Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Gift

My long time girlfriend was having a party for her birthday which I was going to miss due to being out of town.  So, instead of my presence I decided to knit her a present to celebrate her special day.  I sent it off in the post today even though she only lives about 20 minutes from me because we both LOVE getting packages in the mail.  We don't always exchange gifts, but sometimes the timing works out and I can knit something special for her.  I even shopped my stash for this one, Madelinetosh tosh dk, and COMPLETELY used up the yarn only having a few snipped off scraps leftover.  Yay!  I adore using up all my yarn on a project.  Leftover yarn seems sad and burdensome to me; it wants to "be" something, but it's never enough yardage.  

This is the pattern I chose for the hat which I followed to the "T" only adding a pompom at the end.  It turned out more beanie than slouchy as the pattern described, but I think that will fit Emily better anyway.  I used this fun free pompom maker for the pompom which you can simply download and cut out.  It works surprisingly well albeit a bit fussy.  The mitts I knit loosely based on this pattern and you can see my notes as to the changes here.  The combo is pleasing to me, but with one catch - if it's cold enough to wear the hat, you won't likely wear just fingerless mitts and if it's warm enough for the mitts you won't likely need to wear the hat.  Hmm... To solve this dilemma I purchased these stretchy gloves (which are also conductive so she can use her i phone with them on) to wear with the mitts on top of them to make them pretty.  Sorry no photo of this combo, as the gloves arrived in the mail after it was too dark for picture taking.

Now, I'm off to Washington DC for 3 nights and 3 days to spend with another longtime friend.  She is single with no children so it's an all girl, all grown up weekend and I couldn't be more excited!  I'm bringing my souffle dish in my carry-on bag along with truffles, tea and knitting - all the necessities in life ;) 

Joining in with Ginny for Yarn Along and Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mid Winter Funk

Sorry for my absence.  I am in a funk of sorts:  not being able to focus on much, not settling on what to knit and ignoring my house's needs.  Time seems to be slipping by without much happening.  But, while I've been moping, my friend Emily has been busy finishing the layout/design of two of my new knitting patterns.  The first is the bunny pattern I mentioned here and keeps in the vein of my toy making, but the second is something completely different for me - a knitted hat.  

The pattern is called A Dab of Neon as the neon colored bobbles reminded me of dabs of paint on canvas.  You've often heard me talk of the lack of color here in Minnesota during the winter, well here's a blast of color to keep you going, but not so much as to overpower.  I thought of the hat being a dark grey stormy sky with flashes to vibrantly alive color dancing about.  My friend's beautiful daughter Maisie modeled it for me, and while I should have taken more pics/views I think the photos I did get turned out well. 

The yarn I used was Madelinetosh tosh dk 100% superwash merino in Dr. Zhivago's Sky and Fluroro Rose colorways.  Now oddly enough I don't wear neon colors myself, but I just had this idea and wanted to give it a try.  You can purchase the pattern either here on Etsy or here on Ravelry.  Emily gave it a lovely layout in colors that match the hat.  In fact, the pattern is so visually beautiful that I have been admiring it on and off all day long .  So, yeah I'm pretty excited as well as quite nervous about it being available and out in the world for all to see. 

Joining in late with Ginny for Yarn Along, Linda for Creative Friday 
 and Andrea for Fibre Arts Friday.    

Friday, February 6, 2015

Distractions form Distractions - Startitis Has Struck!

OMG!  I'm getting completely distracted from my distraction blanket knitting this week.  First, yarn arrived from eat.sleep.knit (don't you simply love that name for a yarn shop?) which had me casting on for this shawl/scarf immediately, then more yarn arrived in the mail and I found myself casting on and knitting another cozy coaster.  All the while my blanket is looking at me saying "You just have to knit one last ring Ann.  Finish me please!"  I can feel myself justifying the switch to the scarf as I "need" it for my trip at the end of the month, then the excuse to switch to the coaster is that it is small and wouldn't it be great to actually finish something.  Indeed it would, now if I can only focus!  

