Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm so in Love...

with this handbag, that is. It's Namaste's Zuma and I love it!

My Namaste Zuma Bag

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not a Material Girl.  Expensive Handbags are not for me.  And this was a steal! If you follow my tweets (I'm iKnit2Purl2 on Twitter), you might have seen a tweet last Sunday mentioning a  50% Off Namste Sale by Little Knits .  What a deal!  I was so excited that I had to share it with everyone!

So what do I love about my new handbag? Well, first, I love the size...I have several large, not huge but large handbags, that get a little heavy and a little cumbersome.  Zuma is a little smaller at roughly 9" W by 11" H with a 17" Base.  And its lightweight which is perfect since I tote a knitting bag along with a handbag about half the time. Open it up and there's plenty of room for stuff.  Plus 2 zipper compartments on the outside.  I love this feature as I can stuff my keys and phone into one compartment for easy access.  It closes on top with three magnets.  Usually, I prefer zip tops but the 3 magnets (one of which snaps) seem to prevent the contents from falling out as I throw my purse in the backseat of the car or beside me on the passenger seat.  A regular occurence as I pick up and drop off kiddos at school and other activities.

I'm already thinking about which color Zuma to get for summer!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Wanna Knit Socks - Yarn Give-A-Way

I want to knit socks...I want to knit socks all during February.  Maybe even during March.  Not just the two pairs that are lanquishing in little project bags on a corner of my counter.  I wan to knit Fun Socks.  Your favorite socks.

So...I'm having a Yarn-Give-A-Way.  Two Skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Yarn in Ysolda Red.  Each skein is approximately 215 yards.  Enough to make your own pair of socks.  And red for Valentine's Day!

How do you enter?  Just a leave a comment below and tell me about your favorite (knitted) sock pattern and where I can find it.  Leave as many different comments as you like.  I will use a random number generator to decide the winner.  All entries must be submitted by January 31st at 11:59 pm.  I'll announce the winner on February 1st!

I'm looking forward to hearing about your favorite sock patterns!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Special Olympic Scarves - Revisited

This year's colors for the Special Olympic Scarves
Last year, my then 12 year old daughter and I knit scarves for the Idaho Special Olympics.  Our challenge was to see if she could knit one scarf faster than I could knit two...I'm proud to say she did! This year we are going to try again.  I will probably only knit one this year as I seem to have a major startitis thing going on.  My daughter loves the offical colors of the yarn...Red Heart Blue and Turqua.

 We found a list of states' deadlines for receiving these scarves at this website.  I'll let my daugher decide where to send the scarf.  I'm glad she is doing this again.  She didn't knit anything else last year after she was done with that 6 foot loooonnnng oh mom its sooooo loooooonng scarf.  But she's learning how to knit and she's doing something for someone else.  Last night, she cast on the scarf completely without any help, found her stitch counter and started knitting!  Maybe one day she'll decide to knit something for herself but in the meantime I'm happy to pass along this skill that I learned from my grandmother!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Knit-A-Long with The SweatShop of Love - Week 1

I love Snow Weeks!!  My children had five, count them, five snow days last week! The ice was awful (not many snowplows in Georgia!) and every day at noon, almost like clockwork, my daughter would announce that she had just received a text from her BFF saying that school was canceled the next day! My daughter would quickly veryify this on the school system's website and, by Wednesday afternoon, we already knew that we'd be home til Tuesday! We did get a little stir crazy and a lot of housecleaning did get done...and there was knitting....lots and lots of knitting!

So, in addition to all of the NaKniMitMo mitten knitting, I started  Beatnik as part of the The SweatShop of Love Sweater Knit-A-Long.  And can you believe it??...I stayed up with this weeks goal!!! We'll see what next week brings since we'll be back to our regular schedules! (and no more snow is forecasted!)

Week 1 Progress on my Beatnik Sweater!
I think I may add a few rows before I start the waist decreases.  This picture shows my progress through Row 8 of the  first set of Charts.  Maybe about an inch more for a little added length.  I am finding that the charts get easier to read as I get further into the pattern.  It is a little bit like learning a new language. So far so good...hopefully I will have time to keep up with the knitalong.  I've actually planned how I want my knitting to go this week since I'd like to make progress on my mittens too!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Norwegian Selbu Mittens - Update!

I am really enjoying these mittens. I'm hoping they fit my daughter but the pattern is perfect for trying the Selbu technique. Why? I think mostly because this pattern uses sport weight yarn so there are less than 60 stitches per row (48 in the beginning). So you get pretty quick results. And it's a gorgeous design that isn't too complicated. After all of that fussing with trying a black bacground with a white design, I am really glad I went back to the traditional white background and black design. I'm already looking forward to knitting another pair. The next ones will probably be more traditional. I like Terri Shea's book, Selbuvotter, which has many beautiful Selbu patterns and provides a great history of these traditional Norwegian black and white Mittens. Check out Terri Shea on Ravelry. These patterns are gorgeous!

I think the palm side (and eventual thumb) have a beautiful design! All in all, this looks much more complicated than it really is so don't be afraid to try it.  If you look closely, you can see on the palm side that every other row is merely alternating black and white.  The most difficult part, for me so far, of knitting these Selbu Mittens (and the fair isle mittens previously) is learning how to keep the yarn tension correct.  It's getting better but does take a little practice.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowed In...So Why Is It So Difficult To Get This Mitten Started???

We have snow in Atlanta! Not just a dusting (which is usually enough to close school for a day) but about 6 inches! This is the view of my front yard and the street...all snow covered and a LOT icy. 

No snowplows here in Georgia!  And the roads are too hilly to navigate if you don't have four wheel drive.  Even my husband stayed home yesterday!  The kids played outside and my husband shoveled the driveway (thank you Sweetheart!).  Today, my husband would like to get on a plane for a business trip.  His flight on Monday was canceled along with a gazillion others.  Right now, all I am hearing on the news is "Stay home...the roads are too icy".  And, since there is another snow day, the kids are still asleep (teenagers!) and I am with our Westie, Stella, who most definitely does not like this much snow!  So, for now, coffee and knitting - how good is that?

So what have I been knitting? Well, the Fair Isle Mittens were completed over the weekend.  I like the way they came out but the definitely need to be blocked and there are a bazillion ends to weave in.  These mittens are much heavier than I would have thought - the yarn is 2 ply Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift.  I guess all of the carrying of yarn results in a very heavy mitten. 

I'm looking forward to trying Fair Isle again but right now I am knitting a pair of Norwegian Selbu Mittens.  Well, trying to at least. 

It took FOUR trys to get the cuff of the first mitten going.  I felt like Goldilocks with knitting needles! First, I tried US Size 2.5 needles-the cuff looked way too small after 12 rows.  Then, I tried US Size 4...the needles were metal and after 5 or 6 rows I just gave up because I kept getting jabbed in the wrist...not something I wanted for two whole mittens worth of knitting.  I tried again with a circular size 4 but I knew the Magic Loop and Stranded Knitting would drive me crazy.  So, I found a set of US Size 3 needles...kind of long and a little jabby but bamboo so not so bad.  Oh, and after trying, three times to knit a black cuff/background with a contrasting white, I switched to a white cuff/background with contrasting black.  By George, I think I got far so good.  And, as a friend often reminds me, I'm not worrying about the gauge or size...they will fit somebody!  I'm using Cascade 220 Sport which is nice and soft and, hopefully, will knit up quickly...there's only 48 stitches per row.  Since I am expecting that the kids will be back in school tomorrow, I hope to get a lot done today.