Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

Happy New Years Eve everyone.

2013 has been a good year.  I spent a lot of time with friends and family this year and did a fair amount of knitting (and a small amount of crocheting).

For knitting I made:

- 5 pairs of socks
-3 pairs of mitts
-11 hats (I must have given most of these away because I am still wearing the same 2 hats + a new one)
-1 kerchief (shawl to the non knitters)
-1 Tee shirt with another one 80% done
-finished 1 cardigan
-1 sampler blanket sewn
-1 cowl
-4 pairs of duffers
-1 Chevron baby blanket
-1 pair of cabled boot cuffs
-several knit and crochet ornaments
-several yarn bombs

In 2014 I have made a commitment to complete 14 projects out of stash yarn.  I am not restricting myself to a yarn diet or requiring myself to only work on those 14 items.

I've already got a list of projects that need to be finished asap (mostly Christmas leftovers and one shawl project for a friend).

And on the needles I have a Tee shirt to finish, a pair of leg warmers (because yes the 1980's have returned), two pairs of socks, one hat, and one headband.  Plus I've promised myself a new sweater (California style-light) to wear for stitches at the end of February.

For the non knitters out there, Stitches West, is a knitting convention of sorts.  Classes and a market place plus lots of friends hanging out together and knitting or crocheting together.  Mike has deemed me the new head nerd in our house.  He claims that he has never attended a gaming convention, so once I've been to the knitting convention, I am officially a bigger nerd than he is.

Enjoy the last few hours of 2013.  I'll see you on the flip side.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Post Christmas Decorations

Happy Holidays everyone.  I took last week off (basically everything).  I came down with some sort of illness that laid me flat.  The type where you sleep 12 hours, wake up for a couple of hours and then take a 5 hour nap.  For a week.  I'm better now.

I didn't do 90% of my usual Christmas routine.  No Christmas cookies, no present buying and wrapping, and no Christmas knitting.  I did my Christmas decorating early in December and finished a couple of swaps.  I put together a few presents and the rest I decided could wait.  Sometimes you have to take care of yourself first and let everything else go.  And you know what?  The world survived.  Friends are ok with waiting for presents, family understood and clients survived without talking to me for a week.

We had a lovely dinner Christmas Eve with friends (except for Mike's allergic reaction to some cats) and spent part of Christmas day with friends enjoying dinner and games.  And some sock knitting.

Before I take down Christmas I will leave you with one slightly blurry photo of our tree:

We have one day left until the new year.  Tomorrow I will share with you my 2013 wrap up and plans for 2014.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

5 Days + Socks

We have 5 whole knitting days left until Christmas.  No need to panic.  Do as I do and send a picture of the pattern, give the WIP and get it back to finish or just smile and pretend its not 5 days before Christmas and that person whose gift is not ready just wasn't good enough this year to rate a present, but will get a really really early 2014 Christmas present next year, sometime in January.  The dog didn't eat my knitting, my boss ate all my knitting time.

I have a new pair of socks.  Almost.  A single row and a Kitchener stitch away from a new pair of socks.  These babies worked up very quickly.  I love them.  I love the colors.  I will be wearing them with whatever I feel like on any given day because these colors are not actually in my wardrobe...yet.

Check these beauties out:

I'll post a final finished new pair of socks when I get the ends woven in and can do an actual ta da!

I may have purchased 5 more skeins of this yarn in different colors.  I admit nothing.  And I am not, if I did indeed buy 5 more skeins of this yarn, keeping all of it.  Maybe just half.  halfish?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What's on the Needles Wednesday

I've been on a sock kick lately.  All I have been working on is socks.  I am inspired by the Operation Sock Drawer thread on the knitmoregirls podcast group on Ravelry.  Take a look at the thread.  People are posting pictures of their hand knit socks both in drawers and out.  Some are posting pictures of sock yarn that will one day be hand knit socks.

I am currently working on a pair of vanilla socks out of sortierung 104.

I love watching as each new stripe is revealed.  

I'm still working on the stripped Tee-although very sparingly.  My goal is to have it completed by the end of the year.

There has been a little progress since last time:

And wanting to have a new hat-I worked this up last week.  The yarn is from Uruguay and I bought it in Oklahoma.  

I am in LOVE with the colors:

Not pictured are the three other pairs of socks cast on in various stages as part of my sock tutorials.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Psychedelic Sock Journey

I received this yarn in a swap:

I decided to name these the psychedelic socks due to the black and white stripped sections because they reminded me of a fuzzy black and white TV losing its signal.

They came together fairly quickly (I made them my train knitting last week and over the Thanksgiving weekend when I had a minute to spare).

I made it to the heel turn early last week.