Both new yarns are golden yellow and super soft so I'm thinking that has something to do with it.  Minnesotans really need bright color in February, or at least this Minnesotan does.  The first yarn is from Handmaiden and it is a lovely blend of half wool half silk.  The best part about this yarn is that it was free.  Yes, free!  Eat.Sleep.Knit sends out a scratch off card with each of your orders and you can win lots of lovely prizes.  Now, I never gamble but yarn scratch off cards - yes please!  I've won a skein of yarn and a couple $5 store credits before, but this time around I won a $50 store credit!  It's been sitting in my account for almost two months as I schemed and planned what to purchase.  I pretty pleased with my choice and there's still leftover credit for something else in the future.  The second yarn is from Frog Tree and is a sport weight 100% Alpaca.  I'm holding the yarn double for the pattern and using larger needles as the original coaster I knit last year was so tiny it didn't even cover the bottom of my mug.  It's another double knit pattern like my mittens, but knit straight back and forth on a double pointed needle so much easier on the mind as well as the hands.

So, you can safely say startitis has come to roost at my house, but with no more yarn coming in the mail I'm hoping this next one will have me settling down to at least finishing one project.

Joining in with Linda for Creative Friday and Andrea for Fibre Arts Friday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Plugging Away and An Upcoming Project

 This morning I find my right forearm is sore from all the blanket knitting I've been doing as of late.  I have been diligently plugging away and finished another square ring yesterday.  While I'm pleased I'm a bit overwhelmed that there are still 2 more skeins left to knit the final edging.  There will be some leftover yarn to be sure, but it's still quite a lot of yarn to knit when I just want to get this project done and out of my WIP pile.  Actually, I want to put it into use as the weather has turned colder and in our drafty house you can feel the difference (not that you can tell by my barefooted short sleeve t-shirt wearing son but that's another story.)

Since I don't have too much new to show you on that project I thought I'd show you a future project I have planned that I'm both excited and a bit nervous about.  When reading the Interweave Press KNITS magazine Santa so kindly left in my stocking this Christmas, I ran across an article about some very unique yarn.  It's called Silver Spun and as the name implies it actually has silver spun into the yarn.  The contents to be exact are 87% Combed Cotton / 5% Silver / 5% Nylon / 3 % Spandex.  We all know what cotton is, nylon I know is added for durability and strength but I was thrown for a loop as to what the silver and Spandex would accomplish.  Well it turns out the silver makes the yarn therapeutic because it has excellent thermal properties as well as making it conductive.  The Spandex is then used to keep the silver from breaking apart.  Interesting no?  The conductive properties really hooked me because that means you could wear gloves made out of this yarn and still use your smart phone.  The Feel Good Yarn Company who makes this yarn thought of that too and put together the above kits with this free pattern for making just such a pair of gloves.  I instantly thought of my husband who is in the tech trade and gets many business calls on his cell phone, sometimes at less than opportune times as he is on call 24/7.  For example, he was walking home from the bus stop this winter with his hands laden down with many bags and got a call on his phone.  He managed to get it out of his pocket but with only three rings before voice mail kicks in there was no time to take off gloves so what did he do?  Why used his tongue of course!  Can I get an ewww!  Yes, that was my reaction too.

Anyway, I purchased this kit right away after I read the article in December, but they have yet to knit themselves into gloves so I thought I'd give myself a deadline.  My plan being to knit these up for Dan's birthday which falls on the last day of March.  Plenty of time of course, but they'll come after this blanket, a hostess gift I'm knitting for a friend who's hosting me on my trip to Washington DC at the end of February and of course since I'm going on a trip I want to knit this scarf to wear while there...  So, I'll probably won't start these gloves until I'm on my plane to see my friend Anna.  They are the perfect travel knit though as they are small and will tuck easily into my purse.  The only reservation I have is knitting 10 individual fingers knit in the round on US size 2 needles.  Sounds very laborious, but hopefully they will knit up fast.

Joining in with Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On and Ginny for Yarn Along.