Monday, March 31, 2008

I've been knitting . . . . . honest!

First of all I'd like to thank all of you for your very kind comments about my Bias Shrug. I really appreciate your compliments.

Here's the back of Jaden that I finished over a week ago. I've slowed down a bit on this project and I'm only on to the second repeat of the front.

I'll get back to it this week now that THIS (see below) is finished (or just about!). This is what slowed me down last week. . . after I finished my shrug I decided I'd knit Kristen (my 7yr old) a shrug. I think it will be a great addition to her 'wardrobe' especially for our upcoming trip to England when summer days can still be quite cool/cold!

I know it's hard to tell what this is right now, but it's The Girlfriend Shrug (a free pattern) from Wendy at Knit and Tonic. As you can see I just cast on with a plain yarn, and right now it's missing it's border around the shoulders and back and needs the arms sewn together. I will be doing all that today :-)

I really thought this would take me forever. I've used Plymouth Yarn's Dreambaby DK on size 3's and it is just continuous st st. Surprisingly, I picked it up every spare minute I had last week and it's already finished. As I said earlier I just have to pick up for the edging, which I'm going to do in a different color. Hopefully I can have Kristen model it in the next day or so.

And yes, I still need a white poster board for better pics. Would you believe I went in to Michael's last week and walked down the aisle that had all the boards in it, only to see a woman walk out of it at the other end with her arms full of white poster board, AND there was not one left on the rack!!!! How's that for great timing. She was in front of me at the checkout asking if she could bring some of them back if she didn't need them all cos she was doing some craft thing for a bunch of kids!

So, that's what I've been up to this week..... now it's back to Jaden!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Two memes in one day!

This time it's a Book Meme, and Claudia (and Mr. Puffy) tagged me :-)
I love reading so this one will be easy (I hope). My two favorite pastimes are reading and knitting, but not necessarily in that order. Right now I am more 'obsessed' (for want of a better word) with knitting, but I've usually always got a book on my bedside table that I read when I go to bed. I like to unwind for an hour and read knitting magazines and a few chapters from a book. I'm in a book club that was started in my old neighborhood and we meet at each others homes once a month.

Claudia's meme differed slightly to the one she was tagged with, but I checked the one she mentioned and to be honest I don't think I can remember what I last read on a plane or a road trip so I'll stick with Claudia's questions and answer those. Actually that last question is easy now that I think of it, I don't read on road trips, it makes me feel sick in the car!!!!!!

So, here are the questions:
1. What book are you currently reading.
After saying all that above about always having a book on my bedside table, I have to admit I am not reading anything right now! I just finished our book club read last week (and we had our meeting last Thursday). The book was 'Peace Like A River' by Leif Enger. I will start reading Beach Road by James Patterson as soon as I receive it in the mail, which should be any day now. This is book club pick for April. I will usually pick a book I want to read and read that AND the book club pick within that month. But I've been knitting so much lately that I'm really only finding the time to read the book club pick.

2. When you think of a good story, what are the first 3 books that come to mind.

I'm surprised at myself for mentioning this book, but I really have to put it up there as one of the best books I've read in a long time. What surprises me is that when this book was suggested as a read last year in our book club, I kind of groaned (inwardly,I might add) because I didn't think it was a book I would enjoy. It certainly wasn't a book that I would ever consider reading if I didn't HAVE to. But I made a commitment to the book club back then that whether I liked the suggested read or not, I would do my very best to finish it so I could join in fully with the discussion. Believe me when I tell you there have been some books picked that I just could NOT get through no matter how hard I tried. In my opinion life is too short to be reading a book that you really aren't enjoying. Too many good books out there, and of course there's always knitting to do too! I'm not very good at writing reviews, and I can't even tell you really why this book made such an impact on me at the time. I just know that while I was reading the book, and even for weeks after I kept thinking of the two main characters alot. It was almost like they were real, and when I wasn't reading the book I'd be wondering to myself "what are they doing right now", as if their lives were still going on even while I wasn't reading them - if you know what I mean?!

My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult. Such a controversial topic. This was the first Jodi Picoult book I read and so far still the best. But I like a lot of her books. I heard from a friend today that this movie will be showing on Lifetime next month on April 12th.

