Monday, January 26, 2009

Snow Day

Can you say SNOW DAY!! Well it was actually an Ice Day. But all the same, Thom and I both were sent home at lunch time. K1’s teacher called and said he was sick so I picked him up as well. When I got home I lit a fire in the fireplace, brewed a pot of coffee and sat down with my knitting. Ahh let it rain ice...

This last weekend was a very good knitting weekend. I woke up at 3:00am Friday morning and knew I wasn’t going back to sleep so I cleaned the house. Yup – I cleaned the bathroom at 3am. But by the time the boys woke up to get ready for school and work the house was clean and I could sit back and knit. Knit I did.

I finished the scarf for my friend at work. Then I knitted a doggie sweater for Zoey. My friends Becca and Linda came over to visit. I showed Becca the magic loop method and because I love her I let her take my only size 2 Addi Turbos home. (I did make her promise to get her own and give them back to me.) Thank goodness I have a pair of Knit Picks needles on the way.

Then after I finished the sweater for Zoey I made an Iphone pouch and started on a hounds tooth black and white scarf.

TodayI went straight back to the scarf. Wow I’m having a good knitting week and it’s only Monday. The news shows the school is closed tomorrow. But K1 may still be sick. I don’t know if I’m going to go to work or not. We will see. Thom is already planning on staying home tomorrow because of the predicted freezing rain all night.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Magic Loop – Toe Up – Two at a Time

After listening to Knit Pick’s Podcasts I was talked into trying Magic Loop for the first time this week. I learned how to make socks from the Internet using DPNs. So why not try and learn Magic Loop the same way... Thank goodness for the website this website walks you through the steps with wonderful picks and gentle reminds to help you along the way.
Monday night I cast on and played around with this method. I was feeling pretty good about my progress until I went to try them on and realized I had got a little carried away with the increases. I ended up added a few row of K2 P2 ribbing and making them into baby hats. But my second attempt turned out wonderfully.
I was almost done on Thursday when I was invited to a girls night out with the ladies from the office. I threw my needles and yarn into my purse and off I went. While we talked and ate dinner I knitted way. By the time the night was over I was almost out of yarn. When I got home I finished off the ribbing and cast off. I’ve never knitted a pair of socks so fast in my life. It was awesome and I am sold. I went online and order more needles, sock yarn and books from Knit Picks’ and I am anxiously waiting for more order to arrive.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Here is my dream

Today is Martin Luther King Day. The ring of I Have A Dream in my ears all day has got me thinking. What kind of dream do I have...

Well personally I have a dream. But first let me give you a little back ground. My husband Thom is a Network Engineer for a large craft store. He loves his job and he loves the fact that his hobby is computers and his job is basically his hobby. My hobby is knitting and my current job is Pr/Marketing Coordinator for an Orthodontic office. My mom lives with my Grandma in Oregon on a farm just south west of Portland. She has a farm and has goats and sheep. Hummm

Here is my dream. A craft/yarn store in Oregon discovers that they need another Network Engineer and Marketing person. They call and request our help and ask us to move, we move to the farm with the family until we can find a place. Oh now that would be a wonderful dream...

The downside is Thom will never leave his job here in Oklahoma. Bummer. It just seems that the knitters in the Pacific NorthWest seem a lot more friendlier than what I have discovered locally. That is not to say that I haven’t met knitters here that I liked. It’s just that several of the local knitters make me feel unwelcome, out of place or make me wonder why I walked into the store in the first place when I can just order stuff online. I’m not mean or ugly or rude. I have several friends and a couple that I have turned into knitters. But I just know that if I lived around Oregon I could have lots more knitter friends. I’m really getting tired of trying to learn new stuff from books and the internet. I want the human interaction, and friendly banter. I want to see others work in progress and hold and touch the yarn and fabric.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Learning from Podcasts

In my past blog I spoke a little about my new discovery of Podcasts. I found the Knit Pick’s Podcast with Kelley Petkun. I was first drawn to her because A – she is a knitter and B – she has a pom. I just recently had to let go of my 15 year old pom, and my heart is still breaking, but I love hearing the snipits of stories about Zena. I started at the beginning of the Podcasts and I’m not up to date yet. I just finished listening to Episode 44 where Kelley interviews Jillian Moreno from Big Girl Knits. OMG – if only I had known about the book or listened to the Podcast before I knitted my first sweater. Here is what happed...

Quoted from my notes on Raverly.

This was my first sweater. The pattern came from Big Needle Knits. I didn’t like the way it fit and for some reason the garbage man took it! (I was so upset I didn’t even get to salvage the yarn). The sweater was warm (to say the least) I don’t remember the brand of yarn I used, but it was itchy and I promptly took off the sweater ten seconds after the photo and never put it on again. I did try the same pattern with a different yarn and had the same problem…. Was it me or the design? I will never know. However, I did manage to salvage the yarn from the second sweater and I made a wonderful baby blanket.

