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October 27, 2009

Holiday Ornaments :: FREE Patterns

This morning, I've been searching Ravelry for some fast and easy holiday ornament patterns and thought I would share a few of these with you:

* Fetching Knits' Cheers Mini Sweater [Ravelry], by Cheryl Niamath
* Hogwarts Mini House Sock Ornaments [Ravelry], by Marie White
* Miniature Knitting Bag Ornament [Ravelry] by Sharon Spence
* Holiday Bird Ornament, by the Purl Bee (Thanks, Kim!)

In addition to using them as actual tree ornaments, you could also use them as gift toppers.

I'm in the midst of holiday gift knitting and other deadline knitting, so there's not much I can share here (photowise) on the blog, but you might catch glimpses of WIPs in my Flickr photostream or on Ravelry. Although I did very little holiday knitting last year, I'm making up for it this year and thankfully, I got an early start. I'm working on a large crochet project and a few smaller projects like hats for family members in colder climates.

And in about a month, I'll be putting last year's ornaments on the tree - both of these were purchased at Anthropologie for 75% off -- and I couldn't have made either of these cute ornaments that inexpensively on my own:

Anthropologie - Knitter Ornament


AnthroSweaterOrnament.jpg

Happy holiday knitting!
UPDATE: October 29, 2009 - Added additional link for free holiday ornament patterns

I have a sweet book to recommend to those of you with kids from 8-13:

I've been previewing (and reading) some books to give as gifts, and this one is at the top of my list for some of the kids, pre-teens and teachers I buy for. The illustrations are awesome and it would make a wonderful read-aloud, as long as you're not apt to cry while reading (I am -- therefore, I can't read this aloud).

The link will take you to the actual book, but it's also available for the Kindle.


October 20, 2009

Erica's Granny Square Blanket :: WIP

Although Erica's crocheted Granny Square blanket is still a WIP (work-in-progress), I just had to share it with you -- I'm really loving it. Since this photo was taken, she's added another skein of Noro Taiyo and will likely do one more after that. I think she's up to 6 skeins now and is choosing them randomly. She's also planning to crochet a border around the entire blanket -- approximate finished size is expected to be 36" x 36".

Erica_Crochet_Granny_Square.jpg

My co-worker, Ann, taught Erica to crochet in early June (Ann's also the one who taught me to crochet) but Erica took to Granny squares a lot more quickly than I did. Stitch n' Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker proved to be a resource for her to get comfortable with hooking her Grannies. I'm still struggling with Granny squares, but I'm itching to try them again after the holidays -- it looks so fun.

October 12, 2009

Finished Mondo Cable Cap :: Mystery KAL

The Mini-Mystery KAL is complete and I am thrilled with the outcome. It's a slouchy hat designed with large ("Mondo") cables. I used one skein of Cascade 220 Heathers (mine was colorway 2453) but any worsted weight yarn with comparable yardage would work. Bonne Marie released the pattern in three phases (three consecutive Saturdays beginning September 26, 2009) to the knit-along participants and once the knit-along was complete, the pattern was made available at Chic Knits to purchase: Mondo Cable Cap.

I love the large, simple cables:

Chic Knits Mondo Cable Cap

And I'll definitely make another . . .

Chic Knits Mondo Cable Cap

. . . because this one was claimed before I even finished knitting it

It's a very economical pattern -- most yarn shops sell Cascade 220 for under $7 (USD) per skein, so for less than $12, you can knit your own in a weekend. Now to decide what color to knit next . . .

October 08, 2009

Mystery Knit and Outlander

Chic Knits Mini Mystery Knit-along and Kindle

On Saturday, I'll get the final clue for the Chic Knits Mini Mystery Knit-Along. I am loving the project and SO excited about finishing it. It reaffirms my love (yet again) for Cascade 220 - especially the heathered colors.

I've finished the first book in the Outlander series and have started the second book, Dragonfly in Amber. I'm definitely hooked, but I know I'm late to the party - how many of you have already read them?

By the way, for those of you considering a Kindle*, the prices have dropped again. I love mine and have enjoyed the ease (and instant gratification) of ordering the books I want to read. I'm never without a good book anymore. It came in handy at the doctor's office last week when I didn't have a project on the needles that I wanted to take with me.

* And, yes, all of my Kindle and Amazon links are now affiliate links, so I get a small percentage of the sale if you purchase via one of my links. When I was ready to purchase my Kindle, I looked for an affiliate link on another blogger's site so she would get a percentage of my purchase as well. Thank you to those of you who have purchased books through my links -- a portion of the proceeds so far has gone to Heifer International.

October 01, 2009

A knit-along and return to routine

ChicKnits MM KAL.jpg

The shop where I work is now carrying a line of patterns I've been hoping for -- Chic Knits. At least three of my co-workers are knitting the Basic Chic Hoodie and the one I've seen of Alisa's (knit with Rowan Lima) is gorgeous! However, if you rush to the shop to buy patterns -- they've nearly run out! (Please ask them to order more!)

I've been getting Bonne Marie's email notifications for a while now and recently, she announced a new pattern for a Mini Mystery Knit-along. Sign-ups for the mini knit-along ended on September 25th and she released the first of three clues the following day. I had yarn in my stash that was perfect for it and cast on immediately - it's the heathery pumpkin-colored Cascade 220 in the photo above.

And I have to share how happy I've been with my new Ravelry Queue discipline. I'm limiting my queue to things I intend to cast on within a 3- to 4-month period. And I've tried to make a reasonable guess as to when I will cast on and the order in which I intend to knit (or crochet) them. Everything else that used to reside in my Queue goes into my Ravelry Favorites. While this is working well for me - your mileage may vary. The best benefit is that It keeps me from inevitable distraction and I love that.

If I wasn't doing this, I'm sure I would feel too overwhelmed to start any knit-alongs, but now my queue's no longer impossibly ambitious and guilt-inducing. There's plenty of room in there to start a small project in between the planned "big" ones. So therefore, when I was reading Lolly's big announcement of the Fifth Annual Socktoberfest celebration, I was excited to click over to the Through the Loops' Socktoberfest Mystery Sock. I'm joining in the fun this year for the first time. Are you participating in Socktoberfest? As a reminder, Socktoberfest is more than a knit-along -- in fact, it's anything sock-related that you want to make it! After all the illness and drama we had in September, I'm just thrilled to make it to October -- and that's part of what I'm celebrating as I participate in the knit-along.