Wednesday, January 30, 2008


So I've wanted to make this fabulous lace scarf for quite awhile. I ordered some clearance lace weight yarn from KP and thought it would be gorgeous in this pattern. All I have to say at this point is "Arrrrrgggghhhh."

I can accept defeat. I cannot knit with a lace weight yarn. What you see in the picture is several attempts at this pattern that took me nearly 3 days to complete. The black strings you see are lifelines - a marker placed so you don't have to rip out all of your knitting if you make a mistake. Don't ask me how many attempts I made before I started putting in lifelines.

Since I still want to make this scarf, I went to my LYS today for some fingering weight yarn. (Fingering weight is just one step up from lace weight. It will still provide a nice lacey look, but will give the yarn more stability and will be easier to work with.)

After only 2 hours working, here is what I now have:(and this will look much better after blocking. 4 repeats down - 23 to go!!)

What this has taught me (other than I cannot knit with lace weight), is that it's OK to try again. Admit defeat, it's not the end of the world. I put the blue version on a stitch holder so all is not lost. I may pick it up again later, or I may not. Either way I'm OK with it. It's not the end of the world. glad to have that off my chest!

Knit on!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Just making a few changes.......

I wanted to have a photo header and my previous blog style wouldn't allow that so I changed it up a bit. What do you think? (I think it still needs some work ;) )

How cool is this???

I don't do the Technique Lovers Challenge over on Splitcoast very often, but I simply could not pass up this weeks challenge. (Get the info here.) This was much easier than I thought it would be and is so striking!! I guess it pays to try new things every once in awhile!

Papers and sentiment from Stampin Up, ribbon from Offray.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Mittens for me

After making mittens for the kids, I wanted to make a pair for myself as well. I used the basic mitten pattern I have and added a braided cable so they would be more interesting. All in all I like how they turned out, but there are a few things I would change.

- The thumb is way too big. I made a size large to accommodate the cable, but I should have altered the size of the thumb.
- The cable placement on the left hand is not quite centered. I should have moved it over about 2-3 more stitches. Live and learn I guess!
- They are too long. I figured this might happen since I didn't want to start the decrease at the top in the middle of the cable. I would also like to make the cable a part of the decrease so it doesn't just "die out" at the end.

So IF I decide to make another pair, I will incorporate a few modifications to suit my taste better. But, they are perfectly wearable.

And if anyone is wondering, I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease in black, and this was knit on size 5 and 7 DPN's.

Now I only have 3 more projects on the needles!

Knit on!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fuzzy Feet!!

For Christmas of 2006, I made 7 pairs of Fuzzy Feet for all sorts people in my life, but did not make a pair for myself. I decided it was time to change that!! So here are my Fuzzy Feet. I made them using 2 strands of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Blue Bonnet for the main slipper. This makes them very warm and they should be very durable, since I'm not planning on adding a sole. The cuff was knit with one strand of WOTA and one strand of Lion Brand Fun Fur. I love how the fun fur looks after it has been felted with the wool!! (And PS - Fun Fur is on sale for $2 a ball at Michaels this week!!)

Now I need to make another pair for my DH. (And yes - I did make him a pair in '06, but he has lost!)

My Knit Picks order arrived on Tuesday (and thus the Fuzzy Feet), and in it was a gorgeous skein of a variegated blue lace weight wool. I'm planning on making this scarf. It's really beautiful and not as difficult as it looks. I cast it on Tuesday night and did 20 rows of the lace pattern. I ended up frogging it (since I added a stitch somewhere??). I'll probably re-cast on tonight. It's a complicated pattern so I really only want to work on it after the kids go to bed so I won't get disrupted. I've never done any lace work before and it really is much easier than I thought it would be. I'll get a WIP picture up as soon as I have one.

