Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Something Old....

Now that I'm all mittened out, Ive discovered that I am apparently in a "finishing" mood - I've found myself picking up old projects, knitting away...of course, it helps that there isn't a mitten amongst the projects :) While some of the projects might take a while to finish (never ending miter squares and delicate lace stole), these, at least, seemed to fly right off the needles.

More photos here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cutting it close...

...in more ways than one. I cast on for these mitts last friday, and basically did little else but knit on them through the weekend - the ball of yarn is all that's left of the skein. Not bad, right?

of course, the finished mittens are much more interesting to look at than a ball of yarn - go check them out here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Knitting Revealed

Now that all the presents have been opened, I can show you what I've been up to since just before Thanksgiving....

I've been a Mitten Knittin' machine. Not included in the tall stack above are the ones I knit for my husband (will share those next) - piled one on top of the other, the stack is as tall as a container of one of my favorite juice blends - Cherry Cider, from Trader Joes.

More Mitten details can be found here and here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A moment of rest

Holiday stuff is done - either that or it's too late ;)

It's been a crazy crazy month, and I've finally got some time to sit, relax and wind down. What better way to do so than on the couch with the cats, some books, some knitting and hot cocoa :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

No, I'm not.

But it sure seems like there are plenty of others who are :)

And seeing as I don't have any wee ones (not of the human variety anyhow), and I like to go for a handmade gift when I can, The Expectant Knitter comes in handy when I'm short on inspiration. Targeted towards the expectant knitter, the patterns are broken into the three trimesters of pregnancy. The thirty projects in the book range from blankets, to toys, accessories and apparel for the whole family and are suitable for a knitters of various skill levels.

Each pattern offers a wide range in sizes from newborn up to 24 months for the baby, and from 2-8 yrs old for the big bro or big sis in the family. In addition to lovely photos of the finished projects, each pattern includes clear schematics and instructions for completion. The wide variety of projects in the book certainly give me more ideas for other projects to knit for the next wee one due to arrive - or even as gifts for families with little ones who arrived a while ago.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cat and Yarn, who could resist?

Not me.

It's just like Snood. But that much better because of the yarn and cat.

Goodness, between this and wastebook it's a wonder if I'll get anything done while I'm away from work!

ps. Happy Solstice!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just a wee bit behind...

Yikes. Anyone else notice that the year rolls over in less than 2 weeks? Things this last month have been a little crazy, thus the absence of blog posts. As you can see, I'm ridiculously far behind on my blog reading...most of that is probably Cute Overload or I Can Has Cheezburger. You know you're in bad shape if you can't even squeeze in your daily dose of cute.

I'll have more interesting things to share next week (stealth knitting, at the very least!) And of course, the regular year end summary.....sadly, the steeking still didn't happen this year, and I'm trying to decide if I need to re-plan/re-start Venezia....I've gotten no further than about 4 inches on the sleeves. The fact that my yarn is superwash has me concerned for the steeking process, and I'm also slightly paranoid over having enough yarn...oy. the dilemma.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Weather Delay....

....well, not really. But it seems there are some pretty serious weather systems moving around the country. I was supposed to be up in Oregon today, but the week seems to be full of snow and sleet and ice....so rather than risk getting stuck up that way, I opted to stay down here with the rain.

Normally, you would be able to see an antennae array on this range of mountains - but as you can see, the clouds are settled in quite low. Such a shame it's hitting during the week, I adore weather like this for curling up on the couch with either a good book or some knitting, a cup of tea and a pair of cats...instead, I'm consoling myself by wearing handknit sweaters to work.

Not much to show in the way of knitting, it's all been stealth projects of late! December is speeding by, I can't believe it's just a week til Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Electric!

Just be thankful I haven't figured out how to upload an MP3 to accompany the blog post (yes, I realize I could probably filch something off YouTube)....but I figure several of you would want my head for posting the Electric Slide on here....

Anyhow, if you happen to have the urge to dance the electric (slide) then you might want to gig yourself out with an original design or two from:

Switch Craft! Conveniently bound with a spiral binding, (so it always lays flat!) Switch Craft is a book that combines sewing and alteration skills with a little bit of electricity in twenty unique projects from household accents, to toys, apparel and accessories, there's something sure to perk your interest.

Each project is rated from 1-3 in each of three categories: craft, tech and cost - that way, you can pick and choose your projects accordingly. Each project includes a clear list of materials and tools, along with a pattern schematic, assembly instructions and a nice clear photo of the finished object. I personally really liked the various bags in the book - and if I was clever enough I'm sure I could merge the tech ideas into one single bag!

Great for gifting, there's even a chapter dedicated to projects that would make great gifts - probably not appropriate for the holidays, I especially like the vibrating Voodoo doll (it wiggles when pinned!)

