Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays!

So, what do you do when you realize that you started the year with 17 WIPs; have completed 58 projects during the course of the year; and look to end the year with 20 projects (more than you started the year with!) still on the needles?

Well, if you're anything like me, that's the perfect time to cast on 3 new projects LOL.

Jenn spied the Annemor 11 gloves I made last year and decided she wanted a pair like them in browns to match her winter coat. How could I resist casting on a pair of gloves for my daughter, who will hardly ever let me make her anything because she "doesn't like knitted things"? Obviously I couldn't resist. I only cast them on last night and I'm almost to the fingers of the first glove. This pair seems to be knitting up much faster than the pair I made myself.

I ordered 2 Hanne Falkenberg kits at the beginning of December. Never mind that I still have a Mermaid kit and Ping Pong kit sitting downstairs in the craft room that I got almost 2 years ago that I haven't cast on yet. I got a note from the distributor that they were on order and would be shipped as soon as they came in. I couldn't wait. My fingers were itching to knit up some lovely shetland yarn and the fairisle projects I had in the works just weren't cutting it. I dragged out the Mermaid kit from 2 years ago and finally cast on.

I am so enchanted with this colorway. It is going to be a really fun jacket!!

Of course, as soon as I cast on the Mermaid, my order arrived from Cucumberpatch! I've always been a sucker for new yarn, so of course you know I couldn't pass up the opportunity to cast on a second Hanne Falkenberg. I am just as enamored of this colorway and it should prove to be quite a fun jacket too! This pattern is Solo. The second kit I ordered this time around was Plisse. Good thing casting on Solo took the edge off the frantic obsession with starting new projects.

There has been progress on the fairisle project this past 10 days too. I finished the front of the Sipalu bag, picked up the 240 provisional cast on stitches, and am starting on the back now.

Emily's Gloves have a pinky!! I really love the colors I chose for this pair of gloves. I will definitely make myself a pair in the same colors during 2009.

Discovering that I now have 23 WIPs is a bit daunting. It's sad that some of them were on the WIP list at the end of 2007 (one is even from 2006!). I've created what will hopefully be a fun way to get some of these completed in 2009. And, if not fun for me, should at least prove entertaining for those who read this blog. Can I actually stick to this plan? Do I really have the willpower not to cast on something until I'm technically allowed to? Only time will tell.

I found a nifty little equation which will randomly choose from a list in Excel. Each time I open the spreadsheet, it will randomly choose something from my list of WIPs. This will be the project I must finish before moving on to anything else. Now, we all know that I cannot be monogomous to a project, so I've decided to make this a bit easier for me. Each time I use the random project finder, I will be allowed to choose 2 other projects to work on at the same time. The catch is that if I finish those first, I won't be able to knit on anything else until the main project is finished, so I'd better choose wisely. And, because for some strange reason, making the decision to work only on projects already started makes me want to cast on new ones that much more, I've decided that for every 2 projects on this list completed, I can cast on something new as one of my "other" chosen projects next time I use the random project finder.

I'm really quite thrilled with the first project that came up. I get to work on Solo! For my other 2 projects, I've decided to work on the gloves for Jenn and Emily. Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A bit of progress, and a package received!

I'm still a bit addicted to that new Diablo mod, and the holiday parties/get togethers are still filling up my calendar, so knitting content is a bit slim.

I did make some progress on Emily's gloves. I can't wait til I get to the next fairisle bit so I can quit turning them inside out to show the pattern.

The Sipalu bag continues to grow, although slower than I had anticipated. I realized the other day that this whole time I have been knitting it using the wrong size needles lol. Oh well, a bit smaller bag isn't such a bad thing. At least there's less room to lose my keys!

I received my first SP13 package this weekend! My wonderful pal sent me a skein of yarn she had dyed for me. I love the colors and can't wait to finish one of the projects I'm working on now so I can cast something on with it.

Along with the yarn, she sent some buttons and some beads. Both will come in handy for projects I have sitting on the back burner right now.

Jenn and I finished up our last bellydance class last night. Well, not our last forever, just the last of this session. The next session doesn't start until mid January, so for a few weeks I'll be able to visit a local crochet group that meets on Mondays.

Hopefully in my next post I'll be able to point to some photos taken at the hafta (party) our dance group had this past Saturday night. It was my first and was a ton of fun. Can't wait til I can actually put some of these moves I'm learning together and dance with the others!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Actually made time for some knitting!

With holiday shopping and parties, too much time spent at work, getting absorbed in other crafts, and of course, the new Diablo mod being released, there hasn't been as much time for knitting as I usually have. I did manage to get a few things worked on this week though.