I had one minor incident while knitting these magic loop.  I grabbed the wrong end of the cord and pulled a needle out of both socks.  Why that worked when I typically have to hold them in a couple of spots and gently convince the needle to come to the proper spot I have no idea.  But it whooshed out of there like melted butter over toast.  No panic.  Well mild panic.  Only because I was on the train at the time and we hit a spot where we were swaying and bumping along.  It was not easy but I did pick up all of the stitches and I only twisted two, didn't drop any.  My lucky day.

I finished the knitting Sunday and Kitchenered one toe.  Monday night I closed the second toe with the Kitchener stitch and wove in the ends.

These socks fit great.

I love how the toes came out.  Absolutely perfect.  They may be the first perfect toes I've done.  Usually I have one toe with one side that is wonky.  I don't typically fix them because once they are on my feet no one can tell and they don't bug.  If they bugged me I would fix them.  

On to the next socks.  Houdini's this time.  Can't wait.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pretend it's Wednesday

I try to update you on what I've got on the needles on Wednesdays.  That just didn't happen yesterday because I have to work and like to spend time with my family.  One day I'll be independently wealthy and can let knitting disrupt life.  Until then...

I finished the Graphically Gray Chevron blanket from Cascade's 60 quick baby knits book.  You can check out my project page here.

The blocking blanket:

I knit this blanket for Emmaline, my niece by choice (her mother and I have decided we're sisters).

I visited her over the weekend and it was hard to get on a plane to go home.  There's nothing better than a sleeping newborn on your chest.  She is delightful, beautiful and really very sweet.  She has a full head of hair that looks like it may stay.

 And the cutest little feet.   Don't you just love baby feet?

While waiting for my flight and then while on the flight and waiting for the delayed connector flight I cast on and knit a paid of fingerless mitts.  I did them two at a time on one circular needle (the best method ever).  I haven't put the thumbs on yet and may leave them off.  I've tried knitting them according to the pattern and did not like the way they looked.  I tried winging it and knitting some based on previous patterns and hated it.  Now I may just cast off and let them be a thumb slot.  We'll see.

LAX waiting room

Still waiting (first flight was delayed 40 minutes-This is the second cast on-I ignored the pattern and did an inch of ribbing before I checked the pattern and saw how the cuff should be, ripped back and started over).

Close up of the finished (without thumbs) mitt

I have to sew in the cuff of the second mitt (the edge is folded inward and sewn down to give the picot like edge).

And I am currently working the heel gusset on these vanilla socks.  The yarn is the Crazy Zauberball by Schoppel yarn, a German yarn company.  I received the yarn in a swap I participated in on Ravelry.  The yarn works up nicely, feels good running through my fingers and the tag advises that "knitting can be addictive"!

I cast these on before I left town and then put them aside until my commute this week.  I may finish this weekend.  We'll see:

I'm also still working on the stripped tee.  That is a few inches from waist ribbing.

Enjoy the rest of your week and take the time to knit.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Chocolate Time

I attended a chocolate class by Garden Grove's Classic Cakes Shop.  I was hoping we would get a hands on demonstration but no such luck.  The lovely ladies at Classic Cakes demonstrated how they make all of those really cool and yummy chocolate treats; and then they tempted and tortured us by passing around the completed chocolates for a closer look.  Don't feel too bad for us-they did give samples at the end.  Freshly made chocolate is yummy-better than store bought. And so easy to make with the right supplies.

She's "painting" chocolate into the plastic mold.  For molded chocolates you paint the mold, let it dry and repeat until you can no longer see light through the mold.

This is a solid molded Christmas tree.  Each section of the tree is its own mold and they are put together using some melted chocolate as glue.  It's sitting on a layer of white chocolate and coconut flakes.

Chocolate covered Oreo's in a gift box-  Fun gift to receive.

Molded chocolate over sticks or pretzels

The picture just doesn't do this one justice.  The sheen on the Santa face was beautiful.  It's almost too pretty to eat.  (I said "almost"-don't go crazy)

Snowman chocolate box holding more chocolate

This little turkey is so adorable.  He is made with a marshmallow and cookies.

These are chocolate covered Oreo's.  

These are hard to see-they're the samples of fudge, truffles, caramel covered chocolates and the cream chocolates.  

The shop is located at:
Classic Cake Decorations
12530 Valley View St.
Garden Grove, CA 92845

The store offers classes on Chocolate making around every holiday throughout the year.  Call the shop for details.  They sell all the supplies necessary, the recipes and chocolates.  Plus they'll answer any questions you may have.   (They ship too).

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What's on the Needles Wednesday

I finally finished Emmaline's Graphically Gray Chevron Blankie!!!!!!  I am so glad to have that off the needles.  It is an easy pattern to follow.  After 5 rows it was memorized and brainless (especially after placing markers).  But it was also boring, boring, boring.  This is why I like to have multiple WIPs at any given time.  When I start feeling bored with a project I can drop it and work on something else.