Another thing I learned while working on the lace pattern - there is a place for metal needles! I'll admit that I'm a wood/bamboo snob and rarely use anything else. But when working with this lace pattern, I really need needles with a sharper point. So here I am swallowing my pride and working with metal needles. (But I did hear from the gal at my LYS that Clover was coming out with a new needle that is still bamboo but with a sharper point. I'll be sure to try them out when I can find a pair!!)

Knit on!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fun new Mittens

We had a freezing cold weekend here in Minnesota, so what better to do than stay in and knit some mittens? The pink ones are for DD (of course) and DS wanted stripes. He really wanted red stripes, but I didn't have any red. I used it all up making his hat! So now he has a new hat and new mittens and they don't match! Oh well, I guess that means I need to go out and buy more yarn :).

Next up is a pair of black mittens for me. I'm playing with a cable pattern to add to it to jazz it up a bit. Plain black mittens are just too boring. I tried out a cable pattern this morning but I'm not sure if it's the one I'll use or not.

On a Scrappy Note:

I went to Archivers on Friday night for ScrapMania. We had a great time but when it was time for me to leave, I went out and started my car, then went to settle my tab. I locked my car and went back inside (and I'm sure you all see where this is heading ;) .) Sure enough, my key fob unlocker dealy decided to conk out. So here it was, 10:00 at night, -10 degrees outside with a windchill in the -25 degree area.

Thankfully my friend Heidi (love ya Heidi!!) drove me to my house where I picked up a key from my DH (and a partially full gas can since my car sat idling for over an hour) and took me back to Archivers. I nearly froze my hands off putting gas in the car, but when I finally got in it to drive home it was nice and toasty!!

Stay warm everyone, and Knit on!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Just Right......

After the last hat, DS was very concerned about the size of this one. Thankfully it fits!

Next up are pink mittens for DD!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Too Big

So when DS and I went to DD's preschool to drop her off this morning, I noticed that his hat was too small to cover his ears. Considering it was 0 degress outside, this was important to note.

No biggie, I figured. I would just knit him a new hat. I found a super simple pattern online and started it up. It called for a thick yarn knit on DPN's sized 9-11. Since I have DPN's in 10.5, that's what I used. I knew after casting on that it would be too big - it was that obvious, but I kept going since I don't have anything else on the needles right now *gasp*

I figure I'll pick up some size 9 DPN's this weekend and make another.....and it should fit this time!! So here it is.....very cute, but very big.

Knit on!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Done.....and still waiting

So I finished my bright yellow socks last night. I like how they came out - bright yellow and all! I started these since I was waiting on my order from KP. And guess what? I'm STILL waiting....grrrr...... Oh well. My next projects will have to wait.

I did take a trip to one of my LYS today, but I managed to get out the door without any yarn. I'm very proud of myself! I did, however, go to JoAnn's and pick up 2 balls of WoolEase and a rubber stamp that was on clearance. And a Cuttlebug embossing folder. But that was it! And I used 4 coupons!!!

So as I sit and wait, I'm going to start up a pair of mittens for my DD. I got a neat pattern today that had sizes for children and adults. It's a very basic pattern, but I plan on jazzing it up a bit!

Knit on!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Welcome to Holland

People have asked about a few of the links on my sidebar. One is to the Autism Society of America and one is to cleftAdvocate - both very dear to my heart. See, I am a mother to one of those wonderful children from Holland. Here is the essay for those of you who are not familiar with it:

Welcome To Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

And now my story:

My son was born 5 years ago last November. After a previous 20 week miscarriage, I was terribly paranoid throughout the pregnancy. When I went in to labor at 34 weeks, I was understandably upset. After 36 hours trying to stop labor without success, my DS was born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate. This is detectable on ultrasound, but we did not know. At that point I realized that I would be traveling to Holland.

G* had his first surgery at 3 months to repair his cleft lip. He sailed through surgery and recovery like a champ. Figuring I was leaving Holland behind me (except for a few occasional surgeries in the future), I started planning my trip to Italy again.

