Friday, December 28, 2007

Reflections of my blog-aversary

My first post was December 28, 2006

Wow!! It has been a year since my first post, and I must say that it has been wonderful. Through all of the ups and down of hats that didn't fit, and seams that didn't come together right, and ripping back of row after row, I can still say that I love this knitting thing. I have met some amazing people, and I have a bunch of new people that I can actually call my friends. It is great to have other people who understand why you rip back 20 rows because you see a miscrossed cable, or a dropped stitch.

Here are some of the things that have learned/accomplished in the past year.
  • I knit a sweater. My very first sweater, and it fits, and it is gorgeous, and I love to wear it. I feel very validated as a knitter because of this.
  • I learned to knit cables
  • I learned to knit patterned socks, instead of the plain stockinette version. I actually completed a full pair of socks.
  • I learned to knit toe-up socks on two circulars
  • I learned how to avoid stair-step decreases when shaping an armhole or shoulder.
  • I have finally learned how to do a Yarn over, and make pretty lace.
  • I have learned the difference between a left slanting decrease and Make 1, and a right-slanting decrease and Make 1.
  • I learned how to make a bobble.
  • I learned how to do Fair Isle on the round (very loosely)
  • I learned how to do a one-row buttonhole
  • I finally know what Rhinebeck is, and oh what an experience it was!
  • I designed a hat that is superwarm and super gorgeous. (Don't worry, I am stilll working the kinks out of the pattern. I didn't forget about my newfound friends who are itching to cast on!)
  • I learned how to make one-of-a-kind stitch markers to make knitting just a little more fun
I have also found some of my favorite Yarn stores this year, all for different reasons.

  • Knitaway of Brooklyn (Atlantic Avenue) - It is close to the 2 train, and they have a huge selection of needles and notions, and I really like the owner. She is very encouraging.
  • Brooklyn General - The store has moved to a new location that is more than double their original size, and the yarn selection is fabulous.
  • Knit New York - I love the 10% discount after you rack up $200 in purchases. They have a lot of colors of Cascade Magnum, and they have a wall of Malabrigoooooo. Wait.. my heart stopped for a minute.. hehe!! Oh , and their Xocolate Chai Latte is better than anything I have ever tasted at Starbucks.
  • Seaport Yarn - It is walking distance from my job (a recipe for danger), has a room full of sock yarn, and a very huge selection to choose from (Koigu is very reasonably priced). Also, they have knit night on wednesdays, which is very cool.
  • The Pointe - Since they have a new manager, there has been a lot more sales and special classes going on. One day, I will try some. The yarn selection is great in there as well.

The only downfall to this knitting thing is that I have experienced a severe case of "Startitis". Here are two new projects that I started working on in the past few days.

Juno Regina scarf from Knitty.

I am using the Malabrigo Lace (Cactus Flower colorway) that I originally bought for the Secret of the Stole. I have decided to stop fooling myself into believing that I will complete the Secret of the Stole. The secret is out, and I am still on clue #1. I will use the beads in another project, or just make some pretty jewelry with them. This is about 30 rows intothe pattern. Woo, I've got a long way to go.

Bobbled Tunic (#17) from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2006.

I am very excited about this sweater. I have wanted to make it for a whole year, and just got my act together. The Cascade Magnum is a dream to knit with. This is a great learning sweater, as I learned to make bobbles with it. Also, I am getting instant gratification since it is knitting up so fast. I was a little confused because the instructions start off with a K2P2 rib on an odd number of stitches, but I just went with the flow for that last odd stitch. It's gonna get seamed anyway. Here are the sleeves about halfway done.

I want to give special thanks to all of my knitting buddies that I have met in person at Sit N' Knit meetups, at Rhinebeck, at yarn stores, and those who live far away but make my creative juices flow over the internet. This knitting passion of mine would not be complete without you. You have helped me prove that anything is possible, and some of these difficult things can be done step by step, and stitch by stitch. For those that I have the honor of seeing in person from time to time, I love being able to create beautiful memories with you. I love all of the laughter, and just being able to put aside the day to day stresses. Taking it out on two sticks and a piece of string is very heartwarming. And, look at the beautiful things that we are able to create? I would also like to give a special thank you to those who have taught me what good yarn is, and I promise never to buy Red Heart A-Cry-LY-Yuk again. I have been forever transformed into a yarn snob, and I am loving it. We are all one deep in our hearts, because we all have our favorites. That is why me, being the great enabler that I am, will always let you now if I find out about a good sale on some good yarn. Thank you for all of the encouragement.

