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.