Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cat Interrupted

Pretty: I am super busy again, guys. Would you be dear cats, and write me a blog post, puh-leazzze? Pretty Please, with a chocolate covered mouse on top...

Cat 1: Really?!? Can't you see that
Crochet Dude is on? I mean, I DVR-ed this weeks ago, and I am just now sitting down to enjoy it. . .could you have picked a worse day?

Pretty: Hmmm, I guess not. What about you? I see that you're not watching TV, or really doing anything right now...and I really have to get going on my costume for Trunk or Treat at the church tonight...

Cat 2: Can't. Bath. Be gone with you.Pretty: (sigh!) Well, I guess that's that then. No blog today. (sigh!)

Cat 1: Ack! Why does she always do that?
I can't take the guilt! Meooohhh! The GUILT!

Cat 2: I'm fine. You just do what you gotta do. (struts off, indignant)

Cat 1:'re such a big help. Fine, I'll just do it myself. It'll be better that way anyhow.

Pretty: Thanks! You're the best. (turning to where Cat 2 was) You, notsomuch...(Pretty then runs off to goodness-knows-where, and the cats suspect that they won't see her for some time.)

Cat 1: OK, let's do this thing. This is what it looks like where we live. That Halloween thing is coming up, and it's cold. It's fun to watch the leaves fall outside the window, but the black cat...well, let's just say that she thinks this is her own personal holiday...yeah, she's (in air quotes with her little white paws) "SPECIAL" this time of year. Give me a break!

And over here, this is what Pretty came home with after her knitting group this week. Seriously? Like she needs more yarn...knitting is stupid... I mean, knitting just lays around all day, waiting to have it's picture taken...who has time for that?!? Oh, wait...I guess I just volunteered myself to have time for that. (bangs kitty-head against table, mumbling, "Stupid knitting...stupid knitting...")Now, as I previously told Pretty, it's time for my show. Be gone with you. Hello Drew...and your beautiful-and-non-demanding crochet...Mrrrowwww!Pretty (to Cat 1): Thanks! You are the best, my precious calico!
And to the rest of you, thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health! (But try to keep the candy away from the cashmere and the cashmere away from the cats! Trust me...)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Autmn Days

I'm finally starting to settle into the Autumn feel of things in my neck of the woods. So are Grampa and Peanut, seen here in a local park:That guy I love. . .he loves to be outside. He loves to be moving around. He loves to be with Peanut! (And she loves him, and being outside, and moving around, too!) Me? Notsomuch. I love knitting and crafts of all kinds. I need Grampa and Peanut in my life, to remind me to occasionally get my butt off the sofa, if I have any hope of maintaining my recent weight loss. I need to maintain (and continue) that weight loss if I have any hope of fitting into this new sweater for longer than a nano-second!It still needs buttons, but they are purchased and their positions carefully marked, while the sweater awaits a soak in wool-wash to soften it up a bit and block out that beautiful patterning. I absolutely love this new sweater, and I can't wait to wear it!...but I will not wear it when I am working with polymer clay. . .like when I made the bees! By the way, in case you were wondering, here's what I did with the bees and their hives:It's a special order (three counters and three sets of stitch markers), and I shipped it off to the UK yesterday. I love that Pretty Knitty Jewelry has gone international! I do not love that shipping overseas doesn't come with inexpensive shipping confirmation, so I always worry until I hear from the recipient that their items have arrived. . .while I wait and worry, I craft. You know about the knitting, and you also know about the clay. I know that I've talked about sewing as well, and here is my next sewing project:Shopping Cart Covers for Peanut, so that her mommy doesn't have to worry about the baby sucking on the cart when the two are shopping! Bonus! - they also cover restaurant high-chairs. :o) For a very active, and very social Peanut, these are going to come in very handy! But for today, she doesn't want to go shopping or out to eat. Today, Peanut wants to be outside, in the fresh-and-cool fall breezes!So that's where she is! Look at that happy baby! Look at those fall colors! Swing, Peanut! Higher! Yayyyy!

