Everything else can wait until I finish this row…

Technicolor Hat

The sweater with the beautiful green yarn I casted on for my kiddo is on hold. Every time we went to my LYS he kept pulling different colored skeins off the shelf and saying he wanted me to add it to his sweater. I want to please him, but I also want to knit a sweater that will look good on him and not make my eyeballs bleed.  So I quickly made him a hat from a skein of Yarn Hygge’s SW Merino, that colorful yarn I got at Rhinebeck. It looks really small, but a simple rib pattern on bulky weight yarn and it even fits me!





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Happy New Year!

Hello and Happy New Year to you!!

A lot has happened since last I posted.  Fall of 2016 was busy.  My family and I all submitted items to our local fair,  my husband in the baking category, my 3 year old did some general crafts,  and I entered my knitting.  We all came home with ribbons, my Christmas stocking even got best in show in its category!

I also went to two book signings at my LYS, Knit New Haven.  I had a total fangirl moment when I approached Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweeds!  I got him to sign his new book, “Woolens” and one from my library “The Knitter’s List”.  The other book signing was from a regular to our weekly knit night, Gale Zucker, a very talented knitter and photographer.   The book is called “Drop Dead Easy Knits” and it has some beautiful designs.  I have already bookmarked some of the patterns in these books to start knitting them soon.

But first, I am sewing!  I’ve also taken a basic 101 class at a local studio that recently opened downtown called Sew Crafty.  The sewing machine no longer intimidates me and it’s not hidden in my craft closet either.  I have it out in corner of my living room and I’m using it regularly.  I am in the process of starting my own craft business and sewing is my medium.  I am working on the branding and marketing of it right now, once it’s ready I’ll debut it here.

Another use for my sewing machine is craftivism.  I think most of the knitting community in the US has now heard about the Pussy Hat Project.  I had every intention of knitting as many of these hats as I could manage, but turns out that wasn’t many.  Even with bulky yarn I was only able to make one hat a day, after I made two hats I turned to my sewing machine to mass produce them for the cause. I’ve made about 8 a day!  I’m planning on handing them out to people going to the Women’s March in Washington, DC or to any of the sister marches happening nationwide.  I’ve gotten requests from friends in California, Washington, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Massachussetts, New York and here in Connecticut.   If you want to help me in this cause, I can still use more materials, please check out:

The march is just days away and I have no time to spare – off to make more #pussyhats!!


September 12, 2016 Woolens book signing with J. Flood

September 12, 2016 Woolens book signing with J. Flood

Oct. 18, 2016 - Drop Dead Easy Knits Book Signing

Oct. 18, 2016 – Drop Dead Easy Knits Book Signing

January 4, 2017 - made my first knitted pussyhat in a day and then moved to sewing

January 4, 2017 – made my first knitted pussyhat in a day and then moved to sewing

January 2017 - the first round of sewn pussyhats

January 2017 – the first round of sewn pussyhats


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New Year’s Knitting Resolutions for 2015

I love New Year’s, it is one of my favorite holidays by far.  I definitely look at with lots of optimism for the opportunities that are yet to come!  Even if I don’t get around to actually completing my resolutions, I do like to write them down to try and accomplish something.

So first, a review of my New Year’s Knitting Resolutions for 2014:

  1. Make a baby blanket for my little boy – Done and done!! It took quite some time to find a pattern that I was happy with, and it was a crochet pattern rather than a knitted one, but I love how the 1UP blanket came out.
  2. Continue to maintain this blog – It was certainly more dificult to maintain while being sleep deprived and encountering all of the challenges of being a new mom, but I think I managed pretty well.  According to the WordPress stats I didn’t surpass the previous year’s numbers, nor did I slack off, so I kept the status quo.  Not better, not worse, so I think that is an accomplished resolution.
  3. Make a pattern which requires steeking – This resolution had the best of intentions, but sadly it did not come to be.  I had the pattern and the yarn all set and ready to go.  Unfortunately, after I bought the right amount of yardage I put the skeins’ information onto my Ravelry page and turns out that it was actually thinner yarn than what the label described.  I had my doubts at the time of purchase, but risked it anyways.  Another time….
  4. Design my own pattern – So many ideas floating through my head and yet I can’t transfer them down onto paper.  Or I start second guessing my abilities, comparing them to those of professional designers.  This resolution has yet to happen…
  5. Enter a knitted item at a craft show competition – This one was half done.  I did enter into a craft show, on-line I was registered so technically it might be considered completed.  Except for the fact that I didn’t take my shawl in to be judged, so it was never displayed at the craft show.
  6. Read my knitting books – the only books I managed to read from cover to cover this past year were baby books, with very few words and lots of fun bright pictures.  This resolution did not happen at all.

