Everything else can wait until I finish this row…

Technique – The Purl Stitch

Time to show you how to do the Purl stitch, this is the other basic stitch in knitting.  Once you start purling, you will be able to create some beautiful patterns with the knit stitch, such as stockinette, seed, ribbing.

Right now my tutorials are being shown in photos here, but I am also working on getting a You Tube Channel set up in order to share some how-to videos.  I am still in need of some equipment like a  video camera, a tripod, and  professional salon manicured hands!  I want to make sure that the videos I share with you are clear, not just in instructions but also in the image resolution.  I might still be a while, but it will be done!

Until then, here is how you create the purl stitch:

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I hope this helps! Happy Purling!! 😉

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End of the Year Knitting Delusion

Xmas is next week and I still have to finish my husband’s sweater – ACK!  I am no good with knitting deadlines (terrible actually), but I am hopeful to get this sweater done in time.  At the time of this post , I have just finished seaming one shoulder and I swear that I will not go to sleep until I have the other should seamed as well.    That leaves only the sleeves and the hoodie to complete and with a bulky yarn, that actually seems plausible to me.  (I hope I haven’t just jinxed myself.)

The work of mischievous Knitting Elves

The work of mischievous Knitting Elves

If anything prevents me from finishing this sweater in time it will be my need to Procrastaknit.  Because I am trying to keep the final look of this sweater a surprise from my husband until Xmas morning, I casted on a pair of socks to work on when he’s home (and to count towards  my 2012 New Year’s Knitting Resolution).   But the knitting elves around my house didn’t like that idea so much and gave me a really hard time with winding up the yarn.  I am using Dream In Color Smooshy for these socks and on my first attempt to divide the skein into two balls created a tangled mess on my winder.  I am not sure how it happened, but it wrapped around the bottom of the winder’s base.  To fix that mess I had to recruit the hubby, and together we dealt with the yarn barf that ensued.  It took us a few minutes, but we got the yarn under control and I was able to start the 2-at-a-time socks while we watched the newest version of Casino Royale.

As if a new pair of socks weren’t enough to keep me from finishing his sweater, last week I worked on the last beaded row of my lace shawl.  This is the pattern I worked on during my cross country drive (I don’t recommend beaded lace projects on roadtrips) and then couldn’t find the beads after unpacking the move.  All that’s left to that project is the short row shaping and blocking to show off the lace work.   I hope to get this project done in time to wear it to a friend’s wedding on 12/30.

And then all of a sudden, the idea that I should knit something for me to wear on New Year’s Eve popped into my head yesterday afternoon after an unsuccessful shopping trip.  I keep thinking of how the New Lace Tunic, a crochet pattern by Lion Brand, would look great in the beautiful yellow yarn I got on my Cross Country Yarn Crawl.   And crochet works up quickly, so I can get that done by the 31st, right?  If not that, at least a quick cap inspired by the Lion Brand’s Russian Faux Fur Hat (publication is out of print, but you can see it on Ravelry).  I am not one for using Fun Fur yarn, but I have a skein of Plume by Prism Yarns, that is just super soft.

Then there are the other two hats that I have in the works.  One is for my husband’s colleague who commissioned a cap shaped like a brain.  The basic hat is done, now I just have a TON of I-cord to knit and attach to make it look like a brain (new car project).  The other is a hat that I want to make for my dad so that he has something to keep him warm while he is in New York in January.    Well, I haven’t started on that one yet, but it is on the back of my mind as one that I need to get going on.  Thankfully, these two can wait until after the holidays to be completed, I just have to stay focused on this sweater!


Big Thanks

Having someone thank you for a job well done is so awesome! I got a big hug from a customer today because I showed her how to cast-off her knitted cowl (and reminded her to do so loosely).   She was so proud of having completed her project and I was so happy that I was able to help her.  That hug totally made my day! 

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Becoming a Knitter & Hoping to Master the Craft

I have been working on the The Knitting Guild Association (TKGA) Master Handknitting Program lately, this is a goal that I need to achieve.  My husband says I downplay my strengths all the time (and there is some truth to that)  so I am working on this course because I need to validate my skills.  My parents have always emphasized the importance of  pursuing  higher learning and this is a way that helps me affirm that I am a capable knitter.

I learned to knit while I was in high school, one of my dearest friends  taught me, I am forever grateful that she did and I still get together to knit with her whenever possible (she lives across The Pond).   It was a brief introduction to the basics, I made about 3 lopsided scarves as gifts and then called it quits.  It didn’t interest me as a teenager and during my college years I was too busy to deal with pointy sticks.

It was in 2004, during my first corporate 9-5 job that I joined my first knitting circle.   Two wonderful women would sit and knit during their lunch breaks and I was intrigued by what they were producing so I wanted to rekindle the spark with my knitting needles.  About five other women that are the  same age as me tried it as well and the circle grew for a few weeks, but it wasn’t for everyone.  By the end I was the last woman stitching with the two knitters and I thrived under their guidance.  They even taught me to crochet, so that I could make a blanket for my cousin’s baby that year!

My first crochet project - an oversized granny square baby blanket to which I still have some of the left over yarn

My first crochet project: an over-sized granny square baby blanket that fit me!  By the looks of the curled edges, I obviously did not understand the importance of blocking at the time.

