Saturday, May 29, 2010

. . .and there was yarn!

This is a bonus post, and it is all about the yarn! Here's my haul:
And here are some of the newer members of CKW (my knitting group), checking things out at their first Great Lakes Fiber Show. . .or, as we like to call it, WOOLAPALOOZA!
And finding out that cash, checks and VISA are acceptable forms of payment!

"Oh, no!," says Michelle, "Don't let Ali see me with all this yarn!" Yeah, at first I only saw Michelle in the picture, but really. . .look at Alison's face! hahahahahahaha!
"All that and more," says Ali. "Sheesh! You really need to go on a yarn diet!"
"Nevahhhhh!," says Michelle, adding Cranberry Swirl to her pile! "Bwahahahaaaa!"
Then it's off to Creatively Dyed for browsing and fondling and general discussion of why the yarn should not be under the shirt until after the purchase. . .
Oh, and I couldn't help but take a picture of one of our Designated Photogs, (doing what else?) taking a shot at some little alpacas! awwwwwww!
But where are the pictures of Annie? And the Mingus? Is it at all possible that the Mingus stayed put away during the WOOL festival? Interesting. . . But even despite the absence of the Mingus, there are more yarn photos! So, without further adieu, I give you. . .Lamb's Pride in Cranberry Swirl and some ocean-y/teal-y color that did not photograph well in the sun! Two sweater's worth in wool!
And 50/50 wool/hemp (no photo, sorry!, denim heather) for another Market bag! Yay! And sock yarn ($3.50/foot!) in manly colors for big feet!
But I had come to the Fiber Show, the one I like to call WOOLapalooza, in search of cotton yarn, and was pretty disappointed that I didn't find much. . .so we stopped in town at Calla Lily, where everything was ON SALE!. . .like ON BIG, GINOURMOUS, FANTASTIC SALE!, and they had lots of cotton options! There was this blue, mercerized cotton. . .
And this tan Cotton/Linen blend. . .yummmm!
And this cotton, variegated number that I could not resist!. . .
So much yarn, and I want to go cast something new on RIGHT NOW! So, since this is a bonus post anyway, I am OUTTA HERE!
Knit in Good Health (with all your new yarn, if you got some, and I hope that you did!)!

Something Blue. . .

Yes, I had to finish the thought! And this is the Dawing of the Age of Aquarius. . .not really, but that is a great earworm! The Wollmeise is in the colorway Aquarius though, so I call this K1 B1 Shawl project "Dawning of the Age." get it? get it? And, it's blue. So, still no wedding, but the thought is finished! Yay! Oh, and here's a picture! And that is really all I have for you today. You see, today I will be frolicking about the fairgrounds in Wooster, enjoying the sights and sounds and textures and tastes of Woolapalooza! If you live close to Wooster, you should come check it out! There will be fiber in every form for show and for sale, and tools of the trade, too! Oh, and Pretty Knitty and her pretty friends will be there. . .look for us!

And if you can't make it, well, at least I hope you will have some time this weekend to Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Something Borrowed. . .

Wednesdays are for waxing poetic. . .apparently. . .and since we have started the "Something" theme, I will just continue with Something Borrowed. . .

And the thing I think I borrow the most is time.
Time is finite, even when it seems to go on forever, there is always an end. An end to the drive, and end to the day, an end to the vacation, an end to childhood, even an end to this life. Time is finite, but what we do with it can last through generations.

Time spent with children, quality time full of love and learning and life, creates kids who grow up knowing how to share their lives with others. Time spent with spouses, laughing and loving and living well, creates strong marriages. Time spent with extended families, aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents, creates an enriched experience and teaches future generations their heritage. Time spent with friends, who are the same and different, creates and defines a "me" I can love through my relationships with them.

Time spent together with people is finite, and we should always make the most of it, because we don't know how much time we have left. Make the most of your time by spending it wisely, and sometimes it seems like you get a little time back at the end of the day even! Yay!

I am thankful for the time I have, and for whatever time I have left. Each morning, I thank God for a brand new day and for another chance to spend time with the people around me. Being thankful keeps me from being overwhelmed by the trials and tribulations and the what-I-have-to-do-today, and it also helps me to remember that this life is not all about me, even when I think it should be! Thankful for time to spend is a good place to be.