At age 2, G* was assessed by the Early Childhood intervention team from my local school district. I thought it was rather unnecessary, but is a common practice for children with cleft lip/palate since they frequently require speech therapy. At that assessment, the team recommended that we have G* see an ENT dr. They were concerned with his hearing.

After a visit to the ENT, it was determined that G* had significant fluid build-up in his inner ear and would require ear tubes - no biggie!!

G* was also receiving speech therapy through the school district since he was delayed in his speech (since he couldn't hear very well!!) He continued with speech therapy for 2 year until the dreaded A word was mentioned: Autism. G* was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) in the spring of 2006. For the most part, he will live a normal life - just with some added challenges.

My plans for Italy are on permanent hold. He is a spectacular child, truly the greatest gift I have ever been given and I am a better person for being his mother. But I don't wear the rose colored glasses all the time. I won't lie - it's HARD.

So this card is for you moms that are visiting Holland. I know you can do it!!

Monday, January 14, 2008


I'm waiting rather impatiently for my KP order to arrive, so I started these socks last night. Now I remember why I *hate* to knit socks. These are knit on US 3 - which is TINY, it's only slightly better than knitting with toothpicks!

As I've said, I always like to test a pattern on cheapy yarn - thus the bright yellow socks. It's Caron Super Soft, which lives up to it's name - it's super soft. However, it's an acrylic and I would prefer a wool. Heck, if I'm going to knit a pair of socks they better last forever.

I like the pattern so far, but I have changed it a bit. I didn't like her heel turn method, so I did my own. You be the judge - I think it came out pretty darn great (if I do say so myself *wink*).

That's all for now - and if you live in the Minneapolis area - keep an eye out for someone wearing some day-glo yellow socks!!

Knit on!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Leg Warmers - not just from the 80's anymore!

A friend of mine was asking me a few knitting questions in November. She wanted to make her daughter a pair of leg warmers. Like many little girls, her daughter loves to wear dresses, but in the middle of a freezing Minnesota winter, that's just not practical.

She knows how to knit but has limited experience with it. And like any other skill, you have to practice! She bought the yarn and started to knit. After a few tries, she called me in frustration, "I'm just not going to make them!" I asked her to let me give them a try.

I picked the yarn and needles up and started them that night. They really weren't that hard, but I can understand how it could be frustrating. They use a fairly simple rib pattern, but use a pearled garter stitch instead of the standard knit. FYI - The pattern is from the Winter 2005 magazine Knit Simple. (This magazine used to be a part of Vogue Knitting, but I think it is a stand alone magazine now.)

So now that Miss P* has these gorgeous leg warmers, I have to make them for the rest of the play group girls! Since my friend bought three skeins of yarn, they will all match! Thankfully they come together fairly quickly. I'm working on the second pair, and then just one more to go.

On another note

I put in an order for more yarn at KnitPicks this morning. (Hey - the kids were sleeping in, what do you expect me to do!) I picked up a fabulous yarn to make the previously mentioned scarf. I chose the Blue Jeans color, I think it will look gorgeous! I also picked up some WOTA (Wool of the Andes) to make some Fuzzy Feet slippers for both me (finally!!) and my hubby. I'll be sure to post some pictures when I get them done!!

Until later, knit on!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bags a Plenty

Can you tell what I've been doing lately? I have been on a roll with these fun bags! Originally, I started the one in the back as a "test bag" with the new pattern to determine how much yarn I would need. The green bag in the front was done with my expensive yarn. The middle bag was done with lots of bits of yarn - the base was made with the handle color of the green bag and the top green is the same as the green bag, and some misc other colors to fill. I have two more bags planned. Partly because they are fun and so easy to knit, and secondly because they are using up my stash. And as all crafters know, if you use up your stash, you get to buy more *wink*.

I planned on keeping the green bag for me, but now I'm not sure. I really like the look of the multicolored bags. Oh well - I don't have to decide right now, we'll see how the other two look when they are finished.

