Monday, April 30, 2012

Round Up & Forecast

Whew! Going from rarely blogging to blogging every day for 7 days was quite the challenge. Wait, 8 days if you count this one!

I loved it! Thank you Eskimimi for starting Knit and Crochet Blog Week. It was great to check out some new blogs and it got my creative juices going, which is what I was hoping for.

Blogging can be stressful for me because I put too much pressure on myself. Is it good enough, do I need more graphics and/or photos to break up the writing, did I make the links I should have or did I forget something, am I boring yadda yadda yadda. Isn't it sad how hard we can be on ourselves? I'm a great coach and cheerer-upper, so why can't I do the same for myself? Oh well, that's a post for another day.

So, I have more crafty goodness to write about, so I think I'm going to keep up with the blogging. Probably not every day, but regularly. I have so much going through my head, I might as well write it down because the dogs are tired of listening to me talk to them. They just stare at me, waiting for me to say words they recognize, like food, treat, park, or let's go! They eventually just sigh and walk away.

The 3rd Annual KCBW was a nice inspirational kick, and one I badly needed. All the posts are labeled with KCBW if anyone new wants to take a look at the posts. I know that I'm still going around, finding new blogs and reading what people wrote.

Until next time, I wish you even tension and happy colors!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

3KCBWDAY7 The Perfect Day

This is it! Our last day. Thank you Eskimimi for making this so much fun. This was my first time participating, and I can't wait for next year.

For the last day, I decided to go with the wildcard instead of the suggested topic. The topic was fine; I like knitting and crochet, even though I totally suck at crochet. My edges are wavy in crochet because my ability to count seems to leave me. But I will get better, and until then I'll make symmetrically edged knitted objects.

Besides, I daydream about my perfect day of knitting all the time, so I might as well put it in writing.

My day starts as I get off the airplane in Edinburgh, Scotland. I've had plenty of sleep because of course I flew in first class, so my comfy seat reclined after I drank all of my champagne. I jump in a taxi and head down to the train station, where I sit, again, in first class and buy sweets from the trolly. I'm taking the train up into the Highlands to my cottage. I'm taking a train instead of driving because I want to knit on the train.

At the station, I rent a car to get to my cottage that is off a single lane, curvy road. The estate agent has it ready for me, with a stocked fridge, a sponge cake, a teapot ready for hot water, and a bottle of scotch for later in the day. There's also a fire roaring in the fireplace.

Next to the fireplace is an overstuffed chair with a basket of wound yarn. I had already placed an order for some Alice Starmore yarn, so it's ready for me to start knitting the St. Ciaran wrap.

I throw the suitcase in the bedroom upstairs, then make a pot of tea before I settle in to start knitting. I turn my iPod on to listen to knitting podcasts. I stop long enough to make another pot of tea and call the hubby to check on the dogs, then back to knitting.

I put another log on the fire, take a sip of tea, eat some cake, knit, rinse and repeat.

Because I've come from so far away, I've decided that a day isn't long enough, so I'm staying a week. I meet up with the local knitting group, I meet new friends, and I buy groceries at the local shops. I might do some sightseeing, but then again, I might not. I won't finish the wrap in that time, but I'll get a lot done, and once I get home and work on it and later wear it, I'll remember my perfect knitting vacation.

3KCBWDAY6 Improving Your Skillset

First things first, the answer to the cyrptoquote:
I will resist the urge to underestimate the complexity of knitting. --Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

We're winding down on the 3rd Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week. It's gone pretty fast, and I've had a good time going around to the different blogs to getting to know new crafters.

Our topic for today is all about what we have learned, what we are learning, and what we want to learn. When I started knitting, everyone said over and over, "It's just 2 stitches, knit and purl, and once you know those you can do anything." I think that little piece of advice has a double meaning.

Yes, once you learn to knit and purl, everything after that is variations using those 2 stitches. You may increase or decrease, but you still are knitting and purling. So, in that sense, don't be intimidated because it's just 2 little stitches.

However, your learning isn't over just because you can knit and purl! There's lace, cables, yarn overs, a myriad of increases and decreases, intarsia, fair isle, double knitting, duplicate stitch, entrelac, mitered squares, knitting in the round on double point needles or on two circular needles or on magic loop, jogless stripes, weaving in ends, kitchener stitch, and the list goes on and on. Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

I feel pretty confident in my skills. I may feel intimidated by the complexity of a project, but I feel confident I have the skills to accomplish it. Some things need more practice *cough fair isle* but I have tried all of the techniques and skills I've mentioned.

Sound cocky? Just wait, the confession is coming.

If you look on my project pages, you see lace shawls, cable mitts, fair isle hats, intarsia blankets, but you will notice a glaring hole in my repertoire. No sweaters. I'm intimidate by them--the seaming, the sizing, and so on.

Every year I tell myself, "This is the year I will make a sweater!" And every year I chicken out. It seems like such a big project that takes so much time and yarn that I would be really frustrated if I screwed it up. But I'm getting pretty fed up with myself and my excuses. You know it's bad when even you scold you.