And when I am in a good place, and I have enjoyed using my borrowed time on family and friends, do you know what else I like to do? That's right!. . .and I have been knitting quite a bit in my down time lately. I have knit on the Monk Sock #2. . .yay! I started sock #2! And I have turned the heel on sock #2! And I should finish sock #2 before the end of May! Yay!
And, because I have a lot of yarn to be thankful for, I am thankful for a recent bout of cast-on-itis that has resulted in the first half of a Shapely Tank Top! I am using the Araucania Ulmo Multy yarn that I got on my April field trip with the girls. As I start each new ball, I see that the color varies quite a bit (it is hand-dyed yarn, after all), and I probably should have alternated balls during the knitting, but I did not. So far, I love how it's coming out, even despite the color variation! I may add sleeves. . .I am pretty sure I will have enough for short, cap sleeves, but I have not made my final decision.
So, now that I have told you about the socks and the sweater, I am off to spend some more of my borrowed time in this life. . .in the meantime, I hope that you will Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Something New. . .

Due to some of the questions I got last week, I feel like I should clarify. There are no weddings in the immediate future for the Pretty Knitty family. But, now that I think about it, why not follow something old with something new? I mean, there really is no nostalgia in new (yet), but everything has to start somewhere!

So here's something new: I started the second Monk Sock yesterday! Yayyyyyyy! I WILL FINISH THE MAY SOCKS!!! Aaaand, I watched Ninja Assassin. . .well, I knitted through it anyway! I did not ask Hubster questions about the plot. . .since I was really not paying that much attention. . .but do note that this is not my general taste in movies.

Oh, and three other new things are the Brothers and Sisters sweaters that were finally finished yesterday! They turned out pretty cute!
I think that about covers the new stuff. We were going to go for a walk in the park again today, but then we looked up. . .yikes! Is that coming or going? Hard to tell for sure. . .

Well, a quick stop at the craft store to see where the weather is headed. . .I have a new jewelry/craft project in mind, but there are a few supplies I still need. . .

And then back to the car, where we decided to just go home rather than chance getting stuck in the rain. That's when the downpour started, but we were in the car. . .we got soaked (even with the umbrelly) just trying to get in the house! lol But the rain stopped after a while, so we did manage a quick walk in the neighborhood anyway!

All in all, it was a Pretty Lazy Saturday, lazier than usual, but it was good! There was knitting, and yarn winding (please don't ask about that tangled mess. . .I don't have a swift, and I DO have two cats - sigh!), and soon there will be television watching that involves far less blood than Ninja Assassin. . .Yay!

Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Something Old. . .

If you have been a reader for at least a few posts, you may have guessed this about me. I am nostalgic. . .I love that I have a past, and I love that I have things from my past to remind me where I come from. This is the same trait that makes me a wannabe "pack rat," so my loving husband is careful to help me in my endeavors to not collect and keep so many "memories" that we cannot move through our home! There are, however, some items that I still hang onto, getting around the pack rat issue by keeping these items in use, as much as I can! This is one of my favorites:
A shawl that my grandmother crocheted, my dad's mom, probably sometime in the 70s. It looks like a modified, triangular version of a granny square in design, and the yarn is some mohair-looking, fuzzy acrylic in blues and greens and oranges and browns. It goes with a lot. Well, I guess it would be more accurate to say that it did go with a lot. . .you know, in the 70s. The fringe dates it a little, the actual color dates it a little more, and the acrylic yarn (whose "fibers," in this case, actually look shiny and plastic) really dates the thing! But I still wear it. I actually wore it to work today, and I took these pictures when I arrived. This shawl is not particularly soft. . .as a matter of fact, I have a short-sleeved top on, and the yarn was pretty itchy againt my skin. And this shawl is not stunning in its stitchery. . .it's a pretty basic, double-crochet deal. . .with fringe. And this shawl does not make my friends envy my possesion of it. I even have some friends who will poke a little fun at me when I wear it. (Of course, there are some who also think that it is beautiful.) I love this shawl because my grandma made it. I love this shawl because this same grandma taught me to crochet granny squares, and she gave me yarn and hooks. I love this shawl because it helps me to remember that my grandma was not always the bitter old woman who lived with my family following a series of strokes, and generally interrupting my teenage years when I thought she really had no right to be there. This shawl represents the grandma that taught me yarn skills, and always had candy in the candy dish, and open arms for a hug when we visited. . .the grandma who took us on walks in the city, and shopping, and on a bus trip that one time to see the Passion Play in Pittsburgh (Father Marino on buses, oh my!). . .the grandma who had a little chihuahua named Tiny (before chihuahuas were fashionable), an old dog with no teeth left, that yipped and snapped at us while we dressed him up in doll clothes for a ride in the doll buggy. This shawl helps me to remember that grandma, and the pure love she lived for my sister, my cousins and me. As I wear the shawl today, I am struck (not for the first time) that perhaps it is not perfect as a fashion choice in 2010. So, I have taken some photos here, and I hope I can also find one of my grandma for the scrapbook later this week, and perhaps I will retire this old friend from my wardrobe. I love old things, I love good memories, and I love that perhaps someday, I will be the grandma. Until then, I will knit and crochet for the small and big people that happen through my life, casting on and stitching love into each knit and purl and single- and double-crochet.