Overall, I’m satisfied with my successes and attempts of 2014.  And I even went back further and completed one of my 2013 resolutions because I finished the two projects that I had hibernating for more than 4 years.  So long as it gets done it’s all good.

Now onto 2015 and all of the possibilities it holds!

  1. Make Christmas Stockings – I have been wanting to do this for years, even before we started our little family.  We do have Christmas Stockings, I got them at the Dollar Store while my husband was still in grad school.  They sufficed in adding a little holiday decor and I guess that’s one of the reason why I didn’t really dedicate myself to them.  Another reason was the way I used to panic about finishing Christmas gifts in time – I’m SO over that now, so it’s no longer a valid excuse.  Besides we only have three stockings (yep, the dog had one), but now we are a family of four so we each need our own.  The plan is to do one each season: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.  If all goes accordingly we will have a very festive mantel (figuratively speaking, since our apartment doesn’t have a chimney).
  2. Nurture a  love for knitting onto my students – Back in the fall I taught five new moms how to knit and they all seem to enjoy it!  In fact, we’ve decided to get together twice a month for a little knitting circle.  I hope to see them progress beyond the garter and stockinette stitches by the end of the year.
  3. Enter an item in a craft show – OK, so I messed up last year.  Now I know better.  I will either try the Durham Fair again or go for The Big E competition…. or maybe BOTH! Now, that’d be something.
  4. Expand on my other crafts – Last year I ventured out onto new crafts.  I tried canning and (less successfully) container gardening.  I enjoyed it and the products were quite yummy – apple sauce for baby and mojito for mommy!  I might have to shift gears a little on my container gardening; I’ll focus mainly on herbs and flowers, since my attempts at beans and carrots were less than spectacular.  If I can resurrect my calla lily and mint plants I’ll be happy.  And if my dwarf lemon tree bears more than two new fruits I’ll be tipsy ecstatic!  Most likely, I won’t be able to do any canning with just mints and lemons, so I’ll rely on local farms for the products to do my canning.  My husband and I like the CSA that we got this winter, but it proved to be a bit much for just us, so maybe we’ll split a share with friends.  Or I’ll just have to do some pick-your-own and try new jams and jellies and such.

I feel like I should stop here.  I am inclined to add one or two more resolutions, but chances are that if I do they won’t be completed.  Instead I’ll just leave it open ended to complete any other resolutions of years pasts.  A lot of them (like design a pattern and read my books) have been on my lists for multiple years, so if I get to them – great! If not, no biggie.

Here is to a great 2015 to all of us, may it be filled with lots of soft yarn and fewer dropped stitches! Do you have any resolutions?

Happy Knitting everyone!

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Things don’t always work out as planned

Doesn’t that suck? You get so excited about trying different things and then you realize that your attempt, while a valiant one, was just a waste of time. Or, if you’re the optimistic type, it’s “a learning experience”.

