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Knit and Crochet

Going through my stash

Saturday, May 30, 2009

So, today I decided to try and organize/go through my yarn stash. I have a front living room that is becoming my craft area and right now things are just sort of stored there so to speak. I am notorious for buying one or two skeins of yarn just because I like it's color or texture or just because the wind happens to blow a certain way on that day. Needless to say I have a bunch of yarn that by itself is good for little else than scarves if I just use that yarn alone. After an hour of trying to organize and categorize I gave up and decided that a trip to Lowe's is in order tomorrow to pick up another organizer and I'm grouping all my yarns by color. That way if I want to make a shawl or scarf with different yarns I'll at least have it all separated by colors and can choose that way.

While going through the yarn I also found bags that I had stashed unfinished projects in. One of the things I uncovered was a piece I was designing as I was knitting it. Originally it was supposed to be a sleeveless top that I was making in the round from the bottom up that would have a cowl neck at the top. The bottom part would be done in a semi lace pattern then below the bust it would turn to a stockinette stitch and finish up in the cowl neck.

First off my original gauge I did was either different then what I ended up doing on the piece itself or I just measured it wrong. I'm betting on the latter issue. I got to the place where I thought I would be changing to the stockinette stitch and put it on waste yarn and discovered it was HUGE. After all the work I had put into this ripping it out was NOT an option or it would never be done. So I decided with the shape it was and the size it was it would make the perfect caplet. Instead of a stockinette stitch at this point I change to a k1,p1 rib pattern to help cinch in the top as well as some k2tog around. It was going well and I tried it on again and really wasn't happy with it and knew I needed to do a couple more rows of decreases. I was tired of working on it as well as putting the multitude of stitched on the needle again so it just got stashed away.

All of this was before I got my bust that I use for taking photos of my scarves and shawls. When I found it today and put it on my bust and realized that it isn't as awful and I thought it was and really turned out quite nice. It does still need about 4 or 5 rows with some spaced decreasing but when it's done I think it will be quite nice. Here is a photo of it in it's current state.

Knitting in the Sun Review

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I am a sucker for knitting books and magazines. My magazine collection got so large I had to break down and go through all of them tearing out the patterns I really loved and thought there was some chance of me actually doing and putting them all in a binder sorted by type, like sweater, top, scarf, shawl, etc. Honestly it's the most organized thing about my knitting which is sad considering how much yarn and projects I have stashed around the house.

This weekend I picked up a new book that came out this month (May 11) called Knitting in the Sun by Kristi Porter. Living in Florida I thought this might be a good book geared for our usually warm weather. It retails for $22.99 but I got mine at Borders using a 40% off coupon. There are 32 projects, so even at the retail price I feel it's a good value.

First off, let me tell you that my rule of thumb for buying a knitting or crochet pattern book is that if there isn't at least 4 patterns in the book that I like, I don't buy it. My thoughts on this is that your average, individual pattern sells for between $5-7 and your average knitting book costs about $21. So, if you can find 4 patterns in it you'd want to make you're doing good. Now, on to the review...

Obviously, the patterns in this book, for the most part, appeal to my style and what I enjoy to knit because I bought the book. If you like the layout of Interweave Knit books like Wrap Style or Scarf Style then you will like how this book is laid out as well as they are very similar. The range of levels for the projects in the book is a nice balance as well. There are things that would be good for the beginner as well as the everyday knitter.