With the Graphically Gray I had a self imposed deadline.  If I wasn't a procrastinator I probably would have cast on when I bought the yarn and pattern and had plenty of time to finish it without knitting it almost exclusively for 2 weeks.  Up until the last 2 color row repeats I took it with me for my train knitting.  It went with me to knitting group and anywhere I went for 3 weeks it went with me.

Ta Da:

It looks great.  I love the chevron pattern.  I choose to deviate from the pattern for the edges.  The pattern has you fill in the triangles on either end.  I choose to keep them.  And just edged with a basic crochet stitch. I think this blanket will be treasured for years to come.

I've almost finished this pair of socks:

It's pictured above on my lap as I ripped out 20 or so rows.  I was originally making them for myself, then a friend at knitting wanted them so I decided to make them for her and kept knitting until they were sized to her feet.  I asked her to try them on to verify fit before finishing the toe.  The heel decreases landed about 3 stitches to the inside of her heel.  I know I would hate that and wouldn't wear them and figured neither would she.  So I decided to rip back to before the toe decreases and make these for me again.  (I have the same yarn and plenty of it to make her a pair with heels that won't annoy-so those will be cast on sometime in the next few days).  I only have the closing via Kitchener stitch left and weaving in the ends and these babies are done done done.  These are in a blackberry colorway and a knit picks yarn which I can't remember at the moment.  The picture makes them look an icky maroon color and they are not.

This morning on the train I cast on with this lovely sock yarn from a swap and started another pair of socks.

I am working on my own personal sock drawer heaven.  I've been inspired by the knitmoregirls podcast and their Operation sock drawer.  They have a thread on Ravelry for you to post pictures of your current sock drawer to inspire others.  Check it out here: Show us your socks.  Jasmine from the Knitmoregirls podcast saw a picture of Susan B. Anthony's sock drawer and was inspired to start Operation sock drawer.  There is something just perfectly cozy and yummy about wearing hand knit socks.  

I have a small collection.  So far just 3 pairs.  I've got another 3 on the needles currently and a few balls of yarn just waiting to become socks.  And with knitting two at a time I don't have to suffer from SSS anymore.

Check back tomorrow to hear all about the Chocolate class I took over the weekend.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Whats on the Needles Wednesday & Weekend Wrapup

It's been a really busy couple of weeks.  I've been working almost exclusively on the Graphically Gray Chevron blanket for Emmaline.  I am so close to being done.  I am so excited to be done.  Not because it will look awesome once finished and blocked, but because I can cast on something new.  I am so incredibly BORED with the graphically gray blankie.

I've got two color repeats to go and then I need to fill in the triangle sections that are a result of the chevron pattern and then the edging.  Yay!!!

I finished one stripped sock and have cast on for the second.  I'm going to be ripping back the two at a time purple socks that I've been working on for Bessie and will redo the toe based on my foot size.  I decided that the heel decreases hit the bottom of her foot in a place that would irritate her while wearing and will be casting on a new pair just for her.  I'm going to increase the width of the heel flap by 2 stitches and think that will solve that problem.  No one likes a seam or bump under their heel.

Last weekend the Twisted Stitchers had a booth at the Bella Boutique:

We made a lot of things and will be placing the left overs on our Etsy shop.  I need to get the info for that from someone and then I'll post it.  We have shawls (including a mink shawl that is so soft you'll never want to put it down), hats, scarfs, cowls, toys, purses, headbands, blankets, soap/lotion dispenser covers and more.

Last weekend I went to a rummage sale at a yarn shop.  They were selling donated yarns and supplies for needle crafting to benefit a local children's group.  My haul:

The funniest tag I've seen:

Can you read that?  I says 100% miscellaneous odd lots of undetermined fiber content.  That just amusing me.

Enjoy the rest of the week.  Two and a half days to go until the WEEKEND!  I haven't started counting down the hours because I think that would just make me cry.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Village Venture Aftermath

This past weekend was a busy busy weekend.  A couple of friends and I headed up North to Claremont and attended the Village Venture.  The Venture is a huge arts and crafts show.  It spanned 19 blocks.  The stalls were set up on each side of every street and most of the shops in the village were open as well.  I didn't take a lot of photos of stalls, most of the vendors had signs asking that no pictures were taken.  (Probably because most of what I saw I could recreate if I had the time, energy and desire).

We started the day at a LYS- Colors 91711 in Claremont.  Colors is also next door to the public library which made it an excellent starting and ending spot (actually bathrooms and not port o potties and easy to remember).  We wound our way through about a quarter of the venture before taking a break for lunch.

