Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gratitude for Life's Little Moments

This Thanksgiving holiday has been filled with good times and a few sad times. I feel grateful for being alive and well and looking forward to more knitting projects. I have been quite prolific of late, but have not taken photos as I should have. Part of my frenzy has been in preparation of the Hill Country Weavers Fiber Festival. I will be volunteering on Saturday, December 13, but the fun event goes through Sunday. Local crafters, not just knitters, will be selling their wares at the store that weekend--if you are in the Austin area, please drop by--you are sure to find some great items for holiday giving.

Sad times include my aged cousins--one ailing with a fractured toe and the other preparing for a mastectomy. And yet, we are all here and grateful to be alive. That's why we endure miniscule inconveniences such as having to wear a hard boot to keep toes straight and why we choose to have surgery to remove a memorable part of ourselves. Because life is worth living. We are definitely looking forward to a new year filled with good times that life seems to be stingy with sometimes.

I am also grateful for having attended this years ACL Fest in Austin. Absolutely loved Robert Earl Keen, John Fogarty's energy is electrifying and what can I say about Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. I'm one of Robert's biggest fans and Alison Krauss is my favorite female vocalist. So to be able to see them together after listening to Raising Sand, there joint album produced by T. Bone Burnett, about a gigazillion times, it was great to be able to see them together in person.

Take a look at a couple of the photos I took. Not great mind you, but it does conjure the memory for me.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Unity of Knitting and Reading in One Project

My latest project is almost complete. It will be so yummy to wear in the fall and winter. It's made from Malabrigo and the color is burgundy. As you may know Malabrigo is kettle-dyed and so color pooling is not consistent amongt the skeins. But it is all beautiful and so luscious against the skin!

Here's a picture of the inspiration and what it will look like when finished (except for the color, of course). You can get the pattern here at

Lisa Knits

The pattern appealed to my inner reader. My problem with reading is very much like my problem with knitting, so many projects, so many books! I've started three books recently: Clapton, Garrison Keillor's Pontoon, and My Boyfriend's Back. My knitting projects are the Reader's Wrap as seen above, two pairs of socks and a scarf which I will share with you next time. I'm also listening to Pillars of the Earth on an audiobook downloaded onto my Ipod about three months ago. I fear that I will not get back to Pillars anytime soon and will most likely have to start over. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the number of books and knitting projects and am guessing that I am not alone. At one time, it was worse. I would start so many projects and get so overwhelmed that I didn't always finish them. Bit older and wiser now, I finish most things that I start. And I have managed this by keeping the number of projects at three or below. Anyone else have a plan of attack for maintaining sanity amongst the lure of so many wonderful projects shared on the internet and at your LYS?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tying Up Loose Ends

Today finds us tying up loose ends, literally. I have been busy weaving in ends and working mattress stitch, backstitching, and sewing on buttons on the latest pillow design. I call it my handsome pillow simply because it looks masculine. I planned it that way, but I also had Xmas in mind. Thus, the green and the red, but hardly the brightness of most things considered Xmas.

You can see that it really is a fairly simple design. Mostly stockinette done in even rows so I could carry the yarn up the side and avoid having too many ends to weave in. The back side is all done in the dominant color of the front, a nice chocolate brown.

There is ribbing on the top, or the side, whichever way you might prefer. The buttons are from Adorknit. You can find them at Yarnorama, one of my favorite LYS.

My sweet kitty, Louie already likes the pillow--he took to it right away. He has good taste, I believe.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Today finds us tying up loose ends, literally. The loose ends to my latest pillow design, that is. This is a very simple design of stripes in stockinette with ribbed edging. For visual contrast and accent, I found these beautiful handmade buttons of green and appropriate for a pillow with red and green striping! I have only woven in the very few ends there were, and I say few because I carried the color up the side rather than adding on each color as I came to each stripe. That saved so much work, and I'm all about simplicity. Nice clean lines. This pillow reflects my personality, I think. Steady with a bit of spice for interest. Now I just need to sew the panels together and soon my lovelies, you will see the end result.

It's kind of sad and wonderful at the same time, "bittersweet" I suppose is the best word, to describe that feeling when you have just about completed a project. Me thinks the real fun is choosing and starting and knitting the actual project and although I do love the sense of accomplishment when it's done....I hate to see some of my projects end.

When I can come to terms with the end of this project, I will post photos. I think I must go sit and ponder this.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Summer-time and the living is not so easy

Today finds me a bit on the lazy-side. I'm not sure if it is genuine fatigue brought on by seasonal allergies or if it's just general malaise. Summer time and heat are not favorites of mine, and this could be what is dragging me down. So I have decided to turn my thoughts to a cheerier time, that of the upcoming fall. I am not a sweater knitter, but I have thought of trying my hand at the garter stitch blanket of Elizabeth Zimmerman most recently featured on brooklyntweed's blog. Jared and I think so much alike. It's all about classic lines for me, and him too, I think. And I envy his ability to whip out projects in what seems to be mere seconds. How does he do that?