First, we have a little something special for Emily (my holiday purse swap partner), who sent me so much yarn I'll be in fair isle heaven for quite some time. I wanted to make her something from the yarn she sent, so I pulled out my copy of "Knitting Fair Isle Mittens and Gloves" and picked out a pattern I haven't yet knitted. Below is a photo of one completed cuff. That's only one evening's worth of knitting, so I think these will be done shortly after the holidays are over.

I also made some time to work on the Sipalu Bag (the pattern Emily sent with all that yarn). It's on dpns now as the stitch count was getting a bit too small for the circulars I had in the correct size. Even though this doesn't seem to be growing much, it's a fairly quick knit considering what little amount of time I've spent on it this past week.

I also pulled out the Ewe Jest Bag and added the handles finally. Found some really cheesy earrings while out shopping and thought they would make a nice accent on the bag. This bag will get a lot of use since the green is a color I really like to accent with in my wardrobe.

Not so sure about these handles now that I've attached them. I'm not particularly impressed with the way they look. I'll give it a go for a bit, but might change them out.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Catch Up Post

Although this post is a bit photo intensive, I haven't been able to do much knitting or crocheting the past couple of weeks. For 3 weeks straight I put in a lot of overtime at work, and when I say a lot I mean 15-20 hours average per week. There wasn't much time to anything except work, eat, and try to catch a couple hours of sleep before starting it all over again. I put in so much overtime, I was able to take this past week (Mon-Wed) off work and won't notice any decrease in my next paycheck.

Before all that started, I finished up the bellydance hip scarf I was crocheting. It was a big hit at practice.

I also finished the crocheting portion of a bellydance halter. Beaded fringe will be added when I have enough time to string beads. I'm also going to make some kind of beaded tie to pull the front pieces together a bit. Even if I had something to hang out of this halter, I'm not so sure I'd want THAT much of it hanging out lol.

If I can find enough of the yarn, I'm thinking about making a skirt and gauntlets to match the halter.

I also finished the Swirly Girl socks! I love these so much. The yarn is so soft and yummy and the pattern was great fun to knit.

This past week I received 2 swap packages!

First was the holiday purse swap. My partner was great! She sent me tons of goodies and a great purse pattern.

The gigantic chocolate covered pretzels didn't last very long.

Aren't these stitch markers beautiful? I'm just about to the point where I can use them in my pattern.

Emily sent me the Sipalu bag kit from Knit Picks! I've been eyeing this pattern for quite awhile and I can't believe I actually received 17 balls of yarn in this swap! The colors are gorgeous and I couldn't resist casting on already.

Just finished the side panel and am about to start working on the front portion.

I bought myself the same pattern and yarn (in different colors) that I sent to Emily, and made this felted bag this week. I had these handles in my craftroom and think they will work great once the bag is dried and I've put the finishing embellishments on it.

The second swap package I received was from the Toy swap. My partner sent me 2 great toys. Isn't the bear adorable?

Also in the package was some knitting needles, a craft magazine from Australia, some fabric with turtles on it, 2 balls of really soft and silky yarn, and some sweets.

Now excuse me while I go kill some stuff ... there's a new mod out for Diablo :o)

Friday, November 14, 2008

SP13 - 24 Questions

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I love natural fibers. Right now I am especially liking silk and linen blends. About the only thing I don't care for is 100% acrylic that squeaks on my needles.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? Does storing them in WIPs count :o) I have a couple of sets that came in cases. Circulars I store in one of these holders that hang on the wall. My crochet hooks are mostly stored in a felted holder I made, and all the rest pretty much get thrown into whichever knitting bag I'm not currently using.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I've been both knitting and crocheting for over 20 years. I'd consider my skill level advanced, although there are always new techniques and tricks to learn.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? You can find my Amazon wish list here.

5. What's your favorite scent? I love lavendar, lilac, and light citrusy scents.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but chocolate covered pretzels are my downfall.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I love sewing my own clothes, and beading/jewelry making. I have a spindle, and would love to spin, but I just don't seem to have the patience for it.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) Both my computer and my phone can play MP3s. I am a soft jazz junky (Nils, Rick Braun, Sade)

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? I love most colors, but purples are my favorites. I'm not overly fond of orange unless it's a really warm autumnal shade.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I am married, and three of four adult children still live at home. The family pet is a border collie/lab mix named Doppler.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? I love scarves, hats, and mittens/gloves. Rarely wear ponchos, but mostly because I haven't taken the time to make the ones I was really drawn to.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I knit a bit of everything except baby items (no babies to knit for). I seem to knit more sweaters and mittens/gloves than anything else though.

13. What are you knitting right now? Currently on the needles are 4 pair of socks, 2 bags, a felted turtle, a tank top, 2 cardigans, 2 pullovers, and a shawl. I am also crocheting a bellydance halter, a cami, an afghan, a shawl, and a vest.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? I LOVE handmade gifts.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Both straights and circulars have their uses, but I seem to use my circs most often. I have a set of Denise needles that I use quite often, and a set of KP Harmony needles that I adore. I don't much care for aluminum knitting needles, but I do use aluminum crochet hooks. I've just started using bamboo crochet hooks and I love them.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? I own both.

