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February 28, 2007

Felted hot pad and a heart

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I knit (and crocheted) this hot pad with Manos that I had leftover from my Santa Fe Ruana. I gifted it to Stephanie of Spritely Goods for participating in and winning the Why Wool? drawing I had in December.

Here's a quick and easy pattern if you're interested in using some stash Manos to make one of your own:

Size 10.5 (US) straight or circular needles
Manos del Uruguay (main color and contrast color)

Cast on 26 stitches (gauge is not critical, but you do want some looseness in between the stitches, so go up a needle size if you need to). Knit garter stitch till you have 22 garter ridges then bind off. With your contrast color, loosely crochet your edging around the hot pad, weave in any loose ends and felt as usual in your top-loading washer. I used the Soak wool wash that I purchased from Stephanie because I love the scent, but a small amount of your favorite wool wash or Dawn dishwashing detergent will work just fine.

And for Sallie, the co-winner, here's another goodie that I hinted about a few blog entries ago:

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The pattern was Fiber Trends Heart Felt Expressions and it was a quick knit also. I ran out of yarn and when I had to purchase some additional yarn complete the bowl, Sallie was in the store at the same time. I probably looked like I was up to something . . .

Okay. Stop what you're doing right now and go read about Alicia Paulson's Ripple Afghan.

February 25, 2007

Knitting Project Journal

Using Eunny's notebook as inspiration, I am in the process of putting together my own permanent project journal to use in conjunction with my carry-along journal. I already have the binder rings, the paper, chipboard (for the covers) and a 3-hole punch.

I decided that like Eunny's, I wanted half-pages (5.5" x 8.5") so I put together something I could run through my printer and cut in half then 3-hole punch. I have a ton of paper with printed designs on the front and blank on the back (think scrapbook paper). I'll use the blank side for the project journal notes. However, if I use plain paper (blank on the front and back), I'll print the grid on the reverse. If you decide to try out what I'm sharing here, be sure to print the FIRST page only if you don't want the grid. It's here if you want it (it's a .pdf, so you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open it and print it).

How does a knitting journal help me? When I start knitting something (anything), whether it's a swatch or beginning a new project, I put it in my notebook with the start date along with details about my yarn and needles used. Even if my knitting gets sidetracked, I'll be able to refer to my notebooks to pick up where I left off and it's also helping when it's time to blog my projects. Your mileage may vary, but this works well for me. The project spreadsheet I started in 2004 was NOT working well. I kept forgetting to update it and it wasn't portable. I'm rep-purposing a lot of supplies I already have around the house, so I'm not suggesting you do your own notebook the same way, but I am recommending that you write things down. If you knit a lot, you can't trust your memory for the details and someday, either you or somebody else will want to know that little tidbit you didn't think was important.

Thank you all for the get well wishes -- most of us are feeling better since starting the antibiotics. I worked yesterday so I didn't get to knit much on the throw/afghan square, but I thought I'd share what I've done since I blogged last:

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I'd mentioned the tiny bit of frustration I am having with the thick/thin nature of Manos and while it's not an ideal knitting situation, I am admiring the deep brick color and the texture of this square. I think that when it's finished, I'll love it - the color makes it all worthwhile for me.

And Friday's progress on a baby hat for a preemie:

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The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock (Happy Valley colorway) knit on Size 1 Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs. I'm using Knitting Rules as a guide for knitting the preemie hat. For more information about knitting for preemies in general, go visit The Preemie Project.

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February 22, 2007

What Color Red Are You

You Are Red Orange
You are a very genuine person, although it takes a while for you to show the true you.
A bit introverted, you desire respect and affection from those close to you.
You are quite empathetic, and you have a true concern for the well being of others.
Many people have warm, heartfelt memories of you - even if you don't remember them well.

Knitting with a side of strep

Would you like fries with that?

I hate that I feel like I'm becoming a strep expert, but we've had enough of it around here and 66.666666667% of us are on antibiotics and some of us are on steroids. Although I have the mildest symptoms and very little discomfort, I agreed to start the antibiotic regimen as well because I don't want to get it any worse than I have it and I KNOW I've been exposed and am in danger of exposing others.

My knitting is manic right now and it's helping. Reading about knitting is helping. Reading knitting blogs is helping most of all. Keep knitting, y'all, because I am tired of hearing and reading about Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears (and OH YEAH, I have an opinion about both of them and the drama involved along with some inside scoop, but this is a knitting blog).

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(Unwashed, unblocked swatch)

OMIGOSH I love this yarn more every time I use it. I'm swatching for when I receive my Sarah Dallas book so I can knit a throw similar to Alison's and I want this Fuchsia to be the predominant color.