On a smaller scale I have just knit a baby blanket following a lovely little pattern that can be found at Stitches from the Heart. It's a charity with true kindness at its heart. There are so many babies born into this world much too early, and parents totally unprepared--clothing, toys have not been purchased yet and so the little ones enter with nothing, and so many leave early as well. Wouldn't it be lovely for them to have just one thing? Maybe a little blanket like the one I knitted seen here

The rows are eyelets which I entertwined bright white ribbon through. One always has the option of not putting the ribbon in, it might be more functional without it. But the white called out for the ribbon, at least to me. I think it might even make a nice christening blanket. But you can find several baby blanket and hat patterns for knitters and crocheters at the site. All the details are there for you to donate your handiwork.

It is time to recline and let the warm thoughts of a bonfire and hot chocolate permiate my thoughts as I attempt to make it through the heat of summer.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Seeking your Approval, Most Humbly

I have been away for a goodly portion of time and I can only apologize and try so much harder than I have in the past. However, I will show you some of the projects with which I have been most busy.

On WWKINP Day I traveled to one of my favorite LYS, Yarnorama, and oh my, what a good time was had by all. I dyed my very first yarn. It was not simple dye friends, it was Kool-Aid! We took our sock blanks (a lovely blend of merino wool and nylon, for softness) and we soaked them in water and vinegar, dyed them, cooked them and then rinsed them. As many f you know, purple is my favorite color, so of course, I used colors that seemed quite complimentary. I wasn't really sure what I would end up with though. This is what a combination of Grape, Cherry and Lemon got me.

The photos show the lovely purply, red and pink well, but the subtle dots of yellow cannot be seen. What should I knit with this lovely yarn? I cannot seem to settle on a project for it, but I am sure the project will find me.

And now, I've made a new addition to my little fiber family of goodies and here it is:

It is a Schacht Rigid Heddle (Flip) Loom. My friend, and owner of Yarnorama, Susan Fricks, helped me load all the yarn on it and currently what you see on the warp is Tofutsies and the weft is Panda Silk. A most lovely combination of pinks and purples. I will share photos when I have completed it.

For now, I will leave you to your own devices as I make my way back to my loom. Lovely.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Dearest Diary

Forgive me for not staying current with my latest projects and interests but it has been a very busy past few weeks. I would like to say that I have been prolifc in my production, but that is not entirely true, although I have managed to complete a few projects of long standing. And I have started two new pair of socks and have already bought yarn for the next pair. I made one pair of socks out of Lion Brand's Microspun and it is by far, the best feeling sock yarn, for the money. My wish is that all sock knitters would give it a try because I fear that Lion Brand will discontinue it as they sometimes have been known to do. Please go to the site, please buy it in abundance, and then tell me what you think of it.

But let me review the Lace Wrap with you. A few of us have done a KAL and while most used a wool or wool blend or acrylic, I chose to use Berrocco's Touche which is 50% cotton and 50% rayon. The drape is delicious. I plan to use it again. You can try it out for yourself.

I have photographs of the completed wrap and as you can see the undulating waves in it are mesmerizing and I loved this color. Did I mention that I plan on knitting with this yarn again? The photos are before blocking which is next on my appointed list of items to accomplish. I believe it will be an easy block...perhaps just with a light steam and pinning the ends to bring out the laciness.

What do you think about the look of the wrap? I still think it would benefit from a few inches added to the width. I actually wore it at work one day and found it difficult to keep around my shoulders like I wear most shawls--I had to keep putting it around my neck like a scarf rather than my shoulders. But that was just that day. I'll continue to wear it after the blocking and see if I still think it needs to be wider.

That's it for today my lambs, I'll post another finished project in a few days. That's a wrap (couldn't resist).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A New Friend Made, A New Project Begun

Alas, it has been far too long since my last post, but not without good reason.

As we may recall, several of you are participating in a KAL and our project is the beautiful lace shawl. I love the pattern, but it is a little on the monotonous side of things, and so I started a new project, and then began knitting socks for my love interest, and then he suggested that I knit a matching pair (since I had so much of the Gossamer Sock yarn that I had ordered from Knit Picks during one of their sales). If a man asks you to knit a pair of matching socks, you are, indeed, in a very special relationship. So you see, I could not possibly turn a deaf ear to that sweet suggestion.

But let us travel back to my mention of the first project that took me away from the lace wrap. I got into one of my purple moods, and for those who know me, you know that purple is my color--it's not just purple, but all the shades thereof including lavendars, periwinkles and even pink which, to my thinking, is just another shade of purple. My collection of yarns includes oh so many skeins of my favorite color that I decided to just play with all of them and see what I could put together to make another shawl.

At present there are no less than fourteen yarns, some wool, some blends, tape, and novelty yarns put together in what I hope will be a flattering and eye-catching wrap. At this moment, it is only approximately four and one half inches long, but it is probably about eighty inches wide. I call it my Purple Dream Shawl. Dream because it did come to me as if in a dream and it has held my interest for some time. I still have a way too go, and several more yarns to add. I will share more once it is finished. I am not sure I will be able to part with it, but perhaps it would be best for me to send my purple dream out amongst those who might appreciate it.

