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May 25, 2006

Assembled Noni Medium Carpet Bag

The Noni . . . she is assembled

If you're knitting a Noni, pay close attention to the finished dimensions. I was prepared to knit the large carpet bag until I decided to actually read the instructions and see what the size was going to be. Even though I chose the medium, it is quite large in proportion to my barely-over-five-feet-tall frame.

If you click below, you can see the finished size as I am holding it:

Noni Medium Carpet Bag - Outdoors

Next up is finishing (or frogging and restarting) this:

Knitty Tempting Sweater
click the photo above for additional notes

And if you're reading this far, I am going to share something with you that I realized yesterday. I've been taking things too easy. It's partly because I need to. I am dealing with some significant and stressful family issues right now. However, I've noticed that over the past several years, I've failed to challenge myself like I used to when I was working outside the home. Back then, I knew that at least 40 hours a week were spoken for and I owed my employers my full attention on the job. With the added demands of family, single parenthood, school and more, I still managed to find time to make and achieve my goals. I've never lacked passion or desire to do or be more, but the significant thing I had back then that I don't have now is self-discipline. I didn't wake up yesterday missing it all of a sudden -- I simply haven't had to have it. And I also haven't found myself lacking because of it -- I just noticed that I've developed a rhythm that comes from having more time in which to do things. (An activity will expand to fill the time available for it).

So now it's almost summer. School's out on Friday and I will have even more open-ended, unscheduled time. The idea here for me is not to fill it with endless and sometimes mindless activity (gosh, I hate it when people do that -- they actually think they are getting somewhere) but to be totally conscious of what I hope to achieve. It means reconnecting with my values, my mission, and my goals and consciously applying self-discipline to that. When I've done that in the past, I've achieved EVERY goal I've set.

I'm not sharing my goals yet, because I don't want there to be a perception that I am benchmarking myself against anybody else -- I'm only trying to be my own personal best. And, really, until now, I was focused on what has been important to me: relationships and doing first things first.

Now it's 'out there' since I've written it down. It's not really important whether anybody see or read this, but it's important to me and therefore, might also speak to somebody else who happens upon this blog. I believe that if we are seeing and listening, we will find the tools and ideas we need precisely when we need them.

May 23, 2006

Felted Camellia - Cascade 220

Noni Felted Camellia

Pattern: Noni Bags Camellia
Yarn: Cascade 220 (held double) Color 8414
Needle: US 11
Purchased at Twisted Yarns

I Knit a Noni

If you're knitting a Noni Bag, you should definitely try one of her felted flower patterns to go with it. This camellia was deceptively simple and fun to knit and the pattern instructions are terrific. I think the outcome is striking and I love the texture and dimension of the camellia. You can knit this up in an evening (not the month that it took me). I think the only thing I would do differently for my next camellia is make the outer petals the same size as the inner petals (which would also make it a one-skein pattern). To knit this with two strands held together, I used both ends of the skein held together instead of 1 strand each from two skeins. So, to those of you who asked, it definitely IS possible to knit a camellia with one skein of Cascade 220 as long as it is not a "large" camellia. I only had to use my second skein for the bobble in the center.

When I assemble and complete and begin using this bag, I think this will be the last felted bag I make for a while. Although I loved it, I want to challenge myself to finish some incomplete projects and also work on some more challenging knits. Granted, it's hard to keep my resolve when new Noni patterns arrive:

Noni Felted Bag Pattern - Bobbles Bobbles Noni Felted Bag Pattern - In the Sculpture Garden Noni Felted Bag Pattern - Night Garden

My Sockapaloooza Sock Pal received the socks I knit for her (Trekking XXL #107)! I'm delighted she loves them and wears them. I enjoyed the Sockapaloooza experience and would do it again in a heartbeat. Alison and my sock sister did a wonderful job - I salute you!

sockapaloooza2006

What I got from this experience: I learned that I love knitting socks for others.

April 03, 2006

Noni Bags' Medium Carpet Bag - Felted

NoniFelting.jpg
(pardon the cluttered photo)

I felted the Noni bag this morning and am in the process of shaping it -- I'll be very aggressive with the shaping. I want defined creases on either side of the bag and a more defined bottom edge as well. I love the idea of a black felted handbag, but this one is much more chic than a plain black bag. The subtle striping makes it interesting.

The flower has been more fun to knit than I thought it would be -- I can't wait to make more!

I'm sure that every knitter has attempted felting (which technically isn't felting but FULLING when done in the washing machine), but in case you haven't, I love the instructions on Knitty - Felting for Absolute Beginners and Felt This! -- both great resources for all the information you need. While the Noni bag is drying and shaping, I'll be finishing my Lace Capelet (#4) with the Kidsilk Haze (Jelly) that I bought in Oklahoma at S.W.A.K.

March 29, 2006

Noni Bags' Camellia Progress

NONICamellia.jpg

The camellia has been surprisingly fun and fast knitting. The only downside is the fact that I'll probably run out of yarn before I finish, which means it's definitely a 2-skein flower. However, I do think it will be worth it when it's assembled, felted and embellishing the bag.