These are the patterns I love and hope to be casting one of the on in the near future.
  • Windansea - This is a cute looking sun hat which I find intriguing because you need to use millinery wire to actually form and shape the hat and I've really been wanting to make something like this. I bought a book about a year ago with a similar pattern but this one is just a much simpler pattern to do something like this for the first time.
  • Queensway Bay - The pattern is listed as a "tunic" but this really would be perfect as a swimsuit cover-up or a cute dress for a stroll on the beach. I can totally see myself using one on a trip down to Sanibel Island.
  • Bridgetown - A really cute long sleeved cardigan sweater with a leafy lace panel along the sides and as a border along the bottom.
  • Coronado - A lovely shawl collared cardigan that uses a ribbed eyelet type pattern. This will most likely be the project that I do first. It was between this one and the Bridgetown and when I showed my husband he liked this one the best and I have to agree.
  • Santorini - A short kimono style jacket that uses a great Wavy Lace pattern around all the edges. I don't think I would ever wear this but I'm contemplating making one for my mother in law because it looks her style.
  • Haleakala - Have an old beach chair frame or an old beach chair that could use a revamp? This is the perfect update. The back piece is a great star/flower pattern that is just lovely
While these are my favorites there are some pieces in this book that are absolutely stunning but just aren't my style. I don't "do" knitted skirts but there are two long skirts in this book that are absolutely beautiful. There is also a very feminine wrap around top that has these great ruffle like sleeves and very romantic styled neckline. And yes, like all "summer" knitting books there is the knitted two piece bathing suit, but this one is a cute boy short and bandaeu like top that is a nice change from your typical triangle two piece suit you typically see.

The biggest dissapointment of this book for me was the short sleeve and long sleeve sections of the (the above mentioned wrap around top being the exception). They just didn't stand out and in my opinion were too similar to tops I've seen in knitting magazines over and over. There was also a lightweight hooded sweater that I really wanted to make based on just photos I saw and then when I looked at the pattern it covered 9 pages and in general I felt I could achieve a similar look with a much simpler pattern.

All in all I really do like this book and if you live in warmer climate area and looking for a book that caters to that type of knitting then I definitely recomend it.

The Eve of a 3 Day Weekend

Friday, May 22, 2009

I am so looking forward to this three day weekend. The only thing I have planned is to take new pictures of practically everything in my shop. Or at least the shawl pins and the wire wrapped pendants. I've been working on my website and decided that I need to retake ALL the pictures for it so I'm hoping the weather holds out this weekend and is nice enough.

Other than the photo taking I have a couple of earring orders to work on as well as catch up on some of my jewelry. I have the neatest wire wrapped pendant/necklace but it's sort of an odd color so getting a matching stone/bead for the drop is proving to be sort of a pain. I'm serously considering making a glass bead myself that would go with it. I also plan on getting my kiln up and running and get the multitude of beads that I have made annealed. I have quite a few bracelet ideas for them and am just waiting for this one step to get done.

Speaking of glass I got larger mandrels in the mail this week and some new glass. I'm still getting used to the larger mandrel, they're the size that you use to make beads that fit a Pandora style bracelet. I love working with the larger mandrels just quite haven't got my rhythm using them down yet. I did make two last night that turned out pretty good size and even wise though so I'm making progress.

Rain, Rain and More Rain...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It has been raining what seems like non-stop all week. It's nice because we need the rain but after about 4 days of it constantly I'm tired of it already. Apprently there's some front that was moving through that has stalled out so we're getting all of this rain from it.

When I first moved here after getting married it was the end of August. It rained every day at 4:00 for almost a month straight I think. You'd have beautiful weather in the morning and then it would get about 4:00 pm and it would be a downpour with high winds and whatever else. I used to kid my husband that if Florida was supposed to be the Sunshine State what gives?!

I have been busy lately working on different things. Practicing some glass techniques of which I'm waiting for some new glass and mandrels to come in today and tomorrow. I've also been working with my PMC clay some. Have a couple things done up that I'm anxious to get fired but Dave hasn't gotten a place in the garage done up yet. I think he's working on that today. I also did three new pendants this weekend and have been working on some clay earrings. All have been listed in my etsy shop.

Last night I worked up this wonderful piece of larimar I got in on Tuesday. I love the tie-dye effect that the crystals formed when this stone was created so, I'm really happy with how this one turned out. It will also be added to my shop shortly.

