edging Round:
With right side facing, join A with sc in any corner, work 2 more sc in same sp, work 28 sc evenly across edge, [3 sc in corner, work 28 sc evenly across next edge] 3 times; join with sl st in first sc.
Fasten off.

I haven't done the crochet version ~ I have to have lessons first, but here is what my Big Bamboo squares look like!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Fiddly Knitting

For the longest time I didn't even want to attempt cables. They looked so fiddly and really kind of hard. Eek?! A cable needle? I can barely handle working with DPNs! What the heck am I going to do with a (gasp) cable needle?  Sounded like a sure way to lose an eye!
I guess  I was pretty content to just knit and purl and maybe ocasionally throw in a fussy sort of stitch (ugh bobbles...) but I wasn't willing to make something with cables. Nope. Didn't want to..until I saw someone creating with them.  That someone just happened to be my backhoe buddy AND I had  taught her (pretty much forced her) to knit!  Um. Yeah. Nothing like a little healthy competition to spurn me into action! Sometimes that's all it takes and I'm off and running! Or in this case..... cable~ing!
Well BB (Backhoe Buddy) told me cables were easy and not intimidating and of course I could do it. Whatever.  I resisted. Quite a bit at first, but once I saw where she was going with these (read.. not wanting to be shown up...) I tried.
 Well.... she's right. Yeah.... that hurts to say it out loud, but she was right in this one and only  instance.
Cables are fussy and fiddly, but once you get the hang of it you won't even need a cable needle!
Which may be a bummer for Royal D & Princess' Momma.... but I think even they will like cables!
I'm working on my second block #2 in the portable projects with a cause.... you should almost be there I think and this means CABLES! Woo hoo! C'mon! I can do it so that means you can too!
My second version of block #2 is in solid red. I like how it looks in a solid rather than the variegated blue I used for the first time around.  Solid colors will make your cable work POP out!
The cable stitches in the pattern read like this:  AND I can hear you saying.... WHAT? REALLY? WHOA....
*Special Sts*
 6-st RC (3 over 3 right cross) Slip 3 sts to cable needle and hold in back, k3 then k3 from cable needle
6-st LC (3 over 3 left cross) Slip 3 sts to cable needle and hold in front, k3 then k3 from cable needle. It's pretty simple; honest. Just ask BB she'll tell you.... but to help you along the way I'm showing you how I did it. *sorry but Boy is using the video camera so I got stuck with the regular one!

For this pattern... purl the first 6 stitches... slip the next three onto a cable needle (the darker needle) and hold it in back (Right cross), knit the next 3 stitches off of your left needle. Slip the stitches on the cable needle back onto your left needle and knit them.

Next you will do the next 3 in the cable section... the 6-st LC (3 over 3 left cross).  It's easy.. you just did the RC right?! Slip the next 3 stitches onto the cable needle (purlwise is easier) and hold them in FRONT... then knit the next 3 stitches off of your left needle...

Now you slip the slipped stitches (those on the cable needle?) back onto your left needle and knit them! Just like you did before... only difference is where you held the slipped stitches! Back or front! That's what makes the cable twist this way or that way! It really means more fiddly farting around... but it will work out !  That's how we get the 'twist' into the cable!

 Now you purl the next 6 stitches (that center portion) and repeat the cable process for the left side! Just follow the pattern for the remaining rows and repeat the cable section as directed! You only have to do it six (?) times for this block?
It's kind of cool how it looks like you put a whole lot of effort into your knitting fabric, but really you don't. Just twist 3 stitches this way, 3 that way... a couple of times this way, a couple that way and with the purl stitches helping it all pop out.... you made some amazing knitting!
Go you!!
Seriously......... go you! Get some blocks done!!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fiche Tricot

How about some language lessons? A little langue francaise un jeudi matin?
 A little French language on a Thursday morning! Really! That's what I said...

I've been working on the en tricot afghan de project (knitted afghan project) and needed a way to organize the fiche tricot (knitting pattern)....somehow (insert snorting laughter)  I got off of that project and onto French lessons (rapid descent into space...) and really felt I should combine the two together! I really think I just needed an excuse to sit at the computer for another hour rather than getting work done, but... I'm learning something!
**The Cupcakes are busy working on a second language (home schooling at it's finest!) because Big is opting for a new assignment and the French language will be a big part Cupcake world here pretty soon!

Putting (the giggleometer) another part of my brain to the test.......

I needed a way to make my latest (I am so giggling putting these words together!) a little more portable without carrying an entire fiche tricot (knitting pattern) or even using my ordinateur portable (portable computer) so... I had to come up with a systeme d'exploitation (organizing system) to carry my fiche tricot!
Wow huh? I know, I know, what a tangent for a Thursday morning (un jeudi matin) !!