Of course, life cannot simply consist of knitting but part of one's own time must be spent in preparation thereof. To that end, I traveled a few miles down the road to a new fiber shop that has an incredible vibe (ahem), at least I think that is what it is referred to in today's vernacular. The shop is Yarnorama, and it is located in the little Texas town of Paige. The building is not new, but the yarns and rovings are. The shop owner, Susan, is most pleasant and very knowledgeable. I think she is my newest friend. Susan and her husband John have done an extraordinary amount of work on the building that houses all of the yarn (including Malabrigo), needles, bags, spindles and looms. There is even a cafe. I believe they have thought of everything. Susan is a weaver, spinner, dyer, and knitter probably in that order, but I will forgive her for leaving the knit for last as someone must make all of the yarn so we exclusive knitters can make our own dream shawls.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Time Passeth

I have not forgotten about you precious readers, it is merely a matter of hours that must be spent dealing with minutiae. Such things as work, laundry, cleaning up after kittens and birds. Alas, there is so little time left for blogging, not to mention my real love of knitting. And yes, there's the love interest who says "So you're going to knit tonight?" My heart sinks when I hear those words. Recently I heard a fellow knitter relate that her husband says those very words to her. After comparing notes, we both agreed that we never ever let those words change our minds. Once we have decided to knit, well, that's it. We knit. But I will say that my love's patience with my love of knitting is always appreciated and never goes unnoticed.

The lace shawl continues and there are no new photos to reveal the advancement of that fine upcoming addition to the spring wardrobe. Please send me your sympathies as I must actually spend time away from my knitting and go to work where I earn a paycheck that keeps me in yarn--oh the terribleness of it all.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Let our progress not go unnoted

Our progress with the lace shawl is noted in these photographs. I'm delighted at how easy this lace pattern is--one must only keep track of which section you are in, and there are only two, most gratefully. The appearance here shows our progress after only three evenings of knitting. I particularly like patterns that allow me to have some gratification, if not immediately, at least soon thereafter.

And here is a close-up:

Also, I find that the opposite side has "bubbles" which are very convenient for checking your work. I think if you were looking at the front (right side) of the work, it may be a little harder to see any mistake that has been made. But the opposite side would reveal, I believe, any mistakes made. I have not been haunted by any such mistake, thankfully, but I did notice this and thought it good to mention. One other thing I've noticed is that the shawl is a bit narrow.

There are a few lace knitters who have joined me in knitting this shawl. I invite them to note any other unique observations made. I like this shawl so much that I believe I will make it over and over with different needles and different yarns, and probably will make it just a bit wider. The pattern was posted a few days ago--if you are looking for a free project a bit out of the ordinary, but certainly not difficult, then look at my archive.

Monday, January 7, 2008

An Invitation of Sorts

Good day knitters! I wanted to share my latest project with you and despite the numerous problems in obtaining this pattern from the Lion Brand site, it is indeed beautiful. Because I have noted complaints by others about the Lion Brand website, I am going to post the pattern here as Lion Brand does claim it is "free." But first, let us cast our gaze upon this lovely shawl:

Lace Wrap
Lion Brand® Cotton-Ease (new)
16 sts + 20 rows = 4 in. [10 cm] over pattern. BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR GAUGE. When you match the gauge in a pattern, your project will be the size specified in the pattern and the materials specified in the pattern will be sufficient. If it takes you less stitches and rows to make a 4 in. [10 cm] square, try using a smaller size hook or needles; if more stitches and rows, try a larger size hook or needles.

Cast on 89 sts.
Row 1 (wrong side): K2, purl to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 2: K3, *yo, k3, k3tog, yo, k1, yo, k3tog, k3, yo, k1; rep from * across to last 2 sts, k2.
Rows 3-10: Rep Rows 1 and 2 four times.
Row 11: K2, purl to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 12: K3, *yo, k3tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, k3, k3tog, yo, k1; rep from * across to last 2 sts, k2.
Rows 13-20: Rep Rows 11 and 12 four times.
Rep Rows 1-20 until piece measures 80 in. [203 cm] from beg, end with a Row 20. Bind off.
Weave in ends.

As you can see, the pattern is lace and one only needs pay close attention to what section they are in as the pattern creates undulating waves that give it that lovely look. I had tried previously knitting the pattern with Cotton-Ease, but gave up. It took me several months to find a yarn that would have the wonderful drape needed for this pattern. I started my lace wrap last evening using Berroco Touche' which is a fabulous blend of 50% Cotton and 50% Rayon and the color 7936 is a rather bright lavender. Let it be noted that I do not like to knit with cotton, but this yarn is an exception. The Berroco yarn is far superior and although it is a loose multi-strand yarn like Cotton-Ease, it knits like a dream. Here is what I have knitted so far:

I am also surprised how quick this has knitted up. So let this be a formal invitation, if you care, to KAL with me and please feel free to post your comments. Happy Knitting in 2008!