Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lesson 2 Afghan Squares

Patterns: Pretty Pebbles Square (left) and Basic Granny Square (right)
Hook: G/4.5 MM Clover Soft Touch (a gift from Jill of Twirl Knits)
Yarn: Lion Brand "Pound of Love" in color 110 Denim

Modifications: My granny square was a little too small, but the suggested single crochet edge not only "finished" it a little bit, but got it to exactly the right size. I had also tried to just do another round of the pattern instead, but the dc's were just a little too tall for the 7" size I was aiming for.

Pattern: Wheel in Valleys
Hook: G/4.5 MM Clover Soft Touch and H/5.0 MM Boye aluminum
Yarn: Lion Brand "Pound of Love" in color 110 Denim

One square was done with a size G hook, while the other has a size H. The G square was a little small, so I did a hdc rather than a sc final round.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Reach for the Stars

This month's theme for the CMP ATC Swap was "Reach for the Stars". Chiquita has been interested in ATC cards, so this month she sat down with me when I went to work on my May card. Both cards were worked on colored cardstock, Prismacolor markers, and acrylic paint.My card is on the left. I really like how the skyline worked out; it reminds me of Boston's silhouette from the Cambridge side though I didn't worry about getting it exact. Look you can even see the pyramid-like Cambridge Hyatt.

The card on the right is Chiquita's, and the interpretation is totally her own. I love this frog card so much! I asked her if she would be willing to swap for one I made, but she tells me that she has plans for this one. She will make me another copy though, which works for me.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Single Crochet Afghan Square

Yarn: Lion Brand Pound of Love in color 110 Denim
Hook: Boye aluminum H/8/5.00MM
Pattern: Craft Daisy's Lesson 1 square - single crochet

I can't wait for Lesson 2 to come out today. Next up according to the syllabus is half double crochet, double crochet and triple crochet.

edit: It's up!


Monday, May 28, 2007

Question and Answer

I have had a few questions in my comments recently, so I thought I would take a moment to address them. Also if you scroll down to the bottom you can see my "random 7".

Would you think that the sewn bind off is the most stretchy one? I have a pair of toe-ups to bind off and and I am in doubt.

I do think the sewn bind off is one of the most stretchy out there. Sometimes I find it a little undesirable when I am gifting socks though (particularly for men) as it can sometimes have a ruffly appearance when not being worn. Otherwise though it is hands down my favorite bind off for toe up socks.

Jessica asked:
How long have you been knitting for anyway?

I have been knitting for just about 2.5 years now. I learned the first winter break in graduate school, because I wanted something to do with my hands to relieve stress.

Also she asks:
Do you find crochet hard since you knitted first? And are you able to switch between the two freely?

I actually learned to crochet first, a very long, long time ago sometime in elementary school. Let's just leave it at the fact that I didn't take to it at the time. Then this year I decided I really wanted to learn how to do it correctly and took a great class over at The Knitting Room in East Arlington (highly recommended for both price and quality of teaching). Having said that I haven't done a ton of crochet, but I would like to do more in the future.

Actually Crafty Daisy is doing a great crochet tutorial at the moment, which if you follow along will give you a sampler crocheted afghan at the end. I am doing this as a way to feel more comfortable with more complicated patterns and learning to read crochet shorthand instructions.

Also I've been tagged by Jessica at Ocean of Creativity for a random seven things about me. I am not one to tag seven more people in this "meme" though so tag yourself if you feel like.

1. We don't have a television in our house.

2. I absolutely love the Pretender series. It is one of the few tv programs that I miss. Fortunately since it is not on the air anymore, I can now watch it on DVD. We have had the first season for a while, but we just got the second series this week. That leaves only 2 more seasons before we have them all.

3. There are more computers in our house than people. I myself have 2: my laptop (an ibook hand me down from Salvbard) and my desktop.

4. I love brusselsprouts (fresh only, none of that frozen kind), but I hadn't ever had them until I was a grown up since my mom doesn't like them.

5. I don't deal well with the heat. I just pretty much melt during the worst part of the summer.

6. However I am too energy stingy to turn on the heat above 55*F for myself (I'll turn it up to 65*F when Chiquita is home and awake though) in the winter or the air conditioner in the summer unless it is in the upper 90s and humid.

7. I am trying to eat mostly locally this summer. We eat a lot of our canned/frozen/otherwise preserved food from the summer in the winter, but we always end up not doing so well with this attempt in New England winters.

If you are looking for more random information about me see my 50 crafty facts or my 50 more non-crafty facts lists.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wedding Shower SPS

So today was the wedding shower. See this is me all dressed up for hostessing duties (though mostly sans makeup since this was taken at the end of the day after I got home).
For those of you following along with the wedding shawl drama, I did not ultimately finish the shawl in time for the shower. Remember when I told you all that I was 85% done with the center panel of my sister's wedding shawl? Well it turns out my memory is failing me. For some reason I kept thinking this shawl had 28 repeats, but really it has 34. Oops!