Thanks for stopping by! When you're not outside, enjoying good weather and being active, I hope that you will be Knitting in Good Health!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Underestimating Everything

Underestimating how long it takes to read a magazine or knit a sweater. . .
. . .and also underestimating how long it takes to do just about everything else on my plate, including blogging! Here I am, just for a minute, to say hello and that I am still here and still crazy busy. . .I look forward to a longer post on Wednesday, but for now, this is about all I've got time for on this busy, busy Saturday.

Thanks for stopping by, and please feel free to stop into the shop to take a "looky-loo" at my funtimes in Polymer Clay. Oh, and Knit in Good Health, my Friends!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Like a Bad Penny?

This seems to be the blog post of poor picture-taking. Just like a bad penny, my sub-standard self sometimes shows up to the shoot. The photographic-genius in me knows intuitively that good pictures are all about the lighting and inspiration for the shot. . .the rest of me knows that the sun is coming up later and later, and going down earlier and earlier. The timing of taking pictures does not always coincide with lovely light streaming in the windows, and with all the cloudy-rainy we have been experiencing lately, it's even worse. That explains this photo of my lovely DIL, Wifey-Poo:I mean, you have seen other photos of her, and you know that she is a lovely young lady. Even in the bad lighting here, she is lovely in her new hat. Please forgive me, DIL!. . .and I hope that the rest of you will please excuse my bad picture. (What was I thinking standing her in front of a bright window? I was thinking that I had better take the picture before I forgot!) So, there it is, another bulky hat, and I think there will be another pattern, but not this week.

This week, I am desperately knitting to finish a sweater that I want to wear soon, because it keeps getting colder and colder outside! On Sunday, I finished the fronts, and stitched up the shoulders and side seams, so sleeves are all I have left!You can see from the pictures (even though I used a flash that washed things out, and I am really bad at the cell-phone self-portraits that are so popular in social media) that this one is going to be a good fit, and I am pretty excited about that, especially since I didn't swatch! We talked about swatching at knit-night last week, and there are definitely two camps in the land of swatching. . .I do not generally swatch, but I don't hold it against anyone who does. After all, swatchers stitch more sweaters that actually fit, in general. . .and if I were teaching Peanut to knit, I would suggest swatching sweaters (do as I say, not as I do?).

Hats, on the other hand, may not require a swatch. Knit from the bottom up, the hats I knit usually fit the heads they are intended for, but I have had a few mishaps here and there (I actually cast on my first bulky hat 5 times to get the right circumference, and even then I didn't include gauge in the pattern at all. Swatching might have saved some time there, but I'm pretty stubborn.) On these hats, no swatch:These are hats for Sweetie and/or Snake. Sweetie has started wearing the gray one (Yay!, but no picture proof), and I don't know if he will really be interested in the tan one, but I know that Snake likes the hat I made him in 2009. . .perhaps it's time for him to have another? But I honestly don't know where I will find the time to knit more hats for the boys. The shop is taking off, and there's a lot of buzz over there these days! Wait, there IS a lot of buzzing. . .what could that be?!?Ohhhhh! It's the bees! I have been working on a custom order for a beekeeper who knits (a knitter who keeps bees?), and she requested bees and hives, but not the fat, yellow bumbles. . .please could she have bees that look more like honey bees, with a longer body, and more subdued colors? Apparently my answer was yes, because there are bees all over my house now (luckily, these are sting-free, polymer clay bees), waiting to be crafted into counters and markers! I had a lot of fun making these, and I think I will have a few extra to put into the shop - Yay!

As usual, my Pretty Knitty Life has been full of Love and Laughter in this season. I look forward to our visits each week, and and I hope that you are looking for (and finding) joy in each day.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Discoveries, New and Old

I went into the attic this week. I was looking for holiday decorations, and I discovered this stuff:Pumpkins and a hay bale, made from leftover fleece for the Trunk-or-Treat event at church last year. Our car was a pun'kin patch last October. This year, well I have told a couple people, but I want it to be a little bit of a surprise this year, so I'm not sayin' here. wink! For now, these make great plush toys for Peanut!