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Manos del Uruguay Brick; washed and blocked

I've also already started knitting a throw/afghan consisting of 12 patterned blocks. I decided to do this in one color - the Brick color instead of twelve different colors (too much thinking). I got the required gauge with Size 8 Clover Bamboo circulars. My plan is to try to average a block a month in order to have a finished throw in December. It's not a project I'll hurry to finish but it's something I can pick up and work on when I'm watching television.

For some reason, the thick- and thin-ness of Manos is bothering me a little bit this time. It blocks out fine, but while I'm knitting, it irks me . . . just a bit. I'm halfway through the first block, the Textured Rib, and then I'll try to finish another block before the end of the month. If you're paying attention, you'll notice that I've abandoned the Santa Fe Ruana I started last year. I exchanged all my unused Manos for the Brick colorway and frogged the half panel that I'd already knit on my ruana.

I've been on a mission to organize my project notes as well. More on that tomorrow (along with a freebie I'll share). But if you've been reading this far (proving you have the time on your hands), go read this entry that just popped up in my Bloglines notifier. "Don't overthink."

February 20, 2007

Final lace capelet entry

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Pattern: Lace Capelet by Mary Heather
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze "Jelly" purchased at SWAK in Guthrie, Oklahoma in March 2006
Needles: Clover Bamboo circular needles, Size 10.5 (US) for knitting and Size 11 for casting off
Started: 2/9/07
Finished: 2/18/07

I used a little under 1 ball of the Jelly Kidsilk Haze (Rowan). This is my fourth capelet and it's free of the mistakes I made in my first one (i.e. primarily a "too tight" bind off at the neck). The laceweight mohair blend has so much warmth even with a lacy, open pattern -- I love it. I've blocked the capelet (steam only) since I took the photo yesterday and the bottom no longer curls up and my stitches have evened out a bit too.

For now, I'll you with a mystery felted project created with one of my two favorite felting yarns - Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride. The fuchsia color is amazing and now I'm inspired to knit a swatch with it to brainstorm something else I want to knit. Here's a hint.


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February 18, 2007

Finished Lace Capelet

Finished Lace Capelet
Click on the photo for project details

February 16, 2007

Finished Sophie

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It's hard to describe the color of the yarn but Purl Soho calls it "Yakima Heather" (Color #9459). It's a dark greenish brown Cascade 220 with subtle shots of a mustard yellow. When it's felted, it has a bit more dimension than a solid color yarn.

I think this is either my 9th or 10th Sophie Felted Bag. Most have been given as gifts and two are living at the yarn store on display. This one, however, is mine (for now). It was what I was knitting while I was worrying about a loved one facing a serious surgery. (Everything turned out well). Today I bought some gorgeous fuschia Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride to use to finish an existing work-in-progress. WIth whatever I have leftover from that, I'll likely knit a small cell phone cozy to carry inside this Sophie.

My felting supplies:

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Zipper pillowcase
Old Jeans
Wool Wash
Top-loading washer

It never gets tiring making something quick and easy with a skein of wonderful yarn and then seeing the transformation when it emerges from some vigorous hot-water agitation. (I'm easily amused).

And, yes, I'm almost finished with my acid green (Kidsilk Haze "Jelly") lace capelet
but I also whipped up a quick head-hugging beanie (Ann Norling Leaflet #55 - Head Huggers by Gail Tanquaray):

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It's Mountain Colors 4/8ths wool in "Tamarack." It's a challenge getting this to photograph its true color. It's got a lot more "gold" in it than this. I intend to make another one of these for myself but I'm going to use a Size 7 circular needle instead of a Size 8. The ribbing was a bit on the loose side in the Size 8. However, it's a great basic hat pattern with references for sizes from infant to adult along with different gauges and ribbing patterns. It's similar to Ann Budd's approach in her series of books for figuring out your own knitting patterns that fit your gauge.

I was reading the BEST article today in the March 2007 Real Simple magazine while I was waiting for an oil change, "Half Full? Half Empty? You Decide." Here's a great quote from it, but I'll have to buy the magazine for myself and bookmark the article:

"It's amazing how much unhappiness we needlessly cause ourselves by ascribing negative meanings to simple things that happen in our lives. But it doesn't have to be that way. When we feel like this, we can learn to pause for a split second and ask ourselves these questions: How can I interpret what just happened in a way that gives me energy and propels me forward, rather than dragging me back and making me feel inadequate and frustrated?"