And my family sometimes gets that. And sometimes not. You should see (and hear) me now as I knit random sleeves now to finish off the Brothers and Sisters Sweaters… “Look! I finished a sleeve!,” I shout during American Idol. And my family rolls their collective eyes, and the well-trained College Girl says, with eyebrows appropriately raised and head nodding, “That’s a niiiii-iice sleeve, Mom…it will look really good sewn in…but you could even just give away the sleeve, it is so well done…,” just before casting a knowing glance in her father’s direction…and I wait patiently, knowing for certain that today must be the day that “They’re coming to take me away!, Haha!, HoHo! HeeHee!…”

While I wait for the men in the white coats, I hope that you will
Knit in Good (mental) Health!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign. . .

Odd title for a post, I will admit, but signs have been on my mind today. . .I have pondered and pondered at my pondering pond, while wearing a shawl that reminds me to breathe, which is important for my general well-being, because sometimes I forget. . .and despite all the wandering run-on-sentence-ing my brain was doing there, this is what I have come up with: Signs are important!
Literal and figurative signs are important. Without literal signs, how would you know where to get gas for the car or the discount cookies for your cookie jar. . .you know, like at the WM store? I love the WM Store, and FYI, up until a few days ago, WM stood for Wal-Mart in my head. Yesssss, I know about that yarn. . .but I had never gotten my hands on it before, and it just had not "clicked" for me yet. That is, until Thursday. . .when Dawn brought with her the haul of WM that she had scored at the last update! There were two skeins in particular that I had my eye on, and my shopping-challenged self knew that it had but one chance at one of those! The teals are the very same ones that Michelle and I both lust after! In the end, this is the skein of WollMeise that I brought home with me! Yay!
One be-a-u-ti-ful skein, 520yds, of Aquamarine. . .soft and fragrant, as only WM yarn can be. With subtle variegation, visible only in the right light while in the skein. . .I may make another shawl. . .or a pair of lovely socks. . .or. . .or. . .the possibilities are endless! Dawn, you are a Wollmeise maven, and I love you for it! And now, this is my favorite, literal, WM sign:
Literal signs are good. They tell you where to find the good yarn, and on Saturday, they lead Mr. Pretty Knitty and I to the POPCPRN!:
Not so literal, the movie trivia (which we usually miss while we are in the popcorn line) is a sure sign that the movie will start soon! Do you know this answer?:
I have to admit that I did not automatically know that this thought originally came from Donkey (Eddie Murphy) in the first Shrek movie, but the answer made sense when the lady next to me said it in her a-little-too-loud-for-the-movie-theater voice! There's always one!

Speaking of "one," do you know what this is a sign of?
Yep! A single sock, top-down, past the heel and gusset decreases is a sign that there may be a second sock in the future for this one, my third attempt in the Monk yarn from the May sock kit! LOL I am really looking forward to finishing this pair! I feel like I have been working on it since early April! Oh. . .wait. . .I have! LOL!