So, I'm looking for a sweater to make. I think seamless would be good for a first sweater, it's just hard to decide which one. I am taking a seaming class at Stitches Midwest this year, so maybe that will give me the boost I need to piece a sweater together.

I'm not going to give myself a deadline. I know me; I'll ignore it. I set the alarm on my phone to remind me to take my afternoon meds, and I just ignore it thinking, "eh, I'll get them in a minute," then I don't. I'm dependable unless I'm depending on myself.

But I want 2012 to be the year I make a sweater. Any suggestions?

Be sure to go check out other people's posts and see what they are wanting to improve on.

*Clip art from

Friday, April 27, 2012

3KCBWDAY5 The Something Different Post

Let's play a game. This may look like a bunch of numbers, but it's so much more. It's a Cryptoquote. Each number represents a letter. The number is always that letter, for example if the number 2 represents the letter E, then all 2s are Es. Your objective is to break the code and reveal the quote and it's author. Hint: The first word is only one letter, so that narrows down what that word could be.


___          ___  ___  ___  ___          ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___
 18            11    18     2      2              6     12     1     18     1      5

___  ___  ___          ___  ___  ___  ___          ___  ___
  5      3     12            15     6     22    12             5     21

___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___
 19     4     20    12     6     12     1      5     18    17    10     5     12
___  ___  ___         ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___
  5      3     12           16    21    17     7      2     12    23    18     5     13

___  ___          ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___.
 21    14             9      4     18     5      5     18     4     22

___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___          ___  ___  ___  ___  ___--
  1      5     12     7      3     10     4     18    12             7     12    10     6      2

___  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___
17     16     7      3     12    12

I will put the answer in tomorrow's post.  I hope everything lines up OK on your screen. It looks fine on mine, but that doesn't mean it was fine on everyone's.

Thanks everyone! I'm off to see the other blogs. I can't wait to see how creative everyone was.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

3KCBWDAY4 Knitting for All Seasons

“She enjoys rain for its wetness, winter for its cold, summer for its heat. She loves rainbows as much for fading as for their brilliance. It is easy for her, she opens her heart and accepts everything.” 

In this 4th day of the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, the topic question is, "How does seasonal weather affect your knitting?" Many knitters only knit warm things with wool in the cold weather and cooler things with cotton in the warmer months. 

Well, I don't really like knitting with cotton, and I always seem to be cold, so I don't really follow those conventions. I pretty much knit whatever I'm in the mood for, not worrying about the season.

I would say that I am a cold-weather item knitter, though. I love knitting mittens and hats and cowls

Fingerless mitts for Christmas
Graham hat for me
Cowls for Christmas

But I also love knitting shawls. Are those seasonal? I guess if I knit them in wool, they'd be better suited for cooler weather. But like I always have a sock going, I always have a shawl going, too.

Traveling Woman
Autumn Grace

The nice thing about knitting these items is that you can pretty much knit them year round. Inevitably, when I'm knitting one of these "warmers" as I call them or give one away, another person decides he or she wants one. That works for me. Not only do people like my knitting enough that that they want something, but now I have an excuse to make it rather then I just want to.

So all seasons are beautiful and all knitting is knitable within those seasons.

Enjoy reading the blog posts, everyone. I've had such a good time reading everyone's take on these topics.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

3KCBWDAY3 Knitting Hero

Welcome to day 3 of the Knit & Crochet Blog Week! Thanks to all the commenters and visitors who have been stopping by. It's been a while since I've blogged regularly, so this has been a real treat. I've also enjoyed reading other people's posts and seeing their projects.

So, a knitting hero. This topic is actually pretty easy for me because when I saw it, I knew immediately who I would write about.

 If I say "owls sweater" what do you think of? This?:

Owl Sweater
Yep, me too. With over 5,000 projects in Ravelry, I should say we do! Did you also think of the designer Kate Davies? Yep, me too. And that's who I want to talk about, Kate Davies.

By the way, I will put a link in the captions of the photos, linking back to her website.

Kate (I feel as if I know her well enough from her blog to call her Kate) is a talented designer, writer and teacher in Scotland. Her blog Needled is a window into her life, and she shares so much with her readers.

Let me talk first about her designs. Stunning. She has everything from sweaters, whimsy ones like Owls, to lovely wardrobe staples like Decco,

 to intricate and beautiful color work such as Perrie Flooers Mittens and Hat
Peerie Flooers
 and the project that is my favorite and the one I hope to do some day, Rams & Yowes.

Rams and Yowes
Isn't it amazing? I'm still a little intimidated by it, but I will knit this blanket and hat.

I also said that Kate was a great writer. I've learned so much from her posts. Go to her blog and you can read everything from a post of tips for knitting one of her designs (Boreal Tropic)  to a post from her dog Bruce about a walk he went on (River Almond Walk). She's a great teacher, writing about historical textiles, such as "from Muhu Island."

As wonderful as these posts are, it's the writings about her recovering from a stroke that really stand out. Maybe I'm more sensitive to these posts because I have MS and many of the things she deals with are similar to what I have to deal with. Kate had a stroke at a young age, but she is persevering and designing and writing about knitting in her historical e-magazines, Textisles. She's honest about her struggles, but there are good days and you get to enjoy those with her too, like when she rode a bike for the first time since the stroke in "Machine."