It all boils down to this.... systeme d'exploitation...
Make that big pattern into something portable so it fits into my cutesy-schmootzy tricot sac (knitting bag) and make it so I can spill stuff on it, drop it in the pool....
I printed out the pattern again, this time making sure that I printed only one one side of the paper. I then cut out each pattern for each square (un carre') and then laminated it! Each carre' is not exactly square, but it's close! A little paper punch action and a ring.... voila'.. lovely portable fiche tricot!
Off to the pool I go........... and yes. I'm still giggling and trying to fit langue francaise into my daily adventures... maybe I will be a francophone?!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Portable Projects with a Cause Take 2

Here is the plan kids! Once a week I will post a pattern for one of the six squares for the afghan project!  I know, I know... it hasn't been quite a week since I posted the idea last Friday (yeah, yeah...) here is the LINK for block #1 AND at the bottom of this page is the pattern for block #2.
Once you have the pattern, knit it up in ANY washable worsted weight yarn you wish *do try to make it washable because it is a charity project and who knows where it will end up! **I have yarn we can share**
I think it's a great idea and I'm hoping you do too! It fills a lot of my summer knitting needs... it's small, a little challenging (to keep me interested) but not so challenging I won't do it (a sweater) and small enough to take wherever I go! Portable Knitting with the added benefit of doing something for someone else!  When we have all the squares completed, and it's stitched and bordered together, off it will go to a charity we all agree on!
I'm really trying to hold myself back and not just whip through the whole thing because so far, block #1 and #2 have been pretty simple!  AND I'm super excited about learning some of the techniques in the following blocks!  I am going to wait for you all  catch up and will only knit the square that I've posted for that week!  I WILL! I promise!   Patience... yeah... not one of the strongest parts of me!
Because I'm so anxious and we did (I did anyway) start last week,  I've made block one (twice) and block two once, BUT because I don't want to get too far ahead, I'm working on another block one!  I promised I wouldn't work ahead so I'm just going to make more of the blocks for the week!  I will be posting block #3 next Wednesday!!
Big Bamboo aka Block #1
This is my block #1, Big Bamboo. They look completely different sizes and shape, but with a little blocking these should measure out to the right size...
 I just reached into a bag of yarn that I have and pulled out a ball.... no thought at all went into the color choice!
 Block 2 ~below~ is made out of the same stuff and  would totally be better with a solid color. Sigh... I have a week to make it as many solid colors as I can...  I wanted to use up the ball that I had and now that I've used it up, it's  back to the bag of randomly placed yarn I go! Woohoo!!
Block #2 aka Horseshoe Cable
Honest! I didn't choose any of the colors that went into the bag! It was a bag that was given to me by a friend of a friend (Thanks DB!)  and although I did make sure it was all worsted weight... I DID NOT plan the color scheme!
Block #2 is the Horseshoe Cable. I did mine in a worsted weight, verigated yarn using size 8 needles. Next one is going to be done in a solid color so I can actually see all the work I put into the cables!
It's a bit more advanced... it has cables but really it isn't that bad! *If you don't have a cable needle, just use another needle of the same/similiar size.... a dpn will work great!

Multiple of 18 sts +6
*Special Sts*    6-st RC (3 over 3 right cross) Slip 3 sts to cable needle and hold in back, k3 then k3 from cable needle
6-st LC (3 over 3 left cross) Slip 3 sts to cable needle and hold in front, k3 then k3 from cable needle.
Cast on 42 stitches
Knit 2 rows
Row 1 (RS): P6, *k12, p6; repeat from * across.
Row 2: k6,  *p12, k6; repeat from * across
Row 3: p6, *6-st RC, 6-st LC, p6; repeat from * across
Row 4: k6, *p12, k6; repeat from * across
Row 5-8: Repeat Rows 1 and 2 twice
Repeat Rows 1-8 until piece measures 10"/25.5cm from beginning, end with a WS row
Knit 2 rows.
Bind off.

This is going to be a great way for all of us to work together on a project for a good cause and learn some new stuff along the way! There is some intarsia, color-work and even an eyelet lace coming up!
(HERE is link for the block from last week!)


Friday, June 22, 2012

Portable Projects with a Cause!