17. How old is your oldest UFO? I hate to admit that one of the cardigans currently on the needles is approaching it's second year.

18. What is your favorite holiday? What winter holiday do you observe? Same answer to both ... Christmas.

19. Is there anything that you collect? Besides yarn and pattern books? LOL I collect lighthouse figurines and novelty tape measures.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I subscribe to Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, and Rowan. I'm considering a subscription to Verena. I keep meaning to buy Knit Couture: 20 Hand-Knit Designs from Runway to Reality, but never seem to get around to it. I'm ashamed to admit that I've never knit with Malabrigo, but I'd love to give it a whirl on the needles.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I've never done double knitting, and would like to one day.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I knit a lot of socks. My foot is 8 1/2" long and 7" circumfrence

23. When is your birthday? March 21

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID? On Ravelry I am HerHeart.

Monday, November 3, 2008

November Goals and other miscellaneous odds and ends

I just had to share my daughter in her Halloween costume! Isn't she cute? Paul took her out back for a photo shoot in the dark to try out the night setting on his camera, and told her that ladybugs eat leaves. She was happy to oblige with this pose LOL.

November will hopefully prove to be quite productive on the WIP front. Of course, we all know I tend to think I can knit more than I actually can in the short timespan of a month. But, you know, that last day of the month seems to be so far off on the first, I just don't seem to be able to help myself.

First off, I am planning to finish the Swirly Girl socks. I am really liking this pattern, and the yarn I chose for it. The green is a wonderful merino sock yarn I purchased this past summer in Atlanta. The dyer can be found on Etsy (LotusYarns). I plan to purchase more of her yarn. It's been a dream to work with and I really like the colors. The contrast I am using is Claudia Handpaints' Fingering silk/merino.

Next on the list of WIPs I would like to finish in November is the Rose Wrap Shell. I finally got all the pieces put together and added the edging. All that's left is to weave in the seventybazillion and one ends, add the ribbon ties to the inside, and add buttons. If I don't go completely nuts weaving in ends, this should be done this upcoming weekend.

I didn't get the Dragon Scale Gauntlets finished in October, but they were my first FO of November. I like the pattern, but I'm thinking a solid color yarn would have been a better choice for this project.

I began the needle felting on the too small Ravenna Satchel yesterday while watching football. I didn't get very far, but I plan to spend some quality time with it this weekend. The ladies in the KAL were right. Even with just a bit of the needlefelting done, I can tell that it will make a huge difference in the looks of the bag. I bought some green handles at my LYS Saturday and plan to either use this as a handbag for myself or possibly gift it to someone. Along with having this finished by month's end, I would like to have the (hopefully fullsize) other one I currently have on the needles finished too.

I ran across some nifty crochet patterns in Ravelry Friday night and started one of them on Saturday. This will be a bellydance hipscarf, and it's going so quickly I should be done with it by next Monday when I start the intermediate classes. Along with this pattern, I also found a dance top, gauntlets, ankle warmers, zil covers, and a bag to carry my dance gear in. Eventually I will have all of them!

I have spent quite a bit of time with the Moorish Stripe Socks, and plan to have them done in November. Next time I want to make fair isle monstrous mutant mansocks on size 0 needles, would someone kindly kick me in the rear and remind me of all my whining about this pair?

Not pictured, but on the list of WIPs I want to complete in November, are the Sweetie Pie Cami, and a Pond Turtle for me. It's a long list, but I think fairly doable.

When I got home from work today there were 2 packages waiting for me.

I received my "Knitter's Treasure Swap" package from Lillian in Canada. She was a great swap partner. I hope she likes what's in her box as much as I like what was in mine.

I received:

IK Holiday Gifts 2008 (great pair of fingerless mitts in there I have got to make)

Japanese Crochet book (lots of great patterns I can't wait to try out)

post it notes


puppy dog bookmark

lip balm

lavender soap

mini crochet hook

hand made birch needles

Noro Sock yarn

2 skeins Blue Sky Alpacas alpaca/silk

The alpaca yarn is so yummy! I've been petting it all evening. Can't wait to find the perfect pattern for it.

The other package was my "Holiday Ornament Swap" package. Suzanne was my partner this time around and I received 2 great ornaments. The mittens are adorable and I love how elegant the gold/pearl one is.

She also sent me a bar of dark chocolate mint, which is all but gone now, and some hazelnut creme coffee which will get me going tomorrow morning. All of that was boxed up in this adorable handpainted box which will be a great decoration on a table in the livingroom for the holidays. Along with the ornaments and treats, she sent a bone dog toy she knitted for Doppler. He's making out pretty well in swaps LOL. It's so cute how he's playing with it. He almost never plays with toys, but he's playing fetch with this all by himself. Throwing it across the room, then chasing it. And when he gets bored with that, he's using it as a pillow LOL.