First, my container garden: I was able to harvest some beans! Great!! Hurray!!! … except that I only got 1 ounce from all the plants and all the weeks that I invested in it. That’s not even enough to make a meal for my baby boy!
Can you get beans from container gardening?
Should you bother with it?
Not unless you are willing to fill a bedroom with many, many containers.
Lesson learned – wait until you have a yard
Resolution – planted carrots after I pulled up all of dried out bean plants. I figured it’s a root vegetable, it will grow down, so I might actually be able to get enough to add to a salad

Second, my submission to the craft fair: met the on-line entry deadline! Great!! Hurray!! …except that I thought I would have to take the shawl in a day or two before the actual fair started. The reality is that I had to hand in the knitted garment a week before the fair so that it could be judged in its category. D’oh!
Have I submitted an item into a craft competition?
Technically yes.
Should I bother taking the shawl to be displayed even if it can’t be judged?
It’s better than nothing
Lesson learned – put deadlines on your Google calendar with reminders
Resolution – called the person in charge of the committee and was told that I was too late, items were judged the following day, but that I should enter again next year

Sucks! Oh well, got no one to blame but myself.

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Knitting Entry into Fiber Fair – CHECK!!!

BOOM!!! I have just completed another of my New Year’s Resolution and submitted my knitted shawl into a fair competition!! I’m so excited, I could just fill this blog post with just a bunch of exclamation points!!!! The fair is at the end of the month, so we’ll see how it goes. 🙂

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Block Party!

Over the weekend I had a one woman block party – WOOT! Not only did I work on my report on blocking for the Master Knitter Program, but I also blocked two finished projects.

For those that don’t know, blocking is the finishing touch on a completed garment  Once you’ve casted-off your last stitch you’re not fully done with it.  You need to weave in your ends and then block out your pieces so that they have a finished look.  I don’t think I’m explaining this correctly to those that don’t knit and read my blog, let me demonstrate instead.

The first item I blocked was a scarf that I made for myself (Pattern: Inside-Outside Scarf, Designer: Elise Duvekot).    When I casted-off this scarf the garter stitch edge curled under the main body of the scarf, blocking it solved this problem.  Blocking it consisted of me washing it, laying it out on my blocking mats,  pinning it down and the letting it sit over night to dry.  That allowed for the garter stitch edge to lay flat and the scarf grew in length and width.

K1B Scarf Block 1

Here is what the scarf looked like before blocking. Notice how the edges are curled up.

K1B Scarf Block 2

Here is how it looked once pinned out. Pinning it allowed me to make sure that it had the same consistent width and it grew in length from 7 feet to 9 feet!!

The second project I blocked was a baby cardigan that I made as a gift for one of my husband’s fraternity brother (Pattern: Jubilee Cardigan, Designer: Cecily Glowik MacDonald).  This little cardigan was knit up in a week but unfortunately I won’t be able to gift it (I will have to tell you all of the troubles I had making it in another post).    But the important reason why this project needed to be blocked was because of the lace bottom half.  When you knit lace garments 9 times out of 10 the design is lost if not blocked.  Blocking lace projects allows for the design to bloom, without doing so the eyelets wouldn’t open up to show off all of your hard work.

Jubilee Block 3 Jubilee Block 1

It was great to feel like I accomplished something over the weekend.  I hope you have your own block party soon!

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My needles runneth over with yarn

I am currently experiencing an optimistic flow for making new projects.   At my Thursday knit night I actually casted on a swatch for a top down sweater.  Still haven’t found the right needle size,  but the effort is there.  About a week ago I printed out a pattern and dug out my stashed yarns for fingerless mittens.  A week or two before that  I made about 3 new swatches for the master knitting course and I think I might do some reading today in order to answer some of the written portion.  I am on a roll!

I am also really scared right now.  I just threw my lap top case into the washing machine – I am felting! ACK!  It is so hard to do something that you have been told repeatedly not to do.  This reminds me of a modern art exhibit that I went to while visiting family in Brazil back in September.  The artist had covered the floor of his display with broken glass and you were encouraged to walk on it, through and around the barriers he had on it.  Throwing my knitting into the washer is making me relive that experience and it makes me cringe.  You are not supposed to step on broken glass and you’re not supposed to throw your knitting in the washing machine – I don’t know how I am going to last through this wash cycle.

Well, actually I do.  I know that I have to open the machine every so often and check on it.  I was also told to put the knitted project inside of a pillow case so that the excess fiber does not clog up the machine.  And I am washing it only with like color clothing.  I know that denim would be ideal, but I  didn’t want to risk the blue staining the tan colored yarn.