So on to my next project. I think it will be this lacey scarf. Or maybe these mittens - but I'd like to re-size them for my kids - we NEVER seem to have enough mittens! I'm planning another trip to my LYS, so it might be something completely different!

Knit on!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Trial Run...

When I get a new pattern, I like to try it out on a cheaper yarn as much as possible. And since I bought some gorgeous yarn to make this bag with, I was doubly concerned. My gage can run large, so I wanted to be sure I had enough of the expensive yarn before I started knitting with it.

So I picked up a fabulous pattern from My Bagatelle at my LYS, but I wanted to "dry run" it first. Here it is unfelted:

I used some yarn that I had from KnitPicks, specifically Wool of the Andes. I like to use this yarn because it is very reasonably priced, comes in lots of fabulous colors, and felts beautifully. This pattern calls for knitting with two strands together. This makes for a much bulkier bag - I love it! I used 2 balls of Stream (bottom), one of Spruce (middle) and one of Asparagus (top). The handle was knit using Amethyst Heather. When I was working on this, I was afraid that the colors would not be distinct enough in the middle sections. To help with this, I knit with one strand of each color for a few rounds to try and make the color change more gradual.

And here is the Post-felted version (still with a pop can for scale - I love Caffeine Free Diet Dr. Pepper - yum!)I finished this bag last night, but didn't want to wake the kids with the felting process. All together, I think it was about 7 hours of knitting (it's kind of hard to tell, since I have to take a lot of breaks.) I think this bag will go in the craft sale pile (for a sale in March.) If it doesn't sell, I think my sister will like it. I'll have to ask *wink*

Since I LOVE how this bag turned out, I've already started the "real deal" using Cascade 220 yarn. I chose color 9407 - Celery, and 9448 - Olive, both heathers.

Until later - knit on!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A quick card...

Masculine cards are always hard for me. I love this image from TAC (The Angel Company), but it is now retired. I got a few images to play with, so I'll be OK.

This was created for the color challenge on Splitcoast stampers: Wild Wasabi, Blue Bayou and Barely Banana. I love the In Color Wild Wasabi, so this challenge was right up my alley. I knew I wanted to use the truck image.

I colored the truck with all sorts of colors to try and give it depth. I'm not the best watercolorer in the world, but I enjoy it and that's what really matters, right? I used my ticket corner punch on the corners and added some black brads. I just love how brads look with the ticket corner punch. So simple but really cool looking!

I wanted to add a sentiment, but the matted main image was rather large and really didn't leave any room for a sentiment. I decided to put the sentiment on vellum and layering it over the image. I think it looks OK - not the best, but the best I could come up with! I ended up tearing the vellum strip because I couldn't get it to cut without tearing. I figured if it was going to tear so easily, I might as well go with that look.

And on another note........
I stopped at my LYS (Local Yarn Shop) this morning. After about an hour in the store drooling over all the lovelies, I ended up with a fabulous celery green heather and a darker pine green heather. I'm planning another felted bag, but this time more like a clutch - no long handle. The base of the bag will be the celery color with a pine green handle. I haven't decided if I want to make the base pine green too, but I'm not sure that's the next project I'll be knitting.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My fabulous new felted purse!!

Do you ever have a project that looks fantastic in your mind but doesn't turn out quite like you expected?? Happens to me all the time. But this bag is EXACTLY how I pictured it. I'm just so thrilled I could scream!! Don't get me wrong, there's a few things I would change about it, but overall, I'm am loving my fabulous new purse!!

I didn't have a pattern for this one, I just made it up as I was knitting. I've made lots of purses, so I had an idea of what I wanted, just no actual pattern. To create the base, I knit 10 stitches (garter stitch) for about 10 inches. Then I picked up 48 stitches on each of the long sides, and my original 10 cast on stitches for a total of 116 stitches (on circular needles). I knit 5 rounds in black and then started my stripes. Each colored stripe is 10 rounds, with 2 rounds of black in between.