March 28, 2006

Noni Bags' Unfelted Medium Carpet Bag

NoniBagUnfelted.jpg

I've finished the KNITTING of this bag but still need to (1) weave in the ends, (2) felt it, (3) shape it and (4) crease it. I also need to find handles and a closure that I like. Tonight I'm going to start knitting the red camellia to go with this bag. Yesterday I also started my "Yarn-ventory" spreadsheet (I hesitate to call it a "stash" inventory since it doesn't seem like I have enough to qualify as "stash" yet). In the process of creating the spreadsheet, I noticed that I really don't have impulse purchases of yarn. Every yarn purchase can be matched with its project (just need to start and finish them!) I also noticed that I'd organized my wool scraps by yarn company. I have enough Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride to make a striped hot pad (will felt it) and enough Cascade 220 to make a few coasters.

In going through my sock yarn to try to make a final decision on my Sockapaloooza socks, I decided on what I think will be PERFECT for my sock pal -- the Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn I bought in February. I'll get started on those QUITE soon as they need to be in the mail no later than early May 2006!

I've been SO inspired lately while making the rounds of my favorite blogs. I can't distill my feelings to pat phrases or bullet points, but it is just refreshing to see bloggers being authentic and real, writing with their own fresh voices. I've made a conscious effort to focus on reading encouraging blogs and stay away from the dogmatic, dry ones and it's changed me. I challenge you to read through the archives of your favorite blogs . . . take some time to really get to know the bloggers (some of you already do this, I know!). I have a local favorite that I've been reading since Hurricane Rita -- SciGuy - some very thought-provoking things and interesting things there. One of a handful of blogs I've never stopped reading is Keri Smith's Wish Jar Journal and one of my favorite NEWEST blog reads is Saunshine - there are some little gems in her blog that aren't solely related to knitting. For the latest in knitting, fashion and pop culture, check out And Knitting. I'll be sharing more blogs with you over the next few blog entries.

This past weekend, we went shopping for my son's birthday present - a new skateboard. I took some time to actually LOOK at some of the other items at Fast Forward and found a ton of cute things, including the flip flops I've been wanting. If I was about 30 years younger, this is where I'd shop for clothes. Needless to say, I don't think I have what it takes to be a skater girl - I'll just enjoy it vicariously.

Fast Forward - Decks Fast Forward Wall of Decks

March 24, 2006

Noni Bags' Embellishments - Flowers

I failed to publish the details regarding the Noni Bags' embellishments when I blogged about my Medium Carpet Bag yesterday. I'm going to knit a dark red camellia; here's a post I came across today where Be*Mused has photos of what the Unfurling Rose looks like pre- and post-felting. Two of my co-workers are knitting the Tube Baguette (in the recommended colors) along with the Spider Chrysanthemum. (The flower patterns are sold separately from the bag patterns). From what I understand, the Baguette is a little more "fiddly" as far as pattern instructions go (but the results will be smashing!) The carpet bag I am working on is similar to the Booga Bag in construction and ease of knitting (knitting round and round -- approx 64 rounds for the medium-size -- with no i-cord to knit). If you've ever knit a Sophie or a Booga, you'll have no problem knitting the Noni Bags' Carpet Bag. Another friend (and fellow knitter) ordered the pattern to make the Garden Party Bag (that's a LOT of camellias!)

And while I know that some people scoff at cute things, this was just too adorable not to purchase - it is FUN and FUNCTIONAL:

Ladybug Measuring Tape

This tape measure travels with me in my handbag. I have two other tape measures, less elegant, but equally (they ALL measure things!) functional that usually end up in the bottom of my knitting bag or basket. Having a few means that no matter where I am, I have my tape measure! True knitters will understand -- a tape measure is your friend:

Measure2.jpg Measure3.jpg


March 23, 2006

In Progress - Noni Bags Medium Carpet Bag

NoniBlack.jpg

I am enjoying knitting this bag -- it's a nice break from sock-knitting but I am anxious to get back to them. However, as I type this, I am vaguely aware of a litlte voice in my head telling me that knitting and blogging at this moment is not a good use of my time. The house is a mess and there are toys everywhere along with the ever-present piles of school papers and clean laundry. Meanwhile, I'm learning that much of what I want to share and spill here is better handwritten in a private journal even when it's the knitting that helps me work out things going on in my mind. There's nothing huge and earth-shattering swirling around in my head, but I am listening to and trusting my intuition more than I have in a long time.

After all the activities going on this weekend are behind me, I'm going to be helping to "test-knit" the Fake-a-Gamo bag. Be sure and check out the actual bag. Should be fun and interesting to try.

The past two days, it's been unseasonably cool cold here and I've had to run the heater and wear long-sleeved tops. I actually ENJOY this weather -- I just wasn't prepared for it!

March 19, 2006

I'm an intrepid knitter

Apparently, according to Noni Bags, I'm an intrepid knitter. However, I'm also a scatterbrained one. I left my knitting basket at work yesterday and since the store won't be open again till Tuesday, I am without all my supplies, stitch markers and counters. I was sad until I realized this meant I could start a new project with the yarn and pattern I'd purchased yesterday -- that along with my Denise needle set and I was good to go. I cast on last night for a Noni Bags' "Felted Carpet Bag" in the medium size. Clicking on the link to the brochure will open a pdf, but it has a great photo of Nora Bellows' Fall/Winter 05-06 bags. I've also got the pattern for the camellia flowers and all the yarn I need to make everything: Cascade 220 in 4002, 8555, and 9404.

With the "Jelly" Kidsilk Haze I bought on my trip, I'm going to knit another lace capelet and actually KEEP and wear this one myself.

Have I mentioned the HEMP yarn I knit with last weekend? I ended up really enjoying knitting with it; I bought the Get to Know Hemp Kit and so far, our relationship's gone well. I knit a washcloth last week and have since cast on for a scarf.

HempKitMed.jpg