After listening to the Podcast I have now realized that it was because the design didn’t work with my body type. Thank you Kelley and Jillian for clearing this up and giving me the motivation to try and knit another sweater for myself. I will be getting the book Big Girl Knits: 25 Big, Bold Projects Shaped for Real Women with Real Curves by Jillian Moreno and Amy Singer.

Will he ever wear them again?

Will he ever wear them again?
I had just started the toe decrease on the huge black socks I was making for my husband when he decided to inform me that they are too thick and he doesn’t think he will wear them very often. He stated that if I had made them in Navy instead of black he might be able to wear them more.
OMG- The one thing I forgot to ask him – What color... Why I didn’t ask him.. Well- Because the man has 15 thousand pairs of black (commercial made) socks in his freaking sock draw. This is a man that has so many pairs of socks that he actually has two sock draws, one for white/cream and one for black/navy. I had black yarn so I made him black socks. All the other design aspects I went over with him at every point. Let me tell you that this man is a very very picky man when it comes to clothing. I know that it may sound funny. But when we where first married my husband sold very expensive suits for a living. He went to suit classes and learned everything from fiber content to tailoring. He knows more about clothing construction then I could/would ever want to know. So it is a standing rule in our house that I never, ever buy my husband clothes. Because every time I try.... Let me just say tears were shed until I learned it wasn’t me, it’s him... So why would I want to knit this very picky man a pair of socks... Because I felt that socks are barely seen, because everyone loves socks, because surly I can’t go wrong with socks. OH SO WRONG. I did finish the socks and like a very good husband he wore them for the rest of the day. He said he liked the fit, but again they are very thick. Personally, I tried them on and loved them – but they are too big for me. I figure I will give him until Christmas to wear them again. If he doesn’t I will rip them back and make them shorter and give them to my Dad for Christmas. I know Daddy will love them... And I now I have to add to my list... Never buy (or make) clothing for my very picky husband. I will just use that time to make things for myself and flaunt them in front of him.
On a side note.. I was trying out a new pattern and technique a few months ago. My husband absolutely loved the design and colors of my swatch. He asked me to continue and make it into a scarf for him. I did (thinking all the time that it was the ugliest thing I had ever made). He has worn it to work almost everyday since it was finished... Go figure!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

What's On My Needles and other UFO's

What’s On My Needles-
I’m finishing the second sock for Thom. I’m using a pattern I found on the internet titled Men’s English-Ribbed Socks. I had to modify the pattern a little because it was wrote to be knitted flat. I prefer to knit in the round. Rewriting the pattern inspired me to go through all the links I had saved in my favorite places in Internet Explorer. To my horror I noticed that a few of the pattern where no longer available. Oh No!! So I came up with a solution. Using Microsoft Office 2007 Word I selected the template for a brochure and stared copying and pasting the patterns I don’t want to lose, and saving them in a new file I created titled Knitting Patterns. I saved the file on my computer and on the server so it will be backed up every night with our normal backup. That project took the entire weekend and I didn’t get much knitting done. But I do have the peace of mind that those patterns will always be safe.

After cleaning out my Knitting Closet, updating my iPhone app with all my needle information I found some UFO’s (UnFinished Objects).

Leaf Shawl – over half way done but the pattern has been misplaced.

Bag O’ Bag – I decided to knit a bag out of colored trash bags – tiring working with sticky plastic

Fuzzy Scarf – I’m making a scarf for a lady at work

Burridge Lake Aran Afghan – This is a project that I pick and put down throughout the years. I have one full panel done and about 25% of the second panel. 5 panels total are required to finish.

Baby Hat – Simple knit in the round. Got bored

Sweater for Becca – this project really needs to go to the frog pond. Because I started it before I really knew how to knit a sweater and I didn’t check gauge. So the arm holes are big enough for my waist.

iphone and Knitting Apps

Happy New Year!
Finally the holiday season has died down and I have a few minutes to update my blog. First let me start with stating that I don’t make New Years resolutions. I do this because I always let myself down. I however make plans and little goals. Some may ask “What’s the difference?” Well let me tell you... In my mind New Years resolutions give you an entire year to accomplish. Plans and little goals don’t have a due date. But I make them small enough that I can usually accomplish them rather fast giving myself the added bonus of the feeling of a job well done.

After I got over the embarrassment of not knowing what an iphone was and giving my husband a not so pretty look when I opened the package and saw the Mac apple, and saying “you got me something Macintosh! I don’t use Mac!” My husband gleefully responded “it’s a phone Jenny”. Duh! When it sunk in I was very excited to sit down and program all my contacts download apps and then I found PodCasts. Wow baby- that opened up a whole new world for me.

The first search feature I did in the apps store was Knitting. I found two apps that I installed right away. StitchMinder – it’s an electronic stitch counter, and KnittyBag- it keeps track of your needles.

Let me tell you a little more about these applications.
StitchMinder- this app gives you 4 rows to use to track where you are in a pattern. Inside of these 4 rows you can select from the following features- Rows Completed, Pattern Row, Pattern Repeats, Increase Row, Increase Repeat, Decrease Row, Decrease Repeat. These are great for keeping you on track in a pattern. My only disappointment is that you can’t go backwards. If you tap the screen by accident, you have to clear it back to 0 then count back up.