For the not so technical, there is a basic materials section at the back of the book to help get you on your way. Included information includes stuff on batteries (and holders and snaps), wire, LEDs, Conductive fabrics and thread, and of course switches. There's also information about the basic tools and skills required. Of course, if you need some hints for online resources, a handy list is available at the back of the book.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A wee gift

A great idea if you happen to be gifting a handknit to another hand knitter this season...or at other times too....

A magic yarn ball:

What exactly is a magic yarn ball? Well, you take little trinkets in one hand and your yarn in the other....and start winding, hiding the little trinkets inside the yarn ball as you go. If the little surprises are prone to snagging the yarn, you might opt to wrap it up in some tissue before wrapping the yarn over it. Gifting the remaining yarn along with your hand knit will provide the recipient with some spare yarn should they have to mend the gift later...or if there's enough yardage, they might knit up an accessory or work it up with other stash yarn.

The yarn ball above was received in a recent parcel and has been unwound and rewound into a ball for easier knitting - the cute little stitch marker is what was inside :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


...are a girl's best friend, right? :D Wound up rescuing this poor little one from certain smooshing while on the way home from a hike (don't worry, we didn't bring it home...simply shoo'd him off the side of the road). The little fellow (clearly a juvenile based on the rather ridiculous and pathetic excuse for a "rattle") was probably trying to soak up the weak December rays - unfortunately he was sunning himself right along a dirt road that sees a fair bit of traffic.

Speaking of rescuing...if you happen to have a Trader Joes nearby and you're as addicted to those Almond Snowmen cookies as I am, you might want to go and stock up...my local Trader Joe's tells me they are already sold out for this season!

Monday, December 08, 2008

You know it's the holidays when...

...the Almond Snowmen Cookies make an appearance at the local Trader Joes!

Yes, I am fully aware that I could bake my own randomly shaped almond shortbread cookies (and I have, too!) but it's so much easier to just get them from Trader Joes. They're just about as good as home made...and so addictive, what with the sparkly and satisfyingly crunchy dusting of sugar on them....

And just in case you're wondering how I eat them? Why head first of course...

...the same way I eat gummy bears. You have to put the poor things out of their misery quickly you know.

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's bound to happen...

...to the most well loved of hand knit gifts.

I've been long battling holes in my first ever pair of felted slippers...but since I gave up trying to patch them, I've been wearing my handknit socks exclusively in the house since the temps got cooler...the first to succumb to the wear and tear were these socks, a birthday gift from a couple years back. Unfortunately, I failed to catch the wear and tear until too late, and now I'm going to have to brush up on sock mending skills - right now I'm thinking I'll pick up some live stitches and reknit the heel a la the "afterthought" heel method rather than doing actual "darning"...until they are fixed, they will be out of the rotation.

In the meantime, I think I better start looking for some slipper soles to better mend the fuzzy feet , because I'd hate to wear through all my handknit socks and have to spend my knitting time mending instead of knitting!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Bags and Books

For those that prefer to do a little crafting for the holidays, there are a couple new books out that might provide some inspiration to you:

Bag Bazaar: 25 Stylish Bags to Sew in an Afternoon is a great DIY sewing book for the adventurous bag-loving crafter. The book starts out with a great chapter on basic sewing and bag-making techniques, including information on inserting zippers, creating gussets, attaching bag feet, and sewing pockets (both of the zippered and open varieties), amongst other things.

From there, the book gets into the designs. While the book provides information on materials and instructions, it does require some basic skills on the crafter's part in the creation of the template or pattern for the pieces of each design. Each project is accompanied by a nice drawing of the finished product (similar in style to the bags on the cover), along with appropriate schematics illustrating some of the assembly steps as appropriate. The designs are varied, and are simple enough for even a beginner to attempt.

If bags aren't quite your thing, or you're looking for something to accompany or put inside your gift, you may be inspired by a project in this book:

Magic Books & Paper Toys. I've always had a fascination with handmade books and cards, and I remember making all sorts of things (including my own illustrated flip book movie) when I was a kid. This book is whimsical, and split in two sections - the front half is all about handmade books and cards, and the back half (printed upside-down and reversed if encountered from the front - or reads perfectly normally if you flip the book over ;) ) is all about paper toys, some of which I remember from childhood and others that are completely new to me. Each project shows finished samples featured in clear full-page photos, along with illustrated instructions for successful crafting.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Not quite productive...

Ever take time off with all kinds of plans for productivity, but find yourself distracted and not able to focus?

I must have been in some serious need of just relaxation and rejuvenation, because the long list of "to do's" didn't get even remotely done....though I got lots of reading, napping, cooking and knitting done :)

I did manage to get a little blending done, see?

But I still have about five pounds of fiber to get through...yep, five pounds...and that doesn't include the other colorways that are bouncing around in my head...

I did manage to remember to queue up the random number generator for the Made in Spain drawing...

Congratulations, Cayli! You're the winner :)