I also discovered this week that I can create a bulky hat pretty quick if I hunker down and just do it. . .and here it is:A red hat for Wifey-Poo, to match (hopefully) the scarf she got last year from Old Navy. It went fast, even though I did some cables! I think it turned out pretty well, and (apparently) Dolly Draft Dodger agrees.By the way, Dolly Draft Dodger is an item that I crocheted long ago. . .I don't have any of the stats, it was before I was on Ravelry. I borrowed a crochet pattern book from a friend, and then I returned it. I searched the internets for a pattern or information to share with you, but unfortunately, I came up with very little.

Also unfortunate, while searching I came across some unsavory and unsafe websites! Who knew that "crochet pattern" was actually code for "I wanna find a new virus or trojan to infect my computer!"? Anyway, word to the wise, no matter what you are searching for, be cautious and surf safe on the world-wide web!

Something else I searched for this week was a toy company that I used to know and love. Home-based sales is generally how Discovery Toys distributes its quality products. I went looking for things for Peanut and her parents, based on my memories of the quality toys I had purchased from home parties when my own kids were small. This is what I ordered (and it arrived on Thursday!):Sounds Like Fun CD (with songs on it that I am currently singing from memory to Peanut every time she is over, so she needs this, right?); Measure Up Cups (this is mostly for a bath toy right now, as Gramma and Grampa don't yet have a lot of bath toys, but we are working on it!); and Boomerings Links (great for attaching toys to the stroller/carseat, now that she has learned how to play "drop-it-to-see-if-they-will-pick-it-up" quite proficiently!). The links were the reason I sought out Discovery Toys online, these were the best ones I ever had for our kids, and I want only the best for Peanut! Now that we have them, I can't wait to play! I'm a little bummed to find that I don't have a local consultant, I like to support good companies (and their home-based reps) when I can. . .for now, I suppose I will order online and just keep talking them up. They make great toys!

Lastly, I discovered on Thursday evening that I DO have a hope of finishing my Drift Cardigan at some point before the ice and sn*w start falling over our little corner of the world! Here is where I am on the fronts: Quite a bit further than I was the last time I blogged them! I have started my armhole and neckline shaping, and I have overcome a couple of good-sized errors, but I am finally feeling as though I may indeed finish this sweater! Yay! Of course, that is provided that I don't have to drop it before I discover that Christmas is upon us. . .wait. . .ACKKK!!! CHRISTMAS IS RIGHT AROUND MY KNITTING CORNER!

Well, apparently I just discovered that Christmas is coming, faster than we ever think it will, it always seems to be making it's way 'round the bend, so I better get to the knitting! Sorry to sign off so soon, but I'm sure glad you stopped by to say hello!

Knit (like-the-wind-for-Christmas) in Good Health!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Counting Sheep, and Writing Patterns

Another busy week in the land of Pretty! There is a BIG ORDER in the shop, and I did not have enough inventory to fill it, so I was up late creating and counting sheep and birds (animosity abounds in Pretty's poly-clay!) for two nights already this week! (Now they are glazed and drying, waiting to be fit with their findings and made into beautimous knitting jewelry!)Pretty's birds were featured in a treasury last week (squee!), and business is picking up! There are plans afoot for more charms and beads and row counters for the winter and spring, so keep checking into the shop often!

In Knitting Knews, you have heard that there are Scarfies, and Mittens and Hats (oh, my!) in the making for the girls in Pretty's family, and I have been hard at work on those as well! Here is my latest cast on hat, to match a scarf Wifey-Poo already has in her wardrobe. I am knitting it on size 11 (8mm) DPNs that I have from my Grandma's stash of knitting tools! They are long, and a bit cumbersome, but I imagine her using them, and I just love them. . .so far, I like how the hat is working up as well! Maybe I will get around to writing up the pattern?
Maybe, Maybe not! Right,
Corrie?After all, this hat and scarf turned out really well! Here it is on the intended recipient:I just LOVE that Dollface gets a knitted gift, and she runs right into the bathroom to try it on, adjust and primp, and admire it in the mirror! It does a knitting mom's heart good!And I even love it when she rolls her eyes at all the photo ops she is forced to endure, posing in a pout, just like the supermodel she is at heart!This pattern I did write up, and it is SUPER easy! I know there must be similar patterns out there, but why not add another to the mix? I hope that some of you can use it! Before I pass it along, let me just take a moment to say, as always:

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!