Goals for 2008

  • Finish all of the sweaters that have been started
  • Finally create a lace accessory and finish it to completion.
  • Design more garments and accessories
  • Make more stitch markers with jewelry to match
  • Buy even more yarn at Rhinebeck. LOL!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Introducing....The New Pattern Maker!

Hello everyone. I have been a little busy, doing a little knitting math the past few days. I have managed to create a pattern for the Mary J. Blige hat that I posted about a few weeks ago.
Here are pictures of Mary and I.

The hat was made using 1 skein of Cascade Magnum #9424 Savona Rose, size 13 and size 15 needles. I managed to have about 39 yards left over.

Here are the stages of my development.

Yes, I actually did a guage swatch. I got 2 sts/inch on size 15's just as the ballband said.

Here is it before I started to add in the decreases.

Here is the finished body of the hat. It even looks nice without the brim. This picture was taken during the knitting circle at Seaport Yarn.

Here is a closeup

A few more FO shots.

Both the yarn and buttons were purchased at Knit New York. I finished the hat there today, and I want to thank the staff so much for encouraging me while I was doing the finishing touches.

I absolutely love this hat. The cold air doesn't even blow through it. It is Super bulky and Super warm. I can't wait to make a sweater out of this Cascade stuff.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Parties Rock!!! (Picture heavy post)

I had so much fun at the Sit N Knit Holiday party. Here are a few highlights.

Here is Penelope, organizing the raffle, and takin' care of business.

Chante and Judy were helping to organize the raffle and gift exchange entries as well.

Tina, of Interweave's Central Park Hoodie fame is seen here knitting a sock.Here is Tawana and Tomo, causing knitting trouble in the corner of the room. The martini on the table is mine. Tawana was filling up on herbal tea, so the little one can be happy.
Chante and I. Chante created a drop spindle kit that was raffled off later on that night.
Gift Exchange
Here is the gift that I received from Judy (behind me in the black sweater). The scarf is super-duper soft. I love it.
My foliage hat gift went to Maria. Would you believe someone tried to buy it from her that night? People, it is a free pattern on Knitty. We all have the power to knit. She absolutely loved the hat, and together, they make a supercute pair.
Jane received this purple hat that incorporated the butterfly stitch in it. I almost made this hat. How cool is it that it matches her sweater perfectly??
Tawana recieved fingerless mittens from Jane. The colorway looks like one I have seen on SWS yarn.
Penelope recieved Tawana's gift of Thrummed Mittens. Everyone was going crazy over them. I'm so jealous, I am going to have to make my own.
Hope recieved a cute little bag with a sewn and finished inner lining.
And since she's hiding, here is a picture of her, full of excitement after winning the raffle. Noro sock yarn. oooohhhh... aaaaahhhhh!!! I'm putting that on my christmas list.

Meet my new friend Martha, who was sitting across from me. We share a love for thrummed mittens. She won a tape measure from one of the raffles. We had a really lucky corner that evening.
Tawana won some laceweight yarn as well.

Well, I did manage to finish that baby hat. I am thinking about sucking it up, doing the math, and creating an adult version for me. That is of course, after I finish my Mary J. Blige hat that I am swatching for.

And, to my surprise.... today at work, Deborah gave me my Christmas gift early -a hat and ruffle scarf set, along with some great homemade cookies. Good thing I didn't wait until Christmas to open it up!! I am so greedy that I ate them all already..hehe!!! Deborah will recieve a very special gift, because so much love went into her present. Thank you so much Deborah!!

Whew!!! I am overwhelmed with excitement. I am just reflecting on my knitting experiences this past year. I used to be so afraid of the Purl stitch, and now I am super-confident that I can face any challenging pattern. I have met such wonderful friends through this blog universe, and I just thank everyone so much for leaving comments as time has progressed. I am so happy that I have friends that I can call on a whim to visit a yarn store or knitting event. It really means a lot to me to be able to open up to you about my crazy and funny life experiences. Happy holidays to everyone!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Finished Object Update

I just wanted to let you all know of a few projects that I have finished since my last post.