I did find another app that works a little better for me. It is called Tally Counter. This app looks like the roller stitch counters that you put on the end of your needle and it goes up or down. Very easy to use with two big buttons, on with a minus sign and one with a plus sign. I love it.

The other knitting app called KnittyBag allows you to choose between Straight, Double, Circular and Hooks. Plus it has stitch abbreviation glossary. When you add your needles you select what kind of needle, then you enter the information and choose between metal, plastic or wood. Love it! The glossary idea is kewl but I wish it was expanded a little more. The only information that is provide is the abbreviation and what the abbreviation spells out. It doesn’t actually tell you how to do the stitch. An example of this is m1: make one, but it doesn’t tell you how to make one. (I guess that is what patterns are for, I just would like a little more detail in the glossary).

So I rambled about the apps that you can download on the iphone, now let me tell you about my latest addiction. PodCasts, now I consider myself pretty computer savvy, how this electronic phenomenon skipped my knowledge I have not a clue. But I am so glad I found it. In the knitty world of podcast I found two different kinds. Video and Audio. In the Video area I came across Cat I love you! Oh my goodness, this podcast provided me with hours of entertainment and I learned some very good things. I found out that I want to knit with beads, enter a sock war and most of all I want an electric spinning wheel. The last one might be a little out of my price range at the time, but I now how my first goal for the year. Save up for an electric spinning wheel. On a side note to this, my Mom called me to say that she has added a flock of sheep to her farm. She plans on sending me the fleece this spring! I’ll tell you more about Mom in the coming blogs- but let me tell you she is a riot!
Audio Podcast! So far I have listened to Knitting Science and Knit Picks’. Knitting Science was hard for me to follow. Although you can tell that a lot of research and time went into making these Podcasts, I found myself wondering off on other topics in my head and loosing track of the lady talking. But Kelley on the Knit Pick’s Podcasts is entertaining, educating and she expresses love and joy over the air that I am absolutely enthralled and hanging on to her every last word. She interviews interesting people, she reviews books in a way that make me want to buy every book she talks about. I feel we are kindred spirits, I wish I could visit with her the next time I’m in Portland/Seattle area. It also helps that she has a Pom and talks about her adventures with Zena and her husband Bob. But what I love absolutely most about Kelley’s Podcast is the educational value. I know that every time I listen to her I learn something new. Granted in the world of knitting I’m still a rookie. But she gives me lots of food for thought. From patterns to try to yarns to check out, she makes my fingers twitch to start a new project after every podcast. This podcast alone is worth getting an ipod or iphone or any other kind of podcast listening device.

After getting my iphone set up, downloading apps and finding podcasts I have been energized and I want to get a few things done. 1. Cleaning out the yarn closet, and 2. Organizing my knitting projects.

Knitting Closet

The Knitting Closet-
Let me describe this large closet. I have yarn, books, notions, and a sewing machine crammed into a hall closet the size of a medium bathroom. The yarn is divided by color and placed inside clear plastic hanging sweater holders. You know the kind designed to hang on a clothing rod. Well I bought these thinking I had a clothing rod in my closet only to get home and realize at sometime the previous owner had removed the bar.

So I packed them tight and turned them on the side and stacked three on top of each other. My bright idea was that the pockets would be so full of yarn that the structure would be just fine. Not really a good idea. After a few months, of picking and pulling yarn balls out of and replacing them in the structure, it collapsed and caved in and was a really big mess!While at the dollar store I found the perfect solution. These little mini bins that can snap together side by side and bottom to top. I bought every last one they had in the store. 13 altogether, surely that would be enough to reorganize.

Um-not even close. So I was off to the other store on the other side of town. I bought that store out of mini bins. Only to get home and set them up and find out that 60 bins still won’t hold all my yarn. (Even when I tucked and stuffed enough to make the sides of this think plastic bin bulge). I had to sit down and admit to myself that I have a yarn addiction. I am now at a cross road. Do I buy more boxes – which would mean driving to another town to buy out that stores supply of mini bins, or do I thin out the yarn – which would make me feel like I am having to choose between family members, or do I knit with double strands on really big needles to use up as much as I can in the quickest time possible? I’m leaning to the knitting solution, but I know that there has got to be a better solution. Eurika- I went back to the dollar store and got under the bed storage boxes – heh heh heh – I’m hiding the yarn I know I won’t use. The memory yarn – the yarn that has a story, but not a plan.

My only concern is my husband discovering I have hidden stashed yarn under the bed. I can see it now. Cat gone missing – treats not working – finally looking under the bed to discover the cat has figured out how to open the box and curl up in the yarn. Maybe I should tape the box shut. Yep – I will tape the box shut! Then I will have to stash enough yarn to fill up the entire under bed surface so the cats can no longer go under the bed. Then Thom will never have to look under the bed. I guess that means I need to go shopping for more yarn not more mini bins. Humm that sounds like a plan to me...