Despite that I did get the center panel done and picked up all 640 stitches around the edge. Then I knit the several long rows all the way around, increasing for the corners. And now I am knitting on the edging. Woohoo! Actually this part is going on a lot faster and I am finding myself waiting for each next stitch that connects the edge to the body. Furthermore I am currently on the last long side for the edging. At the rate I have been working, there is probably about 8 more hours of knitting ahead of me, so I might possibly be done with the knitting portion by next weekend.
I might possibly have been able to finish for the shower if I dropped everything yesterday, but there was no way I would be able to block it too. And for this sort of project, the presentation is really important to me.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Show and Tell

This week the Hogwarts Sock Swap is having a Friday Show and Tell. The idea being that you post progress on your pal's socks, and in the process earn your house some points. Remember that if you are interested in this swap but didn't get involved early enough there will be a second round of sign-ups starting on July 14th.
Unfortunately my socks are not a great deal larger than when I last posted about them. If only this little figure was performing wandless magic for me! I could really use Hermione's knitting charm at the moment. I did get a few rounds done in a thesis defense this week (congratulations MP!), but other than that they have been sadly neglected in favor of my sister's wedding shawl. (But guess what project will come with me to the wedding shower.)

The yarn is Louet Gems fingering weight in Sandalwood and French Blue, though as I have said before if I had it to do again I would have ordered the Ginger rather than the Sandalwood. The pattern is my own standard toe-up one with the Sandalwood for the toes, heels and tops of the cuff, so no complaints there! I am thinking about stripes at least at the cuff, but no decisions have been made there yet. These are being knit at a fine gauge (9 sts/inch) on US Size 0s.

Due to another more complicated project I need to get finished, I had to select something simple pattern wise for the socks. (For those interested in shawl progress, I have finished the edging on one short side and am more than halfway through a long side. Will I make it? It will depend how much I can get done on Saturday. I would be more than amazed if I got to the halfway point before tomorrow.) A stockinette sock with some ribbing seemed perfect for my partner's socks. And with the nice tight gauge they should wear really well.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Index card book

A while back I Need Orange posted about her idea of having a teeny tiny scrapbook. I loved this idea! Similar to ATCs, this was yet another way to avoid feeling intimidated since it is of such a small size. I do actually like working big, but I find I often do not have the time or space to work as large as I did in college (or even as a kid).

So I stopped by the campus book store, and sure enough they had a very similar thing. The pages are a little too small for collage, so instead I am using mine right now to glue in cut-outs of pictures that I find in magazines or Chiquita's Weekly Reader that I might want to draw later. I had been avoiding doing this in my moleskine because I was too worried about the cut out pictures not being archive safe. Here though, they can all be together, and I don't need to worry about them harming any other work. And due to the ring binding, it can sit completely open to work in, which is really nice.

Additionally I am keeping a list of prompt ideas as suggested a few episodes back of the Creative Mom Podcast. The size of these pages is great for themed prompt ideas or sections of EDM prompts that I didn't do yet.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Slytherin Art Journaling

I admit I am not as technologically creative as some of the Slytherins, but I did spend a few minutes today looking for great images for use in house buttons.
Of course instead of doing the digital image I was thinking of I was suddenly inspired to break out Micron pen, water-soluble pastels, and my moleskine notebook instead...

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Public Thank You

Suddenly I realized that I never mentioned who my mystery Lime and Violet Swap Pal turned out to be. Many thanks to Twirl Knits for the fabulous package that she put together.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Summer Goals

I know everyone else in the blogosphere is doing Ali's summer goals contest/meme, but it is such a good idea to lay out my goals this way that I am joining the throng.
Further for non-knitting goals I have:
  • start Mother Earth HAED cross stitch piece
  • draw or paint once a week, even if it is just a small sketch
  • crochet star pillow for neice
And now for the obligatory:
If you do decide to enter the contest, please tell Ali that you linked from here. Thanks!

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Tempted By the Fruit of Another

Do you often have the experience that there is something you really want to work on, but there is something else you feel like you really should work on? In general, I am pretty free of this feeling, but my mom totally brought it out today.

Me: So I have to figure out what to get [my sister] for the bridal shower next weekend.
Mom: I thought you were making her a wedding shawl.
Me: Well yeah, but I am not sure how long the edging will take. So I think I should get her a nice gift certificate to Crate & Barrel or something. You know how much she likes entertaining.
Mom: So you aren't going to try to finish on time?
Me: ...

