Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wanna Join Me?

The Challenge:  How many hats can I knit in eight days! I'd like to get nine done Before for each of the guys in my family.  I'm choosing pretty plain patterns mostly because the guys in my family are not fancy hat guys.  I'm hoping that each one will only take about 4 hours. 
Sounds like a lot of daily knitting right? Not this time of year. 
This afternoon started The Eight Days of the Nutcracker.    Haven't heard about that time of year? It is a bit specific to dancers and their families.  Today was the "in-studio" rehearsal for the Nutcracker at my daughter's dance school.  Then, a regular day of dance classes (where certain Nutcracker dances are almost always practiced).  Followed by a "tech" rehearsal at the theater. (The dreaded "tech" rehearsal might be over by midnight; it is supposed to start at 6pm - it won't.  There will be  hours of making sure everyone knows where to be on stage for two casts - my daughter's dancing in both of them).  Wednesday and Thursday bring dress rehearsals, Cast A one night and Cast B the second.  Cast A's dress rehearsal will last much longer than Cast B's.Finally, show time! Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday afternoon.  It is a long, long week.  But I think I love it as much as my daughter.  I'm not even a once upon a time dancer.  But we've been going to Nutcrackers since she was two and she's been dancing in them since she was seven.   It's a family event that starts off the holiday season.  Even my son loves the Battle Scene.  I never get tired of watching it.  The rehearsals though get a little tedious.  But there's a Starbucks nearby.  Perfect for several evenings of knitting.
So what am I going to knit?  First up, Rib-a-Roni.  I started this in an adult size large today...we'll see how far I get this evening.  Later, I will knit A Hat fit for a ....   nephew or a brother-in-law.  Then, of course, another Turn A Square.  I think that will be my 5th Turn A Square.  I love the crowns of all three of these hats.  The decreases in the pattern create very beautiful crowns on these hats.
And, I promise not to buy any more yarn! I have several skeins of worsted weight yarn that I can choose from.  So, Stashbustarmy, I promise not to go AWOL this week!  Wish me luck!
I can't wait to see how many hats I can knit this week! Wanna join me?  Take the hat challenge!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Irish Hiking Mitts - My First Pattern!

Believe it or not, I have spent much of the past week designing my first knitting pattern! I am SOOO excited! Irish Hiking Mitts is now available on Ravelry as a free pattern download! It’s my holiday gift for all of you lovely knitty and yarny people who have been so encouraging over the past year!

Since I’ve never attempted designing a pattern to share before, it took a while to figure out what to try. My priorities in chosing a first project: (1) a small project and (2) something that I could knit with yarn from my stash.  With the colder weather, I thought fingerless mitts would be a great place to start…something fairly simple with an interesting pattern. I love knitting cables and if you haven't tried them yet, this is an easy pattern to try! I adapted these mitts from Adrian Bizilia’s Irish Hiking Scarf…a beautiful cable pattern. I hope Adrian finds that these mitts are true to her original and lovely pattern!  And ,Stashbustarmy - this project uses about 220 yards (or less) of worsted weight yarn!

Once I started knitting, it wasn’t terribly difficult to write the pattern down. The thing with mitts is that you get a chance (more or less) to test knit your pattern by working the second mitt. Hopefully, I found most of the errors when I did this! I also made a second pair to test the whole pattern. It was a little bit of a challenge to add the pattern onto Ravelry. I’m going to stick to the theory that creative people (cause that’s what I am now, right?) are not necessarily tech people. It took a while for me to figure out how to save my Word file as a PDF file. The instructions on Ravelry were great and I managed to set myself up as a designer and upload my PDF file into the Ravelry library fairly quickly.

Hope you all get a chance to make some warm and toasty Irish Hiking Mitts soon! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


What  do I really like about the updated  Ravelry Website?  Well, there’s a lot…but mostly, it’s the Pattern Search Engine – I love to click on the pattern browser and advanced search and then click on various sort features…most projects, most favorites, most queued, etc. Seems to be a close race right now between Clapotis (haven’t knitted this yet) and  Fetching (recently knitted). Maybe the colder weather and upcoming holidays have everyone wanting to knit scarves and gloves. I also like to click on the browse categories on the main pattern page and then click search inside this category to find, for example, the most popular scarves. For me, I equate popular and most projects with being on the easy to moderate side. That’s generally the kind of projects l like; something that I can pick up and put down and pick up again since I don’t always have huge chunks of time to sit down and knit (wish I did though!) I could spend hours browsing patterns. Some weekend mornings, before the kids are up, I think I might be on Ravelry for a few hours! A pot of coffee, hubby has his newspapers and I have the laptop! I try to be judicious in what I queue and what I fave but sometimes that is a monumental task because…I…want…to…knit…it…all! NOW!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Catching Up!!!!

Wow! It has been Forever since I Iast blogged….looks like the first day of school in fact! Yes, I’ve been busy with the kiddos and taking them here, there and everywhere. I wouldn’t have it any other way. My son has his learner’s permit and can’t wait to get his driver’s license; I will miss the time we spent together in the car. He’s been a little more talkative of late and I will miss all of that time with my wonderful son! Fortunately for me, my daughter never wants to drive, never wants to leave home….I will have my sweet baby girl’s company always….for now, anyway!

So…what’s been on my needles? By mid September, I finished @Sweatshopoflove’s Test Knit Sweater! That was a lot of fun! I learned intarsia which I had never tried before. Also, I learned reverse stockinette….seems pretty obvious doesn’t it? But I never ran across that before.

After knitting Ishbel, which I love, I’ve been yearning to knit some more shawls…first, Traveling Woman by Liz Abinante. I used Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock in the Jimmy Beans Wool September Limited Edition Color called Chocolate Mousse.  Yes, it is pitiful but this beautiful shawl still needs to be blocked!

And, I’m so in love with Lornas Laces yarn, that WestKnits’ Boneyard Shawl was knitted using Shepherd Sport In Eclipse (also a Limited Edition Color). Seriously, I love Lornas Laces yarn so much and would work at Jimmy Bean’s Wool just to get more!

I wanted to start some easy-peasy projects for Holiday gift giving. First up, Fetching by Cheryl Naimath on  Fetching, as you all probably know, is one of the most popular projects on Ravelry. I knitted these pretty mitts while watching TV with the family one weekend. Quick, easy, pretty and a great use of yarn from my stash!

Next up was Habitat by Brooklyn Tweed aka Jared Flood. I could look at his Ravelry project page for hours so beautiful are the photographs! I used Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter in Sweatshirt. I love how soft and squishy this hat came out. Can’t wait to make one for me!

Lastly, my Halloween KopyKat Skully Socks inspired by @mysevenkids (my7kids on Ravelry). I love the combination of green and orange and the skull and bones was an easy intarsia pattern. (already making use of skills I learned a few months ago!) I finished them just after the last Trick or Treater came to our door (and got a ton of candy as a prize for being the last). First socks that I ever knit for me! And I squeezed them into Socktober! Now, onto more quick and easy projects for the holidays!

What have you been knitting lately?  Share here!