From there I just kept on going, when my husband and I first moved in together I went looking for a knitting circle in Philadelphia.  It was there that my skills grew and my little hobby turned into a lifestyle.  It took me a while, but eventually I joined a great Circle of young professional women at a LYS and I was mesmerized by their skills.  I was definitely the newbie as they were making beautiful sweaters with intarsia colorwork, lace shawls with charts that looked intimidating, intricate socks with cable patterns… I couldn’t phantom being able to knit like them.   But the greatest thing about being a member of a Knitting Circle is the encouragement you get from those around you.   Eventually I tried some intarsia, a little lace, and braved cables.  I went through the awkward stages of dealing with DPNs and shed a few tears over dropped stitches and ventured to embellish my knitting with beads.  I was mostly self taught on these techniques thanks to some books, websites, and videos, but I could never bring myself to try them without the support of those around me.

As I have hinted to before, after 5 years in Philadelphia we went to California, and it was there that I switched roles.  I was no longer the beginner, I had advanced in the craft and was teaching these skills to other knitters… and I was getting paid for it!  I was unsure of myself at first, the knitters in Philly were still doing so much more than I, surely the SoCal knitters knew more than me as well?

Truth is there is always someone that you can teach

and always someone that can teach you.

Wow… that just hit home.  I want to teach others to knit in a way they will love the craft, just as much as I still want to continue to learn about it.  This is where the Master Knitting Program comes in, I want to be proficient and educated to ensure that I am passing on the information along in the correct manner.  The Master Knitting Program is making me stop and think about the littlest details, like when do you decrease with a SSK vs a K2Tog?  I am not only knitting up swatches, I am also researching the history, the reason behind certain techniques, the need for proper tension, the unique characteristics of different fibers, and so much more.  Just looking at the sources I have gathered for the  report that I have to write about blocking shows that I still have a lot to learn – and this is only Level 1 of 3!   Wish me luck!

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Giving Knitting Purpose to Everyday Objects

Ok, so my last post I showed you a shoe cubby that I plan to use to organize my yarn.  And so I wanted to open the forum to see what other everyday objects are people out there using for crafty purposes.  Here are some of the things that I use myself or have seen other knitters use:

  1. Over-the-door Shoe Organizers: Another great way to store your yarn so that it is visible – I guess just about any way you can organize shoes, you can use to organize yarn
  2. Make-up bags: just about any little make-up bag pouch can be used to carry crafty supplies.  A friend from California used a roll intended for brushes to keep her crochet hooks
  3. Suit cases: I have an old Samsonite hat box that I use to hold all of the many smaller bags of crafty supplies.  Also, the handle of my carry on just broke and though my first thought was to throw it away, I realized that it would be a great place to store my yarn
  4. Dental Floss Case: Once you have used up your dental floss keep the little plastic case, the compartment that held the floss is great for holding stitch markers and you have a thread cutter that can easily go with you on the airplane
  5. Bread Bag Ties: This is another trick that I picked up from my California Knitting Group, they make great yarn bobbins.  They might be too small for Intarsia purposes, but it certainly is great for holding the tail end of your yarn in place
  6. Pantyhose: The ladies in my SoCal Knitting group are great innovators, some used cut-up pantyhose to hold their center pull balls of yarn, which kept it tightly packaged and protected from tangles.

    I don't think the Surgeon General really needs to warn us about cable needles

    I don’t think the Surgeon General really needs to warn us about cable needles

  7. Pencil Erasers: With the smaller sized needles (2 or smaller), you can use erasers as tip protectors
  8. Cigar Tubes: If you wash away the smell thoroughly, you can store your DPNs and/or cable needles in there
  9. Packaging  Bags of Linen Items: Next time you buy new curtains, sofa cover, duvet, towels, bed sheets, pillow shams, etc keep the zippered bags.  They are great for carrying a small project, which can protect it from a spilled drink at the table or a quick run through the rain to get inside the LYS
  10. And there are a ton of small, round, and clip-on items that can be used as stitch markers, including:
    • Rings
    • Earrings
    • Electric Toothbrush Markers
    • Safety Pins
    • Wine Glass Charms
    • Paper clips
    • Keychains

These are just a few things that I use, what everyday object do you use for knitting purposes?

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From Trash to Treasure

Driving home from the dog park yesterday I spotted a great solution for storing my yarn, check in out:

Shoe Cubby

Someone was throwing out this awesome shoe rack and (even though it was next to a recycling bin) I could totally envision filling up the 25 cubbies with my yarn.  OOoh, I am pictureing how bright and colorful the sock yarns in my stash would transform this little shelf.  Not sure if I’d arrange it by yarn brand or by color families, but I know it will look FIERCE!

Plus, this will be a big improvement on my current storage situation which are some plastic bins.  I know better, I do.  I know that keeping yarn in air tight plastic bins eventually could cause some moisture problems, but I think I would rather risk that then bugs having an all-you-can-eat-buffet out of my beautiful fiber.   Thankfully, I haven’t had any issues with that (knock on wood) so I stick with it-  especially in this  house that we moved into, where we have stink bugs and spiders coming inside for the winter.

Now, my husband, being the supportive man that he is, loaded the shoe shelf  into the car and dried it off for me (it rained a bit yesterday).  The wood that forms the frame is a bit wobbly, so he is going to embrace his inner handy-man and build a new box for the cubbies.  I amexcited to see the transformation, but sad that I have to wait until Christmas to start using it.

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