This article was written for people who assume the worst when somebody looks at them in a way that makes them feel something's wrong, or perhaps somebody has not responded to a conversation or some other form of communication in an expected way. There are people I know who have an internal dialogue with themselves in which they're convinced that others are looking at them, criticizing them or mocking them. Whether it's true or not, I think this quote from the article is a gem: "An empowering interpretation is just as valid as a disempowering one. You get to decide what impact life has on you. Make it positive."

I also got to read House Beautiful and Marie Claire (fresh, current issues) and eat freshly popped popcorn. It was like a boutique oil change once I decided to embrace the wait.

February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

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Actual knitting content will resume soon. Meanwhile, here are some random blog entries I enjoyed recently:

Homesick Texan - Looking for Love Dip
Old School Acres - A Whole Lotta Love
Good to Be Girl - Silk Garden Socks
Bemused - Don't Be a KnitWit
Stumbling Over Chaos - Handknits for Youngsters
Decor 8 - For the Love of Red

February 11, 2007

In progress - quick knitting and more

I had a lot on my mind this past week, so I needed some quick knitting to make it through and keep my thoughts from wandering, so . . .

I bought yarn and a button for this Sophie last Tuesday and I cast on February 6th. It's drying now and I just have to sew on the button and I'll be ready to start carrying it:

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I cast on for the capelet on February 9th, early in the morning (and yes, I'm writing these things in my new notebook so I don't have to rely on my memory):

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And for the "someday" knits (not necessarily soon), I've acquired this:

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It's Schaefer Anne (above) for future socks and Baby Ull for the Estonian Lullaby Baby Blanket:

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There's other knitting going on that I previously blogged about and when I (a) make more progress on them or (b) have a reason to blog about them, I will.

And a footnote, unrelated (somewhat) to knitting:
I've had some frustrations, disappointments and worries lately that are either resolved or in the process of being resolved. I'm learning to let go and to forgive myself for mistakes and failure and move on. I've been so appreciative of your genuine concern -- those who are gracious enough to ask (instead of assume), to check in and act selflessly.

One of my favorite Zimmermann quotations (I never get tired of running across it) recently appeared on Nora's blog at the moment I needed to read it. I'm sorry if this sounds like I'm down -- I'm really not. I'm actually more grateful for things than ever.

February 08, 2007

I am Apple Green

You Are Apple Green
You are almost super-humanly upbeat. You have a very positive energy that surrounds you.
And while you are happy go lucky, you're also charmingly assertive.
You get what you want, even if you have to persuade those against you to see things your way.
Reflective and thoughtful, you know yourself well - and you know that you want out of life.


AppleGreen.jpg


February 04, 2007

Kimono Shawl Notes & Progress

I've gone from swatching to actually starting the Kimono Shawl. I'm having better results with straight needles and I'm much happier with how the lace pattern knits up on smaller needles:

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Here's the earlier swatch -- knit on Size 5 circular needles:

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I used a cable cast-on for the shawl and I like it much better than the long-tail cast on for this. I'm learning how incredibly different it is to knit with 100% silk both in how the silk has no 'stretch' (i.e. "memory") and the fact that it probably can't be bossed around like wool (and wool blends) can. I've also learned that I shouldn't wet-block 100% silk. Therefore, unless my logic is wrong, I should be considering as I knit this shawl that the lace will end up looking much like it does on the needles. If it's looking too loose and open, it's just going to get MORE loose and open with steam-blocking and wear.

This won't be a "fast" knit for me. I'm already facing having to re-knit a row where I dropped a YO. (Yes, Lauri, I'll start using lifelines!)

For an excellent tutorial on chart-reading and getting comfortable knitting charted lace patterns, look no further than Sara's "Beginning Lace" handout (.pdf). I know now I should have gotten a bit more comfortable with some good lace-knitting habits before casting on for this shawl and I'm going to stop and work on my skills a bit. It's just an area of deficiency for me and knitting lace is not something I should be doing to challenge my inherent "winging it" nature.

February 02, 2007

Tokyo 1985

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February 01, 2007

Project Spectrum 2007

This year I've decided to participate in Project Spectrum - but with a twist of my own. I'm going to resurrect a forgotten project (be it knitting, paper art or something else) in whatever "color" we're celebrating. So, nothing NEW will be purchased, but my goal is to finish SOMETHING each month in honor of Project Spectrum.

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February / March
Blue, White, Gray

April / May 
Green, Yellow, Pink

June / July
Red, Black, Metallics

August / September 
Brown, Orange, Purple

And I can't wait to see what everybody else does! You don't have to be a knitter or blogger to participate - check it out.