What a way to start a weekend

Saturday, May 16, 2009

So, Thursday, one of my co-workers let me have their indoor spot since they were out of the office. On the way to my car at the end of the day I slipped in a puddle of water left from a car's air condition and fell. If I was wearing regular shoes or even small heels this probably wouldn't have been too big of a deal, no I was wearing my 4 inch platform heeled shoes. These shoes here.

Yeah, ouch is right. I got extremely lucky I only dislocated my ankle and it popped back in to place right after. So, while it REALLY hurt when it happened and then REALLY ached after it happened I seem to not have done anything seriously bad to it. The bad thing was that yet again this week I've had to stay home from work. I swear, every time I get like 3 days saved up something happens and I end up having to take time off. I want some time off....I need some serious time off but here lately every time I get time accrued it is spent on something that is not fun nor all that relaxing.

Friday I could barely walk without it taking forever to get somewhere but today my mobility is MUCH better. Still a bit of a limp but at least I can bend/turn my ankle more than yesterday. Surprisingly I didn't get a nasty bruise like I thought I would. There is a dark discoloration around the ankle but unless it's a deep bruise that's still coming to the surface it doesn't look too bad.

Anway, on a lighter note, here are some cute pictures of Little G that I took last weekend. One of him in what I call his "Havana" shirt and the other looking like a home run hitter playing with his new T-ball set.

It's been a while...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's been a while since I've posted last as I have been busy with things. Lots of stuff has come in this week material wise. My kiln on Monday, which is going to be set up this weekend and some PMC clay and more wire for pendants that came in yesterday. I also got some beautiful ring sized cabochons of natural rubies, amethyst, sapphire, emerald, citrine and green tourmaline. I also have a beautiful colored iolite stone and opal floating around. Lots of stuff to play with this weekend. I'm also expecting some green turquoise in that I ordered that I think will make beautiful men's rings just in time for Father's Day.

Speaking of father's Dave totally ticked me off last night. On our weekly grocery trip I had bought some pre-cooked chipolte flavored chicken that was cut up similar to how fajitas would be with longer pieces or strips of chicken mixed in with smaller "chunks". Bought tortillas and some shredded lettuce and whatever else would be needed for the meal and cooked it up last night. I was busy getting Little G's plate ready and getting him buckled in his booster seat at the table so I told Dave to go ahead and fix his plate up first. So by the time I get back to the kitchen to fix my plate Dave is done and already put his on the table. I take a look in the skillet and he took ALL of the big, long, strips of chicken all that was left were the little chunks that were like 1 to 1.5 inches. Then he actually came back into the kitchen getting the drinks and says, in a truly genuine tone, "See, I left you LOTS of chicken". I was speechless, all I could do was shake my head pour my chicken pieces into the tortillas and just go with it. Tonight we're having spaghetti, at least I know there's no bigger pieces for him to hog tonight.

Day after Mother's Day

Monday, May 11, 2009

I have to say that my Mother's Day weekend was pretty good. I got to spend lots of time playing with my new torch kit and glass. I have a slew of new beads awaiting my kiln that should be arriving today. Little G picked me a flower when he went to Grandpa's house while I was at the knit shop and then I got this cute little votive that is tissue paper glued to the glass to make it look like stained glass that he did in daycare.

We were originally going to go to the beach but decided that it probably would be too crowded. Instead we hung out here at the house and went swimming since our pool is finally warm enough to use. The only down part was yesterday evening when we went to put Little G to bed. He was really hot to the touch and turned out he was running a fever of 102. We gave him some motrin and it brought the fever down but he still had one this morning when we woke up so I stayed home today to take care of him. He's doing pretty good and his fever seems to be subsiding which is good.