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini. Another book club book that I didn't think I would like, but really enjoyed.

3. Which 3 books would you recommend for Summer 2008 beach reading.
Well, that would depend on what kind of books you like. I'm sure a lot of books I like might not appeal to most people. I like easy reading and often times 'chick lit' for summer reads. I'd probably say:
Any book by Jodi Picoult
The Yada Yada Prayer Group series
Water For Elephants - Sara Gruen (read this in January for book club and really enjoyed it).

4. Any knitting books you care to share?

The Friday Night Knitting Club. It was a fun read and I've heard Julia Roberts will be starring in the movie this coming Summer (or perhaps later due to the writers strike?)

So there ya go. I hope I didn't bore you all too much. I think I 'waffled' on quite a bit!

I've been tagged. . . . .

Jennifer (NuttyIrishmanKnits) tagged me :-o I'm not really very good at doing these things but seeing as most of you may not read my daily blog and not know much about me (and I have no new knitting pictures to share) I will try to think of 7 things to post - not necessarily 'weird', but just stuff about me! Here goes:

1. I am English! Born 44 years ago in a town in the North of England called Sunderland. I am the youngest of 6 but have a twin brother (who is older than me by 20 minutes!). I moved 'south' to Bury St Edmunds in 1987. Met my USAF guy in 1995 while he was stationed in England, married in 1996 and moved to Maryland with hubby in 1998.

2. We moved to Austin, Texas in 2004 and I became a US Citizen.

3. I learned to knit when I was 8 years old. My mam taught me, and thankfully she had the patience of a saint. I think if I had to learn to knit now I would never stick with it and would get frustrated very easily (as I do now if I even try a new method like continental or a different kind of cast on!).

4. I want to finish something before I even start it - especially where knitting is concerned. I can't stop casting on for new projects and easily get bored with something if it's not knitting up fast enough.

5. I'm a true 'Libran'. I like balance and harmony in my life, do not like confrontation AT ALL and I'm very romantic. Love pink and girly stuff.

6. I'm 'English' but I don't like drinking tea! I remember 'choking once when I was little and drinking a warm cup of tea, it must have gone down the wrong way. After that I just didn't want to drink it any more and as I got older even the smell of it made me shudder! I'm a coffee gal but don't drink a lot of it. Usually just one or two cups in the morning, I never make any in the afternoon. Will occasionally indulge in a Starbucks.

7. I think I'm addicted to Ravelry and reading knitting blogs!!!! Need I say more ;-)

I don't like to tag people so I will just do as some others do and leave this an 'open tag'. If you want to share 7 things about yourself leave me a comment to let me know. I still feel kind of knew to the knitting blog world and would love to get to know you better.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Bias Shrug has a day out. . . . .

I've finished the back of Jaden, but haven't taken any recent pictures. Instead I thought I would share more pictures of my shrug - this time with me wearing it! I got to wear it yesterday at church with my dress. And after church I changed in to jeans and a t-shirt but left the shrug on as it was a little cool, (no sunny spring weather for us yesterday, but at least we didn't have snow!)

I love that I can wear this when I want to dress up or down. But in my honest opinion, I liked it with the jeans the best. The only thing I didn't like (and you can't really see it from the pictures) is the yarn was making a mess all over my dark t-shirt. I seriously needed a lint brush by the end of the day. That surprised me about this yarn, because it had a sort of sheen to it (KnitPicks Shine Worsted) I didn't think it would 'shed' like that? Perhaps after a wash it might not be so bad? Or if it is, I will just have to wear white with it next time.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. I know some of you got snow! We are having nice sunny weather again today :-) Oooh sorry, didn't mean to rub that in!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How Cute is Butch?

Meet Butch! This is Kristen's little black (Webkinz) lab! She has about 5 little Webkinz guys, 3 are dogs, (she loves dogs) 1 frog and one 'Lil Webkinz' which is a pig. She names them all of course.

I don't know what made me think of knitting a little doggy sweater for them, but I searched on Ravelry last week just to see if I could find anything. There were only 3 patterns for Webkinz, and only one of those was free. So, with some 'old' acrylic yarn, in Kristen's favorite color of orange, I cast on to see what the pattern would look like.