Below are photos of the items I sent Suzanne. The vase cover is from Vogue Holiday 2008, and I can't remember where I found the idea for the crocheter's ornament, but when I saw Suzanne crocheted too, I couldn't resist making her one. There will be one just like it on my own tree this year.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Few More FO's for October

Well, it's official ..... I'm a total idiot!

I had all those nifty swap projects that I was waiting to post about after the partners received their packages. I took lots of photos. I boxed up the packages. I shipped them off to their recipients. I can't find most of the photos!!! I do have a couple, but I'm going to have to rely on my partners to send me photos so I can show them off :o(

Admidst all that swap crafting, I did manage to get some things finished for myself too. Today I whipped up a dragon bookmark since I met a couple of goals and the rest of the October goals are in sight.

I also finished up the first Dragon Scale Gauntlet. Still pretty sure I can finish the other before October ends.

Last night while watching the game, I finished the last of the Pond Turtle parts and got them sewed together. Paul is quite happy with it! I now have a pink one on the needles for myself.

Isn't he cute?

Sad news. I was so thrilled to have the Ravenna Satchel all knitted up. The felting didn't go so well. It's not bad, and I will finish the project probably as a gift for someone since there's really nothing horrible about it, but it's too small for what I wanted so I'm not happy with it. All the black pieces felted beautifully. The intarsia piece however, was doomed. First, it twisted up really tight in the center during felting. The ends felted, but the center stretched out and didn't felt at all. I untwisted it and sent it through again. It felted the second time in a big way. The worst part is the pillowcase I had it in came open during the spin cycle, and all the long hairy alpaca that shed came out and clogged up the washer. Poor Paul spent all day Saturday taking the machine apart and digging out crud that resembled dead guinnea pigs, then trying to put the washer back together again. I felt horrible for him.

I've since bought more yarn (sans any alpaca or fiber that will require a full blown haircut after felting and will threaten the washer again) and cast on again. I will have my full size Ravenna eventually.

While Paul slaved over the broken washer, I took my mother out for her birthday gift. A day at the spa! I booked us for facials, manicures, and pedicures. It was so much fun! Neither of us was thinking too clearly for the event however, since we both wore socks and closed shoes. Ummmm that doesn't work too well with freshly pedicured feet. After sitting with our feet and hands under the dryers for about 1/2 hour, we went off to lunch sporting those wonderful spa sandals that are more like black pieces of paper than footwear. Mine kept folding under my feet and I was walking funny. At least our nails dried enough for us to put on our own shoes before we hit the mall. All in all it was a great day!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More progress than I'm allowed to show

I've finished quite a few projects this week. Some of which I can't show yet because they are for swaps and you never know who could be lurking about. I do have photos of them, so I know they've arrived at their destination, I can let you peek.

This morning I put the finishing touches on the Tommy Nobis Amigurumi. I think he's cute as can be, but I'm not quite satisfied with the felt embellishments. I downsized this project to about 6" (about 1/2 the size of the pattern), so the felt pieces were teeny tiny. Sewing them on caused some to shrink up and some to stretch out. You can clearly see what I mean with the numbers on the jersey. They both started out the exact same size. Hmmmmm I might redo those as it is kind of bothering me.

I love the little cleats! They are the posts of doll eyes pushed through the shoes from the inside. Too adorable.

The little falcon on the side of the helmet turned out better than I thought it would. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

I even added his name to the back of the jersey. The only thing he doesn't have is the football. Oops, forgot to buy brown yarn. Next trip to the LYS though.

Friday night I finished up the Nutkins! Yea a whole week early, which means I get to relax this week and work on the projects I want to instead of the projects I need to.

While I had the felt out this morning, I finally decided to give the poor dragon some eyes. I didn't like the white felt, it just seemed too stark. So he has pink eyes. Makes him look a bit formidable doesn't it?

Tonight I finally finished up the intarsia piece of the Ravenna Satchel. I'll start the felting either tomorrow or Tuesday. I'm really excited about having the knitting portion done on this project. The needle felting and embellishing is going to be so much fun.

I pulled out the Dragon Scale Gauntlets this weekend too. They work up pretty quickly when I put my mind to it. I might make these my next goal to finish up.

Friday night I finally faced reality and frogged the Sweetie Pie Cami. Not sure why I waited so long. Maybe I had this dream that if I thought about it long and hard enough, the brown yarn would grow another 200 yards or something. Since it didn't happen, I decided to redesign my redesign. Now it will be a colorblock cami. I will keep the empire waist and go up a hook size below that so it's not so body skimming where I don't want it to be. Below the empire waist I will change the colors. There will be plenty of yarn to complete the project now.