Here is my Foliage hat that I made for the Sit N' Knit swap. We will be exchanging gifts at the Annual Holiday party. I am so excited. This is made from leftover Cascade 220 that I used for my Central Park Hoodie. Stashbusting feels great. I followed the pattern exactly as stated. Keep in mind that if you try this pattern, it is best to use stitch markers between each pattern repeat, and don't forget to Yarn over. I ran into a few issues where I had to frog a row or two because of missed YO's. However, I still think that this is a great pattern. It was a quick knit. I am very happy with the finished product. I am sure that the swap recipient will be very pleased. This took about 4 days to complete, because I had very little time where I could actually sit still and focus.
Here is the Peapod baby set that I made for my Cousin's baby, who will be born in January. I used Knitpicks Shine Sport in Orchid, using size 5 needles. I managed to knit the sweater in 2.5 days, to make the deadline for her baby shower last weekend. Whew!! I initially bought 5 skeins of yarn, and I have about 1.5 skeins left. Hmmmm.....maybe I can make another baby hat.

Here is the second Peapod Baby Set that I am making for Tawana's little one who also is scheduled to arrive in January. I used Knitpicks ShineSport in Crocus. All that is left to do is sew on buttons, and weave in the ends.

And here is the hat in progress, modeled by my Goddaughter/cousin Symara. She is anxious for this hat to be done, because I need to use the needles to make a hat for her birthday gift, which is the day after christmas. Whew!!! Holiday knitting never ends.

Here is a closeup of the hat. The stitch pattern looks beautiful. I just have about 4 more rows to go before I do the decreases. This will become a finished object soon enough.

Next on the list....
  • Top Down hat for Symara with fun fur edging (Jaeger Baby Merino DK - Color -YoYo- variegated pink)
  • Top Down hat for Carissa (Symara's sister) with fun fur edging (Jaeger baby Merino DK - Color - Hula Hoop - variegated purple and lilac)
  • Mary J. Blige hat - there is no way I am backing down from that challenge. (Cascade Magnum)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I am obsessed with this hat

So, last night, my dear friend Richelle sent me a message stating that the hat that Mary J. Blige is wearing on the cover of her Reflections album is "FIRE"...and I do agree, it is off the chain. Take a peek.

So, I stayed up till about 2:00 AM scouring the internet for any information that I can find. Well, I found the hat at an online boutique, it is made out of Alpaca, and it costs $200. What???? Well, a skein of Misti Alpaca Chunky or Cascade Magnum is around $20 at my LYS.

Paying 10% of the cost of a super trendy, celebrity-inspired hat in a color that noone else in the world has is priceless. And since I have Cascade Magnum already in my already know what I am going to do.

Now, let's get back to Richelle. I have known her since I was twelve. She is a dear friend of mine that I care for very much. I consider her part of my family. But her exact words in her text message were "Girl, I don't think you can make that". My response "Are you trying to challenge me??? That sounds like a dare". Does she know who I am??? I can knit anything! I am a Certified Instructor... and I even knit half asleep. Of course, I can make that hat.

So, my lovely knitting peeps, I am going to put my design /deciphering skills to the test. I have already worked out the cable pattern into a chart, and I just have to figure out the decreases. I will keep you posted on the progress.

Now, I am not trying to infringe on the original designer's copyright. I will not sell the pattern to anyone. I am just using it as inspiration. If I happen to make it as an exact match, then I am a genius and a knitwear company should hire me ASAP, and pay me a great rate, with benefits and vacation. LOL!! But seriously, I am a person who is trying to stick to a budget and doesn't need a hat that costs more than her monthly car insurance payment.

Yes, I know that everyone has missed me. It seems like forever since my last post. I have been knitting though. I will post pics as soon as I can. Right now, I have some serious deadline knitting to do for a gift, and I haven't even completed 50% of it. Pictures before the week is up, I promise.

I made a cream and silver Sparkly Hat to replace one that I lost, but it is too big, and has to be frogged. So, no pictures just yet. Sorry. My problem was that I did it fron the top down, using a slightly thicker yarn than the original hat. I made one increase too many. I absolutely hate the way it looks on my head. This new yarn is Berocco Pure Merino, and the reason I got it was that it was Superwash.

But, I still have confidence that I am a fabulous hat maker. I completed my Beret. Here is a pic.

I am also making cat Bordhi's Mobius Cowl to go along with it. More updates on that later.

Oh, and those earrings in the picture. A Shameka original. Sterling Silver and glass beads.

Happy Knitting Everyone!!!