It's been so hot and humid here that it feels like we are in mid August and not June.  We've had temps in the high 90's and triple digits, with humidity percentages climbing right up there too! That means we are miserable.  Hot, sweaty, miserable. Ugh.   Helloooo Mother Nature!?  Did someone forget to set their clock?  Summer has just started and already it's icky and drippy!   It's even been too hot to knit.
Yeah. You heard me right.  It's been too hot to work on my current project, stupid big wad of yarn  the Wallaby sweater for Boy Wonder.  I'm still working on it, but I can't take it outside, I can't take it anywhere!  It's too hot!
I've been racking my brain since I posted  'Trip Knitting' way back in May and I think I've finally came up with something that not only will keep me interested, BUT it should help my friends and I do a project together! How about a portable project?  A portable project for a cause? Sounds like fun right?   I needed something small, not feltable (for poolside of course) and just enough of a challenge to keep even me interested? AND something that would be useful to someone at the end. Yeah.. that's a tough order to fill I know, but I think I found it!
I found a pattern on the  Knit and Crochet Now website.  *it was a public television program that doesn't seem to be on anymore*.  It's an afghan made up of  12 squares, 2 different patterns (2 of each pattern)that is approximately 30x40" when it's completed. Perfect for a baby.   Each square is knit individually *where my friends come in* and then seamed together and finished with an I-cord border! Peaking your interest yet?  Don't worry crochet friends..... you can make some 10inch squares in your favorite worsted weight yarn too!
It's made with #4 yarn (worsted weight) *thanks to my friend V  I've even got some extra worsted weight yarn if you're interested...........
This little afghan could of course be made by one person but what's the fun in that? I've got a group of friends in mind who I'm hoping can be convinced to make one little square (c'mon it's 10 inches!) and together we can knit it up and give it to a local charity. How about one of the many local crisis pregnancy centers? We'll see.... for now... let's get moving!
I'm totally assuming you are interested......... The afghan was part of a square of the week program.  Each week a different pattern would be demonstrated all the way up until it was time for the I-cord edging.  It looks pretty simple, but also has some patterns that require just a bit of extra effort... cables, some color work and a lace.
How about it folks?  Anyone up for a challenge?  A small, easily portable project that we can all pitch in and work together?  I've got a particular charity in mind, but am open to taking suggestions!
Like I said before... I've even got some yarn you can use....
Here is the first pattern..........
Size 8 needles
Worsted Weight (4) yarn
Gauge 16 1/2 sts =4inches/10cm over patterns
*each square may vary slightly but that's okay!
multiple of 12 sts + 4
Cast on 40 sts
Row 1 (right side) : K2, *P2, K4; repeat from * to last 2 sts, K2
Row 2: K2, *P4, K2; rep from * to last 2 sts, K2
Rows 3 & 4: Repeat Rows 1 and 2
Row 5:  K2, *K8, P4; repeat from *to last 2 sts, K2
Row 6: K2, *P4, K8; repeat from * to last 2 sts, K2
Row 7-10: Repeat Rows 1-4
Row 11: K2, P2, K4, *P8, k4; repeat from * to last 8 sts, P6, K2
Row 12: K8, P4, *K8, P4, repeat from last 4 sts, K4.
Repeat Rows 1-12 until piece measures 10inches (25.5 cm) from beginning, bind off

If you ARE interested, I have the whole pattern and will copy it for you! You can go to the website link above and check it all out too!  I also have that extra yarn I'm willing to share!  Once you make one (or two, or several) squares you can send them to me!
Look out Fort Belvoir Knitting and Crochet Club because I'm hitting you all up next!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Swearing Frog

 I like this frog picture over here on the left... it looks like the frog is flipping a peace out sign.
The one on the right.... well.... that's more like how I feel right now.  Sigh.
Aaaack!  What?
I gotta rip out some stuff?  Holy crap.  Froggin' it I will have to go.  Damn.
I hate ripping stuff out (rip it rip it).  It's part of the process that I DO NOT like. Not one bit.  Not with a box, some socks, a fox on a train and in or out of the rain.  Unfortunately for me, the more I try this ripping out stuff.... the less I like it.
I try really hard not to make mistakes, but with the way I knit and my apparent lack of focus.... mistakes do happen.  Ha!  Mistakes frequently happen!  Often I can fudge them in..........
I'm happily knitting away on Boy's newest sweater and wondering why my stitch count isn't matching up to the pattern directions and why? Why oh why is the pouch looking like it is almost completely around the front of the sweater? Um.. it's supposed to be a pouch/pocket on the front. On. The. Front.  What the heck?  Someone made a huge mistake about 20 rows behind where she is now.  Yep.  That  would be me.  That would also be me swearing like a pirate as I ripit.  Ripit out. 
I did save myself a bit. I added a life line! I'm so smart!! I learned this little trick a long time ago when I was knitting my first baby sweater. A long time ago.  The sweater wasn't all in one piece like the Wallaby, but one of those dreaded sweaters that I have to *insert shudder* seam.  I'm not good at that so I tend to stay away from seaming. *insert more shudders*.   Anyway.... my Aunt G showed me that if I run a different colored yarn through my knitting every few inches (depends on how big the sweater is) and I make a mistake..... I only have to go back to the 'life line' when I have to rip it out!   AND if you do it just right... it won't let you rip stitches out beyond that life line!  The 'life line' becomes a stitch holder! Yay!   I think that Aunt G just knows me so well that she knew I would just get frustrated and rip the whole thing out and then not (probably) start it over.  Ha!  I can blame this whole knitting obsession on her!
See the little red line - that's my 'life line' in this instance. It's a little bit different than actually knitting it in so it acts as a stitch holder of sorts, but in this case, it is totally saving my X#$!  I know where to pick up stitches to start this crazy pouch/pocket ALL OVER again. Sigh.......
So that's what I'm doing today on this cool, sort of drizzly Monday ~the first day of summer vacation..... ripping crap out, starting over (and yes... I'm swearing while I do it....) bring on the pirate!
Oh wait... I don't need pirates.... the frogs are swearing enough! Sounds like this in my house this morning... "ripit ,grrr, aaargh, S*&%T "  ~said of course in my best sing-songy, frog pirate voice ever!