See my sister has been throwing some not-so-subtle hints that I should start early so that I would finish on time. Lets just say she started in December when I suggested a wedding shawl for a wedding in July.

But people, the wedding is in July! I didn't think anything about the fact that the wedding shower was quite a bit earlier, and it would be expected then. Currently I have 24.5/28 repeats, but I am nervous that I might need 32 as it seems a little small. (The border dictates that I have to add repeats in denominations of 4 at a time.)

And yet... there is the siren call of the baby surprise sweater (Elizabeth Zimmerman was a genius). When Webs announced on their podcast that this was to be the next knit-along I suddenly remembered that I had purchased the pattern a little while ago to knit for my knew niece. Then, auspiciously, Lucy mentioned the yarn I had just taken out to cast on with in the Mind's Eye Yarns newsletter (Cherubs DK).

It's so squishy! And each row is mesmerizing. I absolutely love the way Zimmerman gives her instructions, as I tend to just read my knitting to figure out where I am and where I need to go. With the help of the illustration it was easy to see how the crazy topography was going to work, and each step is absolutely addictive. After 2 evenings I am almost done with the sweater. So close... and yet I put it away and knit several more repeats on the shawl today. I definitely think I can finish the center panel tonight, so there is a small chance that I could finish the edging in a week (gulp). As for blocking, well, I can always do that after gifting but before the wedding if I have to. Right?

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

FO: SC Dulaan Hat

I was digging through my stash last night and I found some Lamb's Pride I bought last summer with the idea that I would felt with it. I have done some knitting with it, but I have found that I am not a huge fan of this yarn. So when I found 2/3 of a skein left from making a Dulaan hat, I thought I would use this up practicing my crochet.

So last night I whipped out my H hook and single crocheted another Dulaan hat. Crochet is absolutely crazy in how fast it goes. Even Salvbard who is usually pretty uninvolved with such things noted how quickly it went.
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in Roasted Coffee (discontinued color)
Fiber Content: 85% wool, 15% mohair
Supplier: Lakeside Fiber
Hook: 5.00 mm
Pattern: none - simple free form single crocheted hat

This hat puts me up to my fifth Dulaan item. Woohoo! Now I just need to pack these up and ship them off to F.I.R.E.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ravenclaw Yarn Arrives

The last few days have been busy with catching up with email and work. One great thing that happened though, is that my sock yarn for the Hogswart Sock Swap arrived. I tried my LYSs, but no one had the sort of thing I was looking for, so I resigned myself to looking online.

Fortunately I hit gold with my first try. I have made a couple orders with kpixie before, and I have to say I am always really pleased with them. Not only do they tend to have very good prices, but since they tend to ship the same day and are so close to me, I often (like this time) get my yarn the very next day. Amazing!

I ordered Louet Gems in French Blue and Sandalwood, since they were suggested by both the Hogwarts Sock Swap and atypicalknit. With the yarn in hand though, I sort of wish I had gone with Ginger rather than Sandalwood. Oh well, you live and learn I guess.
This is my progress so far. I am working my own favorite toe-up style (which I might discuss more in another post) with the Sandalwood for the toes and heels. I haven't decided on the heel style quite yet. A short row heel looks good in a contrasting color, but I am also quite fond of a peasant heel as well.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Sheepy Stitchmarker

Eeee! A sheep arrived in the mail!Next thing you know, he is checking out the yard, having a little snack and settling in.
He even knows how to do the whole white, fluffy and mysterious thing for his photo shoot. Many thanks to Ann of Yellow House Treasures for her giveaway of this fine sheep and his friends made by Designs by Tami.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day everyone! In the past year I have been exposed to so many great creative moms (and dads), who make everyday creativity a goal whether it be in scrapbooking, knitting or drawing. As a busy mom myself, it has been really inspirational to hear and see what you all are working on.

Additionally I have known many bloggers who are currently trying to get pregnant, who are pregnant, who have adopted, or have had children in the past year (sometimes not for the first time). To all of you new parents, here is to remembering that the best way to encourage creativity in your children is to let them see you being active in creative pursuits as well.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

NH Sheep and Wool

Today was the first day of the NH Sheep and Wool Festival, and since I had been out of the country for Gore Place we made every effort to make it to this one. Last year Chiquita had declined to go at the last minute, and she really wanted to go this year. She was particularly been interested in the shearing and dog herding, so those were two things we didn't want to miss.Of the two we found the sheep shearing first. After a few moments though, she couldn't bare to watch, though I am not sure why. I guess she was nervous that the sheep would be cut?
Nearby there were examples of all different sheep breeds. These lambs were among my favorites. I love how full of life and spunk the lambs are.

