Location, Location, Location – Day 5

Where do you like to indulge in your craft? Is your favourite arm chair your little knitting cubby area, or do you prefer to ‘knit in public’? Do you like to crochet in the great outdoors, perhaps, or knit in the bath, or at the pub?

I have knit in a variety of places. Planes, trains and automobiles. Restaurants (one was quite nice – we sat in the lounge / bar area for a weekly SNB – it was the only place open on a Monday night! The bartender was great and would turn up the lights so we could see!), hotels, Broadway plays, my local hardware store, coffee shops, hospitals (as a patient in labor and waiting while my dad was a patient), waiting rooms, parks… I am not nervous in the least about pulling out my knitting and working on a few stitches anywhere. I wish I could knit a bit easier while outside with Lorelai, but she still needs an extra hand and a close eye – she’s coordinated, but often wobbly and usually sticky, so that’s not a great combination. I tend to have 2 favorite places to knit. One is on the couch at home – it’s the end spot, next to a lamp and side table. I knit in that spot every morning while watching Elmo’s World with Lorelai and each evening with Dan. I know he gets annoyed that I always have a light on, but I’m at the point now where I can no longer sit still without my knitting in my hands. My second spot to do most of my knitting is at a table with the ladies of SnB – the same one Wife, Mom, Knitter shared – I’m actually in that photo too, on the right, in the brown sweater!

TAGGING CODE: knitcroblo5

A New Skill – Day 4

(Want to blog along?)

Is there a skill related to your hobby that you hope to learn one day? maybe you’re a crocheter who’d also like to knit? Maybe you’d like to learn to knit continental, knit backwards, try cables or attempt stranded colourwork.

There are two skills I would love to devote some time to – crochet and colorwork. I have the basics of crochet down and I’m working on it. I even joined a potholder swap to make myself work on it more. The amigurumi calls to me – oh the cuteness. And the times I have done some crochet (basic squares, stitches or chains) I always feel like you make progress so quickly. Some times in knitting it feels like you work on the same inch for days! Colorwork I also have the basics of, but the projects where I have used it have been in a worsted weight – so many adorable knits are there in a smaller yarn weight. Someday. Right now I’m in it for the “I know what I can do well and do quickly efficiently.”
TAGGING CODE: knitcroblo4

One Great Knitter – Day 3

(Want to play? Topics are here)

Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way.

Oh dear. ONE great knitter? I really don’t think I can pick just one. I don’t know that I could even do a “Top 5” list.

The “Famous” knitters would certainly include:
*Norah Gaughan – author of Knitting Nature – love the math / science that shows up in her designs.
*Jared Flood aka BrooklynTweed – the guy behind the Hemlock Ring Blanket, Koolhaas, Turn a Square and Quincy hats, and have you seen the latest, Juneberry Triangle? Classic style, clean design.
*Ysolda – of a number of fantastic projects that you’ve probably seen, heard of and tried – I’m a huge fan – her patterns are straightforward and not all that difficult (of the ones I’ve done so far).
*Carol Feller – I’ve recently become a huge fan of Carol’s! She’s the designer of the Necco Wafer Hoodie and Trellis and Vine, both of which I’ve made. I have several more of her patterns in my queue that I look forward to starting soon!

The “Not Famous Yet” Knitters, but still Knitters that I adore and I learn much from and I have worked with in some form would certainly include (Rav links for all!):
*Valerie and Beth are two gals in my SnB – they know how to manipulate patterns, fix all sorts of mistakes, and just floor me with their skillz. Yes, they have the skillz with a z!
*More local gals, with skillz, include Jenn and Jen – they are both inspiring in the projects they work on – they are dedicated to a project and always ready to help out another knitter.
*Long have I admired Rebecca‘s work – and then when I actually met her at SnB I was a bit in awe. She’s a great person and I hope she continues to create such pretty designs! (She has quite a resume of published designs – maybe she should be in the famous category?)
*A newer member of our SnB is Crystal – check out the birthday dress she designed! for her daughter and her weaving projects!
*Sonia was one of the first people I met at SnB and I’m so lucky I did – she rocks the socks among many other projects and has an excellent sense of style.
*Betsy – my usual knit buddy. Our friendship goes back to high school, well before either of us picked up the needles. We learned on our own and found we had another shared interest. We are a great team when it comes to yarn crawls and making decisions about yarn!
*Emilee of the Bat Shawl – she was my introduction really to a full size lace project.

Go – peek at their projects! You won’t be able to resist!


Help a Dachshund!