I knew I wanted a shoulder strap, so when casting off, I placed the 10 "end" stitches on a stitch holder and knit the other 10 end stitches to create the strap. I also placed 12 stitches on a stitch holder to create the flap. The strap was about 34 inches pre-felting. It was a bit hard to determine how long to make it, but it worked out perfectly.

The 12 stitches for the flap were also an arbitrary number I came up with. When I came to actually knit the flap, I decided that was not quite enough and so I picked up a stitch on each side for a total of 14. To make the point, I just Ktog the first 2 stitches at the start of each row until I was down to one stitch. I think I would make this flap differently next time. It looks abit askew after felting - but I might be the only one that even cares!!

Here are a few pre-felted pictures. The first one shows the stitches fairly well, but it's hard to judge the size of it. Sorry. The second photo shows the bag hanging from my banister. That one it's a little easier to determine size from.

These next photo's are post-felting. I took a close-up so you can see how the stitches fused themselves together in the felting process.

And here it is hanging from my banister again. This makes the size change from felting look a little more obvious.

I picked up a "horn" button from Jo Ann's last night. I'm not convinced it's really horn, but I like how it looks with the bag. I just cut the button hole where I wanted it placed - no fear of unraveling!

All materials came from KnitPicks - see the link on my sidebar. I used all Wool of the Andes for this project. Unfortunately, one of the colors I used (the Orchid color) has been discontinued, but the other colors I used are Cherry Blossom and Grass. (Yep - kind of bright, but I love these colors together!!) KP carries a fabulous variety of colors so I'm sure they would have something you would love. And for only $1.99 for a 50 gr ball, it's quite the deal.

Happy knitting, and if you have any questions, just leave them in the comments. I'll be sure to respond.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Not knitting, but still cool

I had heard about the cool advent calendars in the shape of a tree that Starbucks carried for the holidays. I happened to luck into 2 of them when they were on clearance for $8 - what a bargain. After the kids ate all the chocolate (OK - I had a few too), I knew I wanted to alter ours for use in future years. I got this idea from the fabulous Tammy, the owner of The Scrap Room. Tammy used items from the Love, Elsie line. I'm not into the same style as that, so I decided to use the fabulous Figgy Pudding papers from Basic Grey. Here's the first one:

I still have one more to do. Since I have 2 kids and they were on clearance, I decided to save on future headaches and just buy two. I think I will use a more "girly" paper for the second one and make it for my daughter. And of course I will have to buy more chocolate for it next year *wink*

Also finished a felted purse for me today, but I need to buy a button for it and let it finish dying before I post it here. I think it turned out just fabulous and I can't wait to begin sporting it around town!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

It's a brand new world

I decided it was time to join the blogging nation. So here I am. Sit tight while I figure all of this out.
So what have I been working on you ask (so polite of you I might add!) I found a cool pattern for market bags using recycled plastic shopping bags. I figured what a great way to use up all of the plastic bags that collect at my house and make something useful at the same time.

So I started cutting up my plastic bags thinking I would single handedly save the earth. Then it got to the stringing the bags all started to unravel. Every time I tried to string the plastic loops together they broke. Ever one to save the Earth, I kept trying. After throwing away enough plastic to pollute a small country, I gave up.

The idea still appealed to me after a few days so I tried to think of another way to make they very cool bags. I had some old cotton yarn left over from a kids sweater project, so I started playing with that. I soon discovered that if I use 2 strands of 100% cotton and follow the pattern (with a little tweaking ;) ), I came out with a pretty cool bag! The first (and the second) bags were given to my mother and my MIL respectively. They both enjoyed them enough to encourage me to make a few more. I decided to try for a Beach bag - you know - bright fun colors and the sand will fall right out?
The orange/yellow/white one will be for my son - he *hearts* orange. The cream/black version is a smaller market bag - much like the original bags I made. And just because she was bugging me something fierce, I made a little pink bag for my daughter.

Don't we all need a little pink bag?