And do you know what this is a sign of?
If you guessed that it's a sign that Mr. Pretty Knitty is ready to go for another long walk in the park, and he was ready to walk before Mrs. Pretty Knitty was ready, you win the prize! Well, except that there is no prize. . .it was just a walk. A nice walk. A long walk. A walk with two sizable hills and over 6 miles of trail. I guess the exercise was our prize. . .?

No! Wait! It was a busy day today, nay, a busy week even! For ending a flurry of activity with some good, old-fashioned exercise, I think we deserve a treat! Don't you, Mr. Pretty Knitty? Here's a sure sign of a blizzard in our town, even in the spring and summer!:
I hope that you find the signs when you need them, and that too many signs don't get you down. Above all, look for the signs that it's time to knit (or craft, or do what you like to do) every day. Oooooh! My feet hurt! Perhaps it's a sign. . .?

Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Monkey Business!

So, I am making sweaters for siblings. I am making them from some cream colored yarn (Pound of Love) and some brown, sock-monkey-type yarn (Vanna's Choice), which is called "taupe mist" but should totally be called "sock monkey"! My plan is to knit the fronts and back of each sweater, seam them and add button-bands and collar ribbing, then move on to the next. Partly because I am not sure how much the yarn will stretch (though I can get more), partly because I am not sure whether I want cream sleeves or sock monkey sleeves, and partly beacause I haven't yet decided how similar I want them all to be.

Of course, there is one other part to that as well. . .I really knew, in my heart-of-hearts, that these sweaters needed some sock-monkey buttons. . .and I knew what I wanted them to look like. . .but I could not find what I wanted anywhere. sigh! Sooo, on Mother's Day, because it was Mother's Day, and because I had spent time enjoying my family, and they had asked me what I wanted to do with the rest of the day (I don't get that question often). . .well, I told them that I love them, and that I really wanted to play with some polymer clay. . .and they understood (giant smiley-face here). . .and I made some buttons!
20 Monkey-Face buttons, with button-holes through their nostrils (ouch!), and glass seed-beads for their eyes and pom-poms!
I won't need twenty buttons for the three small sweaters, but I just could not stop myself once I got started. I mean, look at them! And look how cute down that first button band:
The buttons are a little big for the button holes on the bands, but yarn is so flexible that I am calling them a good fit! I don't know what I will do with the leftover buttons yet. . .but I am sure they will find a home. . .

I hope that your Mother's Day was as good as mine was this year, especially if you are a mom! And I hope that you got to see, or at least talk to, your mom over the weekend. And you know what this little monkey hopes? Well, he hopes that you will all knit in good health this week. . .and so do I!
Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Designing Women

I love Designing Women! I loved the TV show in the 80s, and I love the Designing Women that I have come to know throughout my life. I am also learning to really appreciate all the work that goes into knitting design lately. . .and here are a few of my favorite designing women:

Knitting Nonstop - A good friend that I first met on Ravelry, and now know in person. . .yay! She designs knitting patterns for very lovely sweaters, bags and SOCKS! You know how I love to knit socks! Oh, and she is (apparently) the master of the Woolmeisse purchase!

SpinDyeKnit - A good friend I met online, through her blog and on Ravelry. Always there with words of encouragement, even when her day is not going too well. On her blog, even her commenters make me laugh! And she designs the most beautiful lace shawls and scarves. . .I am enamored by her work!

Cozy Spirit Yarns - Can I just tell you again that I love Ravelry? I also know this designing woman from my online time there! Cozy designs and creates the cutest little, free-spirited critters (and she dyes luscious yarns - her color sense is amazing), and she has two etsy shops you can link to from her blog as well! This blog is a really Cozy place to hang out. :)

And this week, I became a Designing Woman myself! I talked in my last post about the shawl I have been working on for the Mothers of Soldiers group on Ravelry, and the design is finally finished (and I hope there are not too many mistakes!). If you would like a free copy, you can download it here, or there is a link on the right side of the blog page! Here is a finished pic of the scarf I made from this pattern in bulky Malabrigo Rasta, the color is "Abril". Yummm!
And, since I seemed to be on a roll, I uploaded another free pattern as well! Remember the Christmas Mittens I made this January? Well, I had written up that pattern in this post, but now you can also download it here!