We choose Dr. Grubbs.  I actually checked in on Facebook (which I rarely do because frankly who cares where you go and what you do and where you choose to eat-unless on vacation or there's another reason you want me to know where you are at every moment of your day- you know who you are...).  I mention this only because of the following conversation that took place in the comments of that checkin.

Mom: "Are you ok"?
Me: "Yes.  Its a restaurant with tasty yummy food"
Brother: " Amy, stop making your mom worry!  Imagine, going to a medical themed restaurant like that!"
Mom:  "Sounds much better than a physician's office"

We giggled over that conversation for the rest of the afternoon.

There were several booths selling yarn related merchandise but no real sellers of yarn.  I did find this purse and thought that the flowers were pretty.  I would never use a purse like this because I would get those blooms caught on everything and it wouldn't take more than a week before they were ripped off after being caught and me not noticing.

We stopped in one shop with vintage things (if you can call stuff from the 80's and 90's vintage) and they had a beautiful covered garden patio in the back.  

This little garden is pretty and about the right size for my patio.  Plus bonus-not much watering required.

I just love the way they decorated these pumpkins.  The plants are glued on.  I'm not sure how long they would last before dying but I think you could add plants on top of a pumpkin without glue as long as it was a bowl type of top and not rounded.

There were at least three vendors selling silverware jewelry.  Do you remember that stuff?  I know I have a pair of fork earrings somewhere and a spoon bracelet.  I think I bought them in 1992.  In any case I think this guy (girl?) is pretty cool.

The Venture had one street dedicated to community groups, charities and animal shelters.  One of the shelters works with birds and brought a hawk and several owls.  It was fun seeing them up close; especially watching the owls watch the golden retrievers next door.  

We also spent half an hour or so sitting on the grass watching people walk by, resting our feet and knitting.

I'm still working on the Graphically Gray Baby Blanket for Emmaline who arrived on Friday.  

It was a great day.  We didn't break the bank shopping, got about 2.5 miles of walking done (thanks fitbit) and came home with a small haul:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's On The Needles Wednesday

I've been working on several projects, which isn't unusual for most knitters.

Graphically Gray Baby Blanket
Cuff down socks-two at a time one circular needle
Channel Sweater, modified
Hats, Hats and More Hats
Bazaar Hand knits
Cherry Blossom Socks
Basic stripped socks

There may be more on the needles, but I'm not admitting to it.  My knitting group is selling hand knits and hand crocheted items at a local bazaar and on our Etsy shop.  

The Bazaar is the Bella Boutique which will be held on November 2, 2013 in Costa Mesa, California from 9am until 1 pm.  This will be an awesome event. There is a free kids carnival to entertain your brood while you shop.  You won't want to miss it if you are local or will be in the area.

This cowl is one of the items for sale.  We'll have toys, hats, scarves, shawls, and so much more-you won't want to miss it.

I don't have a picture of the Graphically Gray Chevron Baby blanket.  It's coming along.  It has two colors that repeat 16 times.  I think I'm on 4.  I really enjoy the knitting but it feels like it will take me forever to complete it.  Which is not good as the baby will be here on Friday.  I have a slight reprieve as I won't meet her until mid November.  I can finish it by then.  I think.

The Channel sweater has been on the needles for a while.  I ignore it most of the time.  It's not because I don't like it, because I do.  It's because it is something being knit for me and gets set aside while I work on other things.  I did put it in my bag today for train knitting and was able to get an inch or so done this morning and will continue tonight.

The Cuff down two socks at a time are in a pretty blackberry color and are done except for the toe grafting.  I will use the Kitchener stitch.  I love the Kitchener.  I just need the recipients toes to ensure that the fit is perfect and then I will graft.  In the meantime they are hanging out in their project bag waiting.

The Cherry Blossom socks are for me and are waiting for time.  I've gotten two inches of one done.  I am planning on casting on the second sock, getting to the same spot and moving them onto one circ so I can do them at the same time.  I have SSS (Second Sock Syndrome).  I am a lifelong sufferer.  Well, lifelong since I've begun sock knitting.  

I participated in an ornament swap in the last couple of weeks.  Here are the ornaments I received.  Aren't they cute.  I will be "stealing" the ideas for ornaments for friends and family this Christmas.  Which means I've got to start those soon.

Love this one!  Such a good idea.  

Sorry for the awful picture.  I didn't think it was too bad until I cropped.  Major blurriness occurring.  

This one is nifty.  It's got something on it to make it stiff.  I am getting excited for Christmas and decorating.  I am not looking forward to dragging the tree out of the garage.  It's behind, well, Everything.  Some husband bribery ought to do the trick.  We'll see.