I LOVE making glass beads

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Okay, so as some of you might have read I was expecting my bead kit and a kiln sometime this week. The kit came in on Thursday and the kiln will be here Monday. Friday night I decided to try out my bead making skills. I'm ambidextrous so the whole thing of working and spinning the rod in one hand and the mandrel in the other wasn't all that uncomfortable for me. The thing I seemed to be doing wrong at the beginning was holding the rods and mandrel too close to the far end so I wasn't as stable as I should've been. Anyway, I'm getting the hang of it and I am really enjoying it. I see another set of mandrels in my near future.

Here is a picture of the beads I have made so far in order, the clear blue one was my first.

This bead was my last and by far my favorite of all, although that black and white striped one I made before it I was pretty proud of as well.

I made it with this kind of cream/ivory colored rod with some Double Helix Psyche twirled in. I'm hoping I'm able to make some more in this style because I think it's beautiful. And I love the metallic shine that I'm getting with the psyche.

Mama's gettin' a brand new bag

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Everyone has those little shopping must haves. For most women it's usually shoes or purses. For me it's sunglasses and cutesy tote type bags. My tote bags usually end up turning into a knitting bag and I think I have 4 currently hanging around my house all with yarn and ongoing projects stuffed in them. The other day I logged into etsy and did a brief look at the little 15 seconds of fame boxes at the bottom of what's recently been listed. I saw this, by gardencris27 The color was what first caught my eye but after I clicked on it I totally fell in love with it.

While some might cringe at the color I honestly probably would've bought it just to have a new knitting bag just like it is because it's quite bright and cheery. It also reminds me of this vintage 60's sundress I bought off ebay one time that was close to these colors and pattern. But, I saw in the shop announcement that she did custom ones and I really wanted something I could use as a knit bag or some trendy bag I could go out and about with when I get tired of my normal purse. So, I contacted the shop owner and she sent me a link to where she orders fabric to pick some out. I picked out this awesome Joel Dewberry fabric for the main part and the lining and ties will be a solid brown that matches the butterfly.

I am WAY excited about getting it and can't wait to see it. So check out her shop and show it some love because she really does have a nice variety of things and all of them are totally cute.

Play toys

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

So, last Friday I broke down and ordered my kiln and I am super excited about it getting here. I already have a ton of ideas going throuhg my head and have boughten quite a few smaller cabs to try my hand at making some rings and pendants with the PMC clay. Of course the kiln hasn't arrived yet but still I'm anxiously waiting.

I also ordered a glass kit on Friday that will be here tomorrow. So by the weekend I hope to be making me some glass beads. Dave and I were talking last night about how cultural Orlando tries to make itself out to be but it's sometimes hard to find places that cater to these type works. I found lots of studios but I had a hard time finding a brick and mortar store I can walk in to and buy glass rods or some other type equipment. When I was thinking about picking up hand throwing pottery I think I only found two places I could go and get clay but only one was really near to where I live. It can be annoying sometime when I want to go out and get something and not have to wait.

Anyway, with any luck I'll be posting pictures this weekend of my new glass beads. Yay!

And the winner is....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Arelel Designs

She has been contacted about her win and I will be sending this lovely pendant out to her today. Thanks to everyone that participated! :)

Mother's Day Weekend Giveaway - Wrapped Pendant

Friday, May 1, 2009

So, in honor of Mother's Day I thought I would do a blog giveaway. In my etsy shop I have this pendant which titled Love in Bloom. Click on the photo for more details about this pendant.

This is how it will work:

Starting today (Friday, May 1st) until Monday, May 4th if you leave a comment here under this posting or follow my blog you will be entered in the drawing that I will do Tuesday morning. If you make a purchase from me between these times as well you get an extra entry for every item purchased. Tuesday morning I'll draw the name, post the winner as well as contact them, address the package and will send it out priority mail in the hopes that it will reach it's destination before Mother's Day on May 10th. Also, please be sure to leave a way I can contact you via e-mail or convo.

I do ship to Canada and the U.K. so if you're from there don't be shy, just understand that it probably won't get there before the 10th.
Good luck to everyone! :)