Bulky Hat and Scarf in Northland Snowfall

Needles: 10.5 (6.5mm) for hat; 13 (9.0mm) for scarf
Yarn: Northland Snowfall, or similar bulky yarn
Gauge: I am a bad knitter, I did not really measure gauge, but my daughter's head is on the medium/large size, and this hat was made roomy, to accommodate lots of hair piled up in a bun on top of her noggin.

The HAT:
(Size 10.5 needles)

Cast on 48 sts (using a very stretchy cast on) and join to knit in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.
K2, P2 around for 5 rounds.

Increase for body, or "making room for all that hair":
Knit one round, increasing 8 sts evenly around (56 sts).
Knit one round.
Knit one round, increasing 8 sts evenly around (64 sts).
Knit 22 rounds in Stockinette (knit every round). Hat should be approx. 6.5-6.75" long.
If you don't have a lot of hair, or you have a smaller head, you can get away with as few as 15-16 rounds of Stockinette, which is how I would knit this hat for myself, or for my DIL.

Decrease for crown:
Knit 6, K2tog around (56 sts).
Knit one round.
Knit 5, K2tog around (48 sts).
Knit one round.
Continue decreasing in this manner until you have 16 sts.

***K2tog around (8 sts).***
This round is optional. You can stop with 16 sts and finish off, if you like.

Draw yarn through remaining stitches twice, and fasten off, weaving ends to inside of hat at cast on edge and top of crown.
The hat pictured above took just about 1.25 balls of the Snowfall yarn, then I added a little tassel-thingie (after the photo shoot) at Dollface's request. Embellish at will!

Easy, no? The scarf is just as easy! Read on!

(Size 13 needles)

Reversible Cable is worked over 4 sts, continuing the pattern of K1, P1 IN THE CABLE.
Step 1: Place two sts on cable needle held to the front
Step 2: Knit 1, Purl 1
Step 3: Working the two sts from the cable needle, Knit 1, Purl 1

Cast on 16 sts, and work K1, P1 rib for 6 rows.
Row 7: *Work reversible cable, (K1, P1)x2, and repeat from *
Rows 8-12: K1. P1 across
Row 13: *(K1, P1)x2, work reversible cable, and repeat from *
Rows 14-18: K1. P1 across
Repeat rows 7-18 until the scarf is as long as you like.
(I used two 50 gram balls of snowfall for my scarf, and it is approx 60" long.)

Bind off in K1, P1 pattern and weave in ends.

Now, put on your hat and scarf, and be warm!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Drifting Along. . .

Adrift still, and really kind of enjoying it. I love this tormented teal colorway that I snatched from my dear friend at Woolapalooza last year, and I am not feeling at all guilty about it...well, maybe just a little? Still, it's mine! All mine! And I love the way the sweater is coming out!

I have finished the back, and despite a few slowdowns and interruptions along the way, I am now about halfway into the front pieces. I really prefer to knit sweaters in pieces. . .I know it's a little bizarre, but there is nothing more satisfying than a perfectly set in sleeve, and I love to set in sleeves and seam sweaters. So, while I could've knit this sweater in the round (and I have knit sweaters in the round, and I will probably knit my next sweater in the round), this one is knit in pieces. I like the way a seamed sweater maintains it's structure, even if the knitted fabric tends to stretch, the sweater does not (so much as it might if it were knit in the round).

Now, I don't think the pattern on Drift would be prone to much stretching, but you never know. . .I have never knit or worn a sweater of Lambs Pride before, so I am a newbie on that. . .we will see how it goes, and we will do our best to never even let this stuff be in the vicinity of the washing machine. Soak, Soak, Soak, all the way, or we will have a nice piece of felt with sleeves, or so I am told. . .and this knitting is way to pretty to felt!
So, no felting for me in the near future. Check! It does leave one question, tho. . .what is in my near future? Well, probably another Hat for the Hubs! (BTW, I really did finish the gray/blue one...really, I did! There are no pictures because Sweetie is a little camera shy. Look back, when you see him here in the blog, it's either his back, OR he is just an accessory for Peanut! I'm still trying to get that shot, tho! Wish me luck!)