I could go on and on. I haven't even gotten into the fact that she's in Scotland, one of my favorite places in the world. So not only is the blog a glimpse into the life of a designer but also about living in Scotland.

But this has to be enough for now. I'm struggling with some fatigue right now with the MS, so I need to knock off and rest a bit. I hate to just cut this short, but I'm sure Kate would understand.

Go to her blog. Read the posts, admire the pictures, drool over the patterns, and learn something about historical textiles. You'll see what I'm talking about.

Enjoy reading about others' heroes. I'm going to do that later today, so I'll see y'all later.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

3KCBWDay2 Photography Challenge

Day 2 for Knit & Crochet Blog Week is a photography challenge. And it certainly was. A challenge, that is. I should have spent a little more time thinking about this ahead of time, but pffffffttt. Thinking ahead. Where will that get ya?

So, as I went through some photos, I noticed a reoccurring visitor, and I realized that Cosette enjoys my knitting as much as I do. Well, maybe not enjoys so much as thinks all things are for her enjoyment.

She had just been told to stay off

So obviously this one is for her

This time it's hanging up so she doesn't have a choice but stay off
That is not a ball & it doesn't taste like sheep

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

For those of you wondering, Cosette is a PBGV, a Petite Basset Griffon Vendeen, which is a fancy way to say French hound dog.

BTW, we do have another dog, Lucy, but she pretty much ignores my knitting, except to mistake the wound cake for a ball sometimes.

That's me. I'm heading out to look at other people's photos.  Enjoy looking at everyone's blogs today!

Monday, April 23, 2012

3KCBWDAY1 Colour Lovers

Day 1 of Knit & Crochet Blog Week 2012! We're here! Thank you Eskimi Makes for making it all possible, and welcome fellow knitters, crocheters, and those just curious about what the heck this is.

When I first set up my craftroom, I envisioned a wall of yarn--glass bookcases filled with colorful yarn. I decided against the bookcases, opting instead for an open unit from Ikea, but I still got my wall of yarn. 

 Not an entire wall, but I'm working on that. You can't see it, but there is yarn in those green boxes, too. Well, I can't just throw those leftover yarns away, now can I? Who knows, one of these days I may make that sock yarn blanket (read about it here), the one with matchbox size squares sewn together. Or not.

When I look at the yarn, I realize I'm matted. I mean, "matte" in terms of a lack of visual brightness. That's not a bad thing; I just gravitate towards earthy, non-shiny colors. I do try to break out of that, then I go to the yarn shop and go straight to the greens, neutrals, dark colors, and every shade of gray that comes into view.

You may notice there's a small contradiction color on the second shelf. Yep. Purple! A lavender-y,  lilac-y color of Cascade 220 that I ordered from Webs years ago to make the Cashmere Crossing poncho by Kathy Zimmerman (Ravelry page here). It was lighter than I thought it would be, and although I could've sent it back and exchanged it, I decided to keep it and use it to break out of my color rut. You can see how well that turned out. It wasn't until last month that I actually wound a skein into a cake and started knitting a lacy shawl by Mari Lynn Patrick that was in KnitSimple magazine (Ravalry page here). Here's a picture of my progress so far.

 I'm still not really wild about the color. It's just not me, but the pattern is pretty and I think it will make a pretty wrap to wear on the chilly Nebraska mornings. Or, it'll make a nice gift for someone and I'll just make another one in a different color. I've been drawn to blues, lately. I finally made a Damson shawl by Ysolda Teague for myself out of a blue Malabrigo sock yarn. 

This post is starting to ramble on, but one more thought on color. When I started knitting, I really enjoyed the variegated colored yarn, and I still really enjoy variegated yarns. However, I'm knitting more and more with tonal and solid colors. I think that's because I'm knitting more lace and cable patterns, and those patterns show up better in solid or not-so-variegated colors. But being a sock knitter, I love me some multicolored, hand-dyed sock yarn. It's wonderful to be able to buy a skein of a wild color and make a pair of socks with it. Or a shawlette or a cowl or fingerless mitts ...

Lorna's Laces Jungle Stripe, anyone?

Have a wonderful, colorful day everyone! See you tomorrow.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Challenge! I Need To Be Pushed Out Of My Chair!

I need a challenge. I need someone to knock me upside the head and say, "Snap out of it! Get going!"

Enter the 3rd Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, a project of the creative Eskimimi Makes. For the week of 23 April, I will blog every day for 7 days, probably following the suggested topics. As you might guess, these topics are about knitting! I'm free to write whatever I want, but I like the topics she has suggested, and considering it's been months since I've actually written anything, I think this might be a good jump start for me to pull myself up and get back in the game. Hmmmm, how many cliches can I allude to in one sentence? 

Anyway, I will be writing. I will be posting. I will be blogging. Hooray! And I'm not the only one, kids. There will be tags connected to the posts that anyone writes for this challenge so that we can find each other. All I need is another blog to suck all my time, but whattayagonnado?

Tune in soon for riveting engaging interesting oh heck, tune in next week, starting on Monday, 23 April!