What do you think? Rather cute huh? I thought so, and the pattern takes all of 2 hours to knit! I changed the back slightly. You could either BO straight once you got the length you needed or decrease to 3 stitches at the back. I did neither but just decreased about 3 times, then it was long enough for Butch so I bound off.

Kristen's well pleased with it, now she wants sweaters for all her little guys! Mean while Jaden is sitting patiently waiting for me to pick her up again ;-)

Monday, March 17, 2008

It's looking pretty. . . . .

. . . . Jaden that is. The pattern is so pretty, the yarn not so much! Actually it's not too bad, I'm getting used to the feel of it and it's not splitting as much because I'm being careful to 'scoop' up the stitches carefully. Not sure how long this one will take me but I'll be concentrating on it a lot that's for sure - I don't want it to end up a UFO!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Just One Week. . . . .

. . . . . that's all it took to knit the Bias Shrug :-) I got it finished last night and blocked it lightly. I'm very pleased with it and think it will look great on with jeans and a tank too. I will try to model it early next week and show you some pictures with me 'in it'. But for now, here it is with the dress I intended it for. . . .

The only modification I made was to sew the sleeves further up than the marker. I found that when I first tried it on it was too open under the arms, so I sewed up another 2 inches on either side.

The yarn (Knitpicks Shineworsted) seems rather heavy and I feel like this stretches a ton every time I pick it up, but it's surely my imagination because the sleeves stay the same length so I know it's not really stretching!

I'm happy to say I finally figured out the problem on Jaden. It was as usual just me reading the pattern wrong, or I should say 'misinterpreting the pattern. Jennifer asked if I'd used mercerized cotton before, and the answer to that is no, I don't think I have - and to be honest I won't be in a hurry to use it again. I'm finding that it splits very easy and I have to knit slower than I usually do because I keep pushing the needle through the yarn and not catching all the strands! It's not totally horrible to knit with and I love how it's looking. . . . can't wait to see it progress.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Call Me Impatient!

Seriously . . . Impatient should be my middle name, if I actually had one that is, which I don't - but you can call me it anyway ;-)

Yesterday I was chomping at the bit to get out to my LYS and look for some mercerized cotton for Jaden. After careful consideration and much help from the owner Pat, I came home with some pretty pink cotton. I've never heard of the brand before, the label says 'Butterfly' Mercerized Cotton and it also has some Greek looking word on it!

Both these pictures seem to show two different shades. It's hard to say what color it is exactly, it looks pink, but in a certain light it looks like a soft pinky coral color too - either way I like it.

I went for a fresh spring look for the color because I'll be hoping to wear it as soon as I get it done. As much as I like the color used in the original it seems more like a Fall color for me. The thought of knitting one in a similar earthy tone for Fall, with the long sleeves is rather appealing.

For now though, I cast on and after just 5 rows of the pattern I'm confused :-( I've emailed a 'friend' hoping she can shed some light on my confusion!

I'm nearly finished the shrug so I will knuckle down and get that off the needles before I worry too much more about Jaden. Ooooh but I can't wait to get going on it. I hope others on Ravelry knit it soon, so I can see how their's look.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In Love with Jaden!

The new Spring Knitty is up! And I've fallen in love. . . . . . . with Jaden!

Isn't this just gorgeous! I'm already thinking of knitting it (just as soon as I get my shrug finished!) and I can't wait to see it on Ravelry (it's only a matter of time I'm sure). I love the design of this. The neckline is especially drawing me to it and the pattern under the bodice. I'm not sure if I would add long sleeves though. I prefer short sleeves, and what with spring and summer on it's way, I'd get more wear out it if the sleeves were short I think.

Now I just need to think of a yummy yarn and color that would be just right. Any suggestions?

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Answer To My Question!

The question being, "what shall I knit myself next"! The answer came the next day when I received a copy of Interweave Knits, Spring 2005 (which I won on Ebay!). Flicking through it I found this. . . . the 'Good Bias' shrug. I knew it would be a great quick knit and just what I need to add to a dress I had in mind to wear for Easter.