So that's where I am. . .adrift in a sea of yarn. . .in all weights and fibers. . .waiting to be made into all manner of garments and accessories. Watch this space for upcoming Christmas stockings, and lots of cold-weather gear! Winter is just waiting on the heels of lovely Autumn, so my needles are a'clickin' every day! I hope that you are planning warm and cozy things wherever you call home as well.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hot to trot!

Hmmm, maybe I should rethink that post title. . .but how can I?!? Check out my new socks, a friend's beautiful pattern (Lace Medallion Socks) in Destination Yarn, colorway Bonfire. . .they are HOT, HOT, HOT!!!, (and on my feet, they will trot, trot, trot!).But wait!, there's more! In the rush of finishing these socks, and crocheting an afghan for a friend's wedding last week, I also had a tiny breakdown in the yarn purchasing department of my brain. . .you know, the part of my brain that reminds me regularly how much yarn I currently have stashed about my tiny house. . .the same part of my brain that reminds me that yarn is not a good toy for a baby, and that yarn in-and-of-itself is not a "fine gift" for every single person I know. . . Yeah, that part was apparently broken, because I bought this: That's right, behold the giant box o'bulky, acrylic yarn!!! I needed an entire box of bulky acrylic yarn (really, no really, I DID!) because Dollface, Wifey-Poo and Peanut need warm hats and scarves for the cold that is surely coming to our corner of the world. Dollface was up first. . .she wanted a hat that was roomy enough to fit not only her ample idea-factory, but also that full bun she piles on her brain to keep the hair outta her face every day. . .but after I finished the hat (the first time), and she put it on, we all decided that it was too small. . . Sooo, we tried the hat on another noggin, just for kicks. . ."Take it off, Gramma! This hat is too big for Peanut!," said the smartest baby on the planet, my granddaughter.In true knitterly fashion, I took the hat from the baby, and I ripped back the crown (even the cutie-patootie, little bobble at the top), and I added more rows to contain the whole of her head and hair to make it a just right fit (I hope!). I haven't had the chance yet to try it on Dollface, but I did find a willing model for both the hat and the scarf this morning. . .what d'ya think?For the most part, I am pleased with this set, and I think my Dolly Draft Dodger is as well. (She says she needs a scarf and hat because dodging winter drafts is cold work!) Here are a couple of closer shots of the hat and the scarf to help you see the wonderful texture of the yarn (Northland Snowfall). It's a three ply, with one white chenille-y strand and two hairy brown strands. There is a slight halo, and both pieces are quite fluffy! If you look at the picture closely, you can see that I used different size needles for each piece. . .10.5US (6.5mm) for the hat, and 13US (9mm) for the scarf. I wanted the hat to be a tighter knit, to help keep some of the wind out, but to also still be pretty fluffy. . .the scarf is really fluffy! Overall, I am pleased with how both pieces turned out, and I even have a little yarn leftover! I think Dolly Draft Dodger likes them, too!
I wonder how I will pry them off to give them to Dollface. . .oh well, I guess that's a worry for another day. Also, for another day, I hope to write up the pattern for this hat and reversible cable scarf. . .but not today. This day is for knitting, and I hope that you get some knitting time today as well. :o)

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Finished, almost finished, and not even close...

This has been a busy week. It's been a busy month. Heck, since I became a Gramma and a new mother-in-law in the past 6 months, it's been a busy year! Still, there is always a project begging for my attention! Like these socks, almost finished, and clearly destined to be one of my favorite pairs. . . . . .and this afghan, on which I worked diligently, determined to create a masterpiece in under a week. . .it's now finished!But my best, and favoritest project so far has to be this one. . .it's a knitter in the making! I mean really, just look at the way she is reaching out for that raw, natural fiber. . .hmmm, maybe she'll spin, too! And, since I just purchased this book:Well, I am sure that she will be knitting as soon as she can hold those pointy sticks (without fear of impaling something or someone. . .fine motor skills are of the utmost importance here)! This is the project I'm not even close to finishing, but I'm ok with that. She has time to learn, and I am pretty sure that our future will see us shopping for yarn and fiber together. . .I love the optimism born of time spent with a new baby. . .anything is possible!!!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!