I am pretty proud of myself, and I am so happy to share with you! (Still figuring out how to link the patterms in my sidebar. . .they are over there, but I know there is a better way. . .bear with me!) I hope to design more patterns eventually. . .it's so fun to make something exactly like I see it in my brain! The writing of the pattern is a little tedious, but even that part is enjoyable. . .omgosh! I think I just found myself another hobby. . .! Aaaargh! When am I gonna knit? LoL! Who am I kidding, knitting is like jello. . .and there's always room for jello!

Thanks for stopping by, and. . .
Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

From Top to Toes. . .

Or from Toes to Top. . .whichever way you look at it, this week has started out well! Let's start with the toes. . .actually the feet. . .which, by the way, are very happy. See the new shoes they got last week? They waited to tell you about them, because although the shoes are very pretty, when they arrived, the shoes were a bit snug. The feet, however, remained optimistic, and upon the third wearing, they are totally in love with the blue sandals that are on their way to being broken in perfectly. :-) The feet totally look forward to showing off in these all summer long!All the way up to the neck now, which is almost eager for the return of winter, that it might be graced by the beautiful and bulky, Malabrigo scarf in deep and rich purples and blues. The neck never felt more like singin' the blues. . .aaand the purples. . .in such a good way! Love this yarn, love the pattern (variation of the K1, B1 lace from last week's post), love the knitting, can't wait to wear the scarf!The neck hopes that summer goes fast. The rest of the Pretty Knitty self says, "Shut up, Neck!" The neck and head take comfort in the K1, B1 variation that has become a kerchief. The head looks forward to sporting this piece in the wind, to help avoid tangles and tame the tresses. It's made of wool, but very open, and the Kerchief's super power seems to be it's ability to keep the hair in it's Pretty Knitty place, while enjoying the open air!
Do you have any summer plans? I bet that you are anxious to get started on them! Pretty Knitty is ever hopeful that summer is on it's way, and that all of her readers continue in the meantime to Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Well, It's Official. . .

M&M's should stop messing with the perfect candy! I tried Coconut M&Ms today, on a whim, because I like coconut and I like M&Ms, and I like chocolate and coconut together. Unfortunately, they do not make the grade. . .in my class at least!
Luckily, when College Girl was buying me candy today, I also got a back-up. . .Almond Joy still rocks! So glad I had it!
Why was College Girl buying her dad and I candy today? Well, today was the day that we drove to her dorm and picked up all of this and more:
Her semester ends with her last final this coming week, so she just kept the essentials, and we brought the rest home with us. . .because, you know, we're pretty good parents! We are even getting used to the fact that this is our last "empty nest" weekend for awhile. . . I was actually looking forward to the drive so that I could get some test knitting done today:
I am working on a shawl pattern for the Mothers of Soldiers Group over on Ravelry. The photo above highlights the bottom-up, triangle version of the pattern (in Sock-Ease), and the photo below shows some detail of the top-down, rounded- bottom version (in Maizy). I have been working on the charts for the past few days, and I think I got it! Yay!
When I am sure that the pattern is good, I will try to get it out there for everyone. It's a pretty lace repeat, and couldn't every knitter use a pattern that reminds him or her to keep breathing? I mean, we all go through tough stuff, and major life changes, and sometimes we forget to breathe. . .never a good idea! I kept thinking about that as I watched yet another bride get ready for her big day yesterday, and it was a lovely wedding. . .and everyone remembered to breathe!
And tomorrow, I get to attend a bridal shower for one of the girls at church. I know her parents well, and I know her and her fiance. . .it will also be a lovely wedding this summer!

Still working on the socks in Monk yarn. . .started a third time. . .this time with my trusty bamboo DPNs (always my favorite option) and top-down. I always come back to this. . .I can hardly believe that it took me soooo long to just abandon both the pattern and the metal, magic loop needle! lol And now, off to post this and knit some more. . .and maybe watch a little Dirty Dancing. . .I love the "classics"!

Knit in Good Health!