So, that's my deadline. I need this finished by Easter Sunday. I think I can do it. I cast on for this on Friday and it's going pretty quickly, so long as I can find the time to keep picking it up. I'm using the Knitpicks Shineworsted that I recently bought. I had in mind a different project for the yarn, but you know how that goes! As for the socks I cast on, well they are on the back burner for a couple of weeks now.

It's Spring Break for us this week. Weather doesn't seem to know that, and it's raining today rather heavily, so the kids can't even play outside. (I say kids, but I only have one daughter, but I mean her and the kids she plays with in the cul-de-sac).

Right now she's playing games on Hubby just left for Denver and will be there til Friday. I'm gonna make us some lunch and hopefully sit and knit the rainy afternoon away :-)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Drum Roll Please. . . . .

I present to you my finished Surplice Bodice Camisole :-)

I'm really please with how this turned out. The neckline isn't as low as I thought it would be so I could wear this with or without a tank underneath. If I knit this again I think I would make the top part of the bodice just a tad longer. Overall though, I love it. . . . . now I just need warmer weather so I can wear it. It's very sunny here today but it was rather windy and chilly standing out there trying to take pictures.

Pattern: Surplice Bodice Camisole from Knitted Lingerie
Yarn: KnitPicks Main Line. Color - Butter Pecan
Needle size: US 7 & 8

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Some Bunny Loves You!

And some bunny loves me! - what do you think of my new header? I have to say a big thank you to my 'bloggin friend' Julie. I was telling her yesterday via emails that I had been working on trying to do a new header for my knitting blog, but hadn't quite come up with anything I liked (not to mention that I'm not very good and can only use the basics in my Paintshop Pro7 program). A little while later she sent me this header - and some backgrounds using close up shots of my knitting stitches :-) I played around with the backgrounds but ended up still liking the white look on this template. It made the header stand out much better by leaving it plain. So thank you again Julie, you are such a sweetie!

Now, as for some bunny . . . . . here's Kristen modeling the little bunny hat I finished. This will be sent off to a friend soon, and might just make it in time for easter?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

C'est Fini!

I finished the Surplice Bodice Camisole :-) I'm so pleased with myself! It's been a while since I've made myself anything to wear (that I actually want to wear!). And I actually like how it looks on me.

Right now I'm trying to block the cami. I say "try to" because like my gauge, it's something I don't often do! Actually I've only ever done it once before, and I don't think I did it right that time.

I've read up on how to do it this time, and I've pinned out the top on some towels (as you can see above). Then I wet it thoroughly using a spray bottle. Now I guess I just have to wait until it's completely dry? Am I doing this right?

Hopefully over the weekend I can get some pics of me modeling it. The neckline is rather revealing so I will be wearing a tank/cami underneath. The nice thing about this, is you can change the color of your tank to match what else you're wearing. Right now I have a brown tank, but I think cream will look nice too. I can't wait to thread the ribbon through, because I think that really sets it off.

Hmmm! What shall I knit myself next? There are so many great projects on Ravelry I'm spoilt for choice. I'm thinking of something that will be nice for the summer that I can through on top of sleeveless dresses or cami's, something like a shrug or just a nice sweater/cardigan. There's just so much choice.

Yesterday I cast on for some more socks. . . . . more about those next time ;-)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Still at it. . . . .

I went away at the weekend for just one night to the ladies retreat at church! I thought I might get a little knitting done so I packed Summertime Tunic to take with me (endless st st going on with this project! - does it ever end?) I was only there until Saturday afternoon and I really didn't have time to knit at all!

So once I was home I picked up my camisole again, still plodding on with the lace (about 3 more inches to go on the back, then still the front piece to do). In the meantime I finished off my second pair of Evangelines. I started these just after I finished the first gray pair. They were mostly complete except for the thumbs and the sewing in of the ends.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. . . . "it's difficult getting a good picture of your own hands! And Kristen is at school so I can't use her as a model.

I also finished the Itty Bitty Bunny hat, but I'm waiting to try and model it on Kristen before I show pictures! I think this will be my last pair of 'fingerless mitts' for a while, or until I find anyone that likes to wear them. These will be going in the gift box for just such a time. I really don't know anyone that wears them, so I may start making mittens and matching scarfs next!