No surprise, I’m a big fan of dachshunds. I spotted the Willie pattern on Ravelry and left a comment for Pam, aka Flint Knits, to let her know how much I liked the pattern. Then I found out it is a fund-raising pattern – her dachshund, Crush, recently broke his leg!! Read about the pattern and see Crush in his bandages on Pam’s blog, here.

If you were on the fence about buying the pattern, maybe this will help you decide – Shepherd Susie of Juniper Moon Farm has started an incredibly generous contest. If you buy the Willie pattern and comment on her blog, you’ll be entered to win a 2011 share in the farm’s yarn CSA.

Jackson thanks you and he’s showing his support for Crush by resting up too!

An Inspirational Pattern – Day Two

Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so!

I think that every new pattern / project you start is inspirational – at the beginning, before you make any mistakes, before you realize you do understand short rows or cables or charts, before you get to a knot in the yarn, before any of that, I find I am so excited about a project. I can do it! I can do it!

As I puzzled over this post I thought about my previous projects that I aspired to. Cables have always awed me. A huge project for me was “Shedir” (Ravelry link) – I loved the cables, I loved the story behind it and most importantly I loved the person I was making it for – my Nana who at the time was going through chemo treatments. It took a lot of time and attention and I did it, one stitch at a time. It was beautiful – Nana loved it.
Knitty's Shedir

Lace is usually a show stopper, and usually make me hesitate. Again, one stitch at a time and eventually – Ta-dah! You’ve got your project!
“Ishbel” (Ravelry link)
Wearing the handknits!
“Bat Shawl” (Ravelry Link)

I think what I most aspire to is to be a better knitter. Certainly there are techniques that intimidate me – steeking for one. And each year there are more and more beautiful patterns from which to choose. I might sit and lust over sock patterns by Yarnissima or Cookie A.. The Bridgewater shawl (Ravelry link) is a dream project. A new blanket. A new sweater or two that fit and I wear frequently. I want to crochet in the worst way possible – those amigurumi characters are so adorable (dachshund, stacking toy, Foamies, Happy day mobile) The pause in those plans often comes not from lack of time or ability, but from having the right yarn for the project!! I’m getting better at learning how much is needed for each type of project, and that solid colors tend to show off some details a lot better than the variegateds!

One stitch at a time… just keep knitting, just keep knitting… 🙂
TAGGING CODE: knitcroblo2

Starting Out – Day One – Knit & Crochet Blog Week

How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?

I’ve been crafty for as long as I can remember. As a kid I often went to craft classes at a local craft store (and I still have many of them, in various states of being scrunched up and glue is coming undone after so many years!). I made friendship bracelets out of embroidery floss. I beaded. I think it was only a matter of time before I found knitting. When I was in graduate school I was still beading, but I was losing interest in it. I had thought about knitting on and off for a while, but only in passing. After September 11, like many people, I decided to get some yarn and needles and a booklet, one of those “OMG I’m knitting!” types of booklets and had a go. A great feature of that booklet was that it had illustrated left-handed instructions! I started with Red Heart yarn, big needles and just knit – one stitch at a time.

I decided to make an afghan for then-boyfriend (now-husband!). Two huge honking garter stitch rectangles. Miles of garter stitch it felt like. Dan was thrilled – and that was it – I was a knitter! We still have and use that afghan too – all i can see are the mistakes, the terrible seam, and I want to make a new one asap. After grad school I slowly built up my stash. I’ve learned there acrylic and there’s acryl-ICK. I knit slippers, beer cozies, a dolphin, a ladybug washcloth… I started a sweater and frogged it and started it again (still have some of that yarn too).
My First Knit Project

As I started knitting more and getting better I started learning about the knitting my grandmothers dabbled in – Nana told me about an argyle sock that went on way longer than a sock should be (and that was the end of her knitting) and Gram had acrylic yarn stashed and a few hand-written patterns on index cards. That was surprising to me because I really didn’t see either grandmother indulge in crafty things!

My mom is a crafty one, and soon after I told her about my knitting, she told me that she was trying it too. She even went with me to a knit night at a local library – but she really was still a beginner and it just didn’t take with her like it did with me. Interesting – she hasn’t given me all the yarn and needles in her house, so maybe she’ll pick it up at some point.

I sometimes wish that I could say “Oh yes, my Irish great grandmother taught me the proper Aran cabling” or something like that, but on the other hand I *almost* think it might be more fun to be that to someone else down my family tree that I haven’t even met yet.


Local Win! Take 2!