OOoh kay, deep breaths, those are the normal sounds of the cycle.    So here are some photo of what the laptop sleeve before this experiment:

Laptop Felt 2 (2)

Sometimes I love the inside look of colorwork knitting as much as the as the outside pattern. I worked really hard to make sure my floats were even!

Laptop Felt 1 (2) Laptop Felt 3 (2)

It measures roughly 13 inches  x 17 inches (with about 2 inches for the flap).  It is currently too big and flimsy to be an effective lap top sleeve, so the felting process has to happen.

Here is the  project during, after one short cycle:

Laptop Felt 4 (2) Laptop Felt 5 (2)

And this is the final product after two short cycles:

Laptop Felt 8 Laptop Felt 7 Laptop Felt 6

It is near perfect!! A little cinched in at the middle, but that’s not so bad.  It measure 12 inches x 15 inches (I don’t think I measured it in the same place as before felting) , leaving enough room to carry a little extra in with my laptop.  I just need to take a sweater brush to remove some of the pill to make the pattern is more visible, then wait for it to dry.   Not sure about doing a lining for it.  I also didn’t make button holes, so I have to figure out a closure.  If I can bring myself to use a needle and thread then maybe a zipper would work.   I really hate sewing, for now this will have to do.   I can’t wait to take it to class on Tuesday!


New Year’s Knitting Resolutions for 2013

OK, let me try to keep this list short and obtainable.  I thought I could do my 2012 Knitting Resolutions of making a pair of sock a month, but it wasn’t in me.  I guess I am just not destined to be one of those amazing sock knitters that can get beautiful pairs done in the blink of an eye.  I did manage to make 6 pairs of socks last year: a striped alpaca one for myself in January, EZ’s mocassin socks out of Malabrigo for my husband  in February, 2-at-a-time pink cabled socks that I gifted to my niece but fit her baby brother instead in March, a toe-up sock for my dad that turned out to be too big in April, a quick pair for the dog to keep him from scratching the car in May, and then the lovely pair with self-striping yarn for myself in November.   So obviously I lost interest early in the year.  That pair for my dad is the one which I just kept dragging to finish, it wasn’t off my needles until September!  Again, knitting deadlines and I don’t mix.

But this is a new year and I am hopeful to meet my knitting goals!  And here they are:

  1. Complete The Knitting Guild Association Level 1 Master Knitting Program – if I accomplish only this and nothing else in 2013 I will be happy.  This is a huge deal for me and it does have a deadline which I cannot put off.
  2. Maintain this blog – I did slack off a bit after the  holidays, it’s funny how a few days of vacation can completely derail my routine.  But I am back now and have every intention of keeping it up, even if I only post once a week.
  3. Attempt a new technique – currently I am working on a sleeve for my laptop which I am going to try and felt.  So maybe its cheating a bit to list something that I already have in the works, but I don’t care.  I am also wanting to bite the bullet and try to steeking, that will be a real challenge.
  4. Design my own pattern – Even if its just a simple dishcloth, I need to give this a  try and I want this to work.  I really, really do.
  5. Finish a hibernating project – I specifically have two projects in mind that have been dormant in my craft closet for over two years!  One is a tunic that I started in September 2010 and all that is left to do are the sleeves.  I want to be able to wear it this fall if not sooner.  The other project isn’t as dated, but I casted on in November 2011, it’s a lace shawl and I got stuck on the pattern after completing the first chart.  No matter how hard I tried the stitches of the second chart didn’t not line up, I got frustrated and put it aside.  These two are long overdue for completion.  If I don’t finish them this year, I will wear the tunic as a vest and the frog the shawl.
  6. Read my knitting books – My library has so many great books that I have acquired because of the beautiful patterns in them, and yet I ignore all the great knowledge within them!  I have to start educating myself further on all things fibers.  My knitting knowledge cannot just be compiled of  experimentation.  Knitting is an ancient craft, if I do some  research to obtain the proper skills I won’t be guessing myself every time.

Wish me luck!!


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!


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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