Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ella is the cure for sickness

Today, I woke up feeling very out of sorts. The room was spinning, I could hardly eat, and I didn't even have enough energy to knit. So, you know I was SICK!

I went to the doctor to get checked out. He gave me some medicine for my ailments, and I dragged myself home.

Upon arrival at my door, I was surprised to see a box for me. Inside was the yarn for my Ella coat. 13 Skeins of Shepherd's Wool and 3 skeins of Tilli Tomas Flurries. I also received some Noni Patterns for some floral fun. Sunset Over Chaco Canyon Knitted Cactus Flowers, Bling Flowers, and Escher's Oriental Poppy Cowl. They are all so beautiful. Lastly there were some Sparkle Rivets in there. I am so excited to make these projects using this yarn.

Shepherd's Wool is super soft. The colors are pure and vibrant. At 250 yards per skein, it is perfect for those one skein wonders, yet has enough to make sweater knitting not be a pain with a million ends to weave in.

Although I will be knitting stripes, which will leave many loose ends, I am trying to figure out a way to minimize this. I am thinking that if I do an even amount of rows for each color, I will be able to have less loose ends. Now I just need to figure out the perfect color sequence.

So after receiving the yarn, I got a burst of energy. All of the sickness that I felt early this morning vanished into oblivion.

I want to thank the staff of Noni designs for choosing me to be one of their featured bloggers, and also thank them for sending the cure for what ails me. You guys rock!

Here are pictures of my yummy yarn. I posed with Ella on the couch. That's my knitting spot where most of the magic will be happening.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Nook Cover Search and Festivus Yarn.

I am so excited about my Nook that I decided to go on a quest to find the perfect cover.
My first instinct was to make one. I recently found a tutorial on that explains exactly how to do it. I bought my mom a sewing machine for Christmas, so I figure I should learn to use it too. I found the perfect fabric that I want, and even found out that