Saturday was a perfect day for being outside – I headed out to the CT Sheep & Wool Festival. I set out with a plan to indulge in some lace, find some buttons for a sweater in progress and maybe one or two other special things. I lucked out and got exactly that! It was a great time at the festival and I enjoyed getting to spend more time with my fellow knitters (and meeting a few that I only know through Ravelery / online-blogs).

It’s such a novelty to me to see these animals right up close!
All I know about sheep-dog trials I learned from the movie “Babe”.

Freshly shorn.

You're so saaaaaft
You’re so saaaaaaafft.


Teal Sock Yarn
Teal sock yarn.

Starry night lace
Blue lace yarn.

I actually took care of my purchases at one booth, though there were so many nice choices. I bought from Mocha’s Fiber Connection last year as well. The price was right, the color was right and the feel was right. Win!

One of the most fun finds was a woman with a great selection of vintage buttons. It was so hard to not buy something in every color! I ended up with a set of purple for a sweater (that was what I was looking for anyway) and a splurged on the sunflower ones. I think they would look good with the teal yarn, but I’m not sure what / how. I think I would want to be selfish and keep them on a sweater / cowl / fingerless mitts for me, since I would appreciate them the most. I also am thinking about turning one of the sunflower buttons into a necklace… decisions…
Vintage Buttons

All in all a great time! Though there were a few blips in the day. Betsy couldn’t make it because of an ailing pug (but he’s on the mend, yay!). I made a side stop on the way home at a yarn shop only to find the yarn shop had closed / moved! Oh well. And then, there was the helmet-less jerk on a motorcycle – I decided to obey traffic rules and I didn’t go through the yellow light. I stopped. I saw him mutter and then heard him swear about me, including dropping “F-ing C… ” Nice. Sure solved his problem because then he was still stuck behind my car for another 10 miles. Ugh.

Knit & Crochet Blog Week April 26 – May 2

(From Eskimimi’s Blog)
What is Knitting and Crochet Blog Week?

This is a week of blogging for knitters and crocheters, where individual bloggers will all simultaneously post about the same topics over the course of seven days, so that for one week readers might be able to read from blog to blog and enjoy a community of bloggers all talking about elements of their craft in their own unique way.

When is it happening?

The Knitting and Crochet Blog Week will run from Monday 26th April – 2nd May 2010. This will be the first Knitting and Crochet Blog Week – if it is a success and people enjoy it there will hopefully be more in the future.

How do I take part?

It’s quite simple. Every day between 26th April – 2nd May 2010 there will be a blogging topic (relating to knitting and crochet) asking for your experiences, opinions and hopes on various aspects of your hobby. One topic and a short explanation is provided for each day, plus a ‘wildcard’ topic in case you just don’t fancy one of the blogging topics for any particular day.

Nifty, I’m in!

Local Win!

Happy Earth Day! It is a very appropriate day to share my recent local win.
Unique Sheep Win!
The Painted Sheep (of Connecticut!) recently celebrated her blogiversary with a contest to guess how many blog posts she has written. I went with my birthday – 620 (June 20) – and I was spot on! Excellent. I won a gorgeous skein of her sock yarn, Painted Sock Too in the “Merlot” colorway. I also was given my choice of Knitspot patterns – I went with the “Merlot Vine Sock”, but there are so many nice patterns, it was a tough choice! Check out her Etsy Shop and support a local (to me) CT yarnie!

I’m really looking forward to the CT Sheep and Wool festival this weekend. Hopefully the weather holds. Last year was a great time. I am trying to sort through my queue and stash to see what I might be looking for. I am in the market for buttons for my “Caitlin Cardi” test that is being seamed. Maybe I’ll go the lace route? Maybe I’ll just focus on one sweater? I’m still undecided, but between a rough week with the Lorax and waiting on hearing back on a few other things I know I’ll be ready for some retail therapy.

I also need to figure out a project to bring with me for some knitting in public – all my current projects are either too big, at a point where I have to pay attention, or need to sit and measure. Might be time to start a new sock or shawl.

Misbehavin’ Model.

I knit a hat and I was trying to take a good photo. I think I found a good combination of a particular wine bottle and an empty sugar bowl – together it fills out the hat and then gets it up off the table. Today, trying to take a photo of the hat and it kept swinging towards me, to almost a profile view. Now, all I can hear in my head is Wendy Williams’ voice (How You Doin’?)…
Well Hello there

Hat details (on Ravelry) – Cascade Cotton Rich Yarn in light pink and white, pattern is from TotToppers.com – the Checkered Square Cap. Cute cute cute, though the pom poms take some effort!