I also learned a fair amount about Navajo Churros. Heritage breeds have always interested me, and I had never heard of this type of sheep before.
Besides the sheep, of course there were plenty of alpaca. I love how silly alpaca look after they are shorn. They have such very interesting lines to their legs and necks that are so much clearer without all the extra fiber.
Seriously, how cute is this guy? She was just under a year old but was of a good size. How can anyone possibly resist this face? She was just like a giant (camelid) teddy bear.And yes, after all that walking around, we did sit for a while and watch some of the Border Collies compete. I am not sure if the sheep were particularly skittish or what, but the human/dog partnerships seemed to be having a rough time of it. No one was able to do a "shed", which apparently is to split up the herd, though we didn't see any examples. After a few pairs though, Chiquita was ready to move on.
Then at the end of the day, disaster struck. Suddenly my daughter realized that one of her knitting needles had fallen out of her bag. We searched everywhere we had been, but we didn't find anything. Luckily her project is fine, just the empty needle is missing. It was still a sad way to end what had mostly been a very fun day.

Now I am sort of torn. On the one hand, I want to replace this pair of needles with a pair just as nice, because I think good tools are an important part of enjoying the process. On the other hand, I want her to realize that these are her special tools and that she has to be careful with them. If I just replace them each time she misplaces one, am I teaching that? Advice from parents and non-parents alike appreciated.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Our Winners

Many thanks to everyone who participated by letting me know about their travel thoughts. Salvbard and I had lots of fun reading them on the road when we had internet. By random number selection, our winner is Ann-Marie and a bonus prize to Elizabeth. Email me at om1y at nmatrix dot mine dot nu to collect your prizes. (You are smart, I know you can figure out how the email address works.)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Hogwarts Stitch Markers

Previously for Christmas, my aunt had surprised me with an incredible range of beads and bead organizational boxes. I had been talking about learning about beadwork because I was seeing so many other knit bloggers trying their hands at making stitch markers. After only one set though, somehow the beads were put away and I hadn't done a lot with them.

Which makes me incredibly glad that a set of stitch markers was to be included in the care package for our Hogwarts Sock Swap pal. It was just the excuse I needed to get back into making some of these.After a little stash diving, I found the perfect beads for my Ravenclaw pal. Although they look more brown in this photo, the compliment beads to the larger blue ones have a somewhat translucent quality and appear more the bronze I was indeed hoping for.

Now I just have to wait for my ordered yarn to come in to start on the socks!

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Vernon and Giverny

If you are in the area, I highly recommend considering staying at the youth hostel in Vernon. It is completely worth the call to book (online booking is not available). Not only was the staff incredibly nice and the rooms enormous, but you are also just across the river from Giverny, home to the Giverny Museum and Monet's Gardens.This was such a beautiful place, that I am so glad that we took the time out to go. Paris was fun, but this area is so inspirational that I have no questions in my mind why someone would want to just retreat here and paint all day.
Unfortunately we cut our visit to close to dusk for me to get any painting in, but we did get to enjoy the scenery and take many reference photos for later work. Looking through all of our photos from this trip makes it clear that I will have inspirational photos for quite a while.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


What can I say about Paris? I had never been before, and I don't think I knew just what to expect. As much as possible we wanted to walk and see the sites. For the most part I have to say that this is not completely unreasonable.

We started at Notre Dame. I have seen countless photos of Notre Dame and it's rose windows, but seeing in person was a completely different experience. Not only was the architecture amazing, but each nook contained chapels devoted to different saints and filled with gorgeous pieces of art in their own rights.And of course we had to visit the Louvre. No photography was allowed in much of the museum, but I did want to get a photo of the the Winged Victory which I had sketched previously from a photograph.
When I had sketched it originally, I remember wishing I was working from it in person as some aspects of the proportions and details were hard to figure out from the reference photo. Having seen it in person now, I am still pretty happy with my old sketch.
And where else can could we end our day but the Eiffel Tower. We stopped and I worked on the Twisted Flower sock a bit where we had a good view. Was the sock impressed? I am not sure; it is pretty hard to impress a sock. On the other hand, we discussed not just the cultural icon that it has become, but also what an engineering marvel of its day it was.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day in Holland

I had been looking forward to celebrating May Day locally, but with the trip I would have to miss out on the local celebration. So I tried to think of what I would like to be doing instead. After a little bit of research, we decided on visiting the Keukenhof in Holland.Look at these great Project Spectrum colors! Some of the season was well past, but there was still plenty blooming. Salvbard has an incredible number of photos, and last I heard he was culling through them.
Hehe, the irony of photographing this Twisted Flower WIP in a giant flower garden was not lost on me. For those interested, we have a closeup on the sock. The second sock is going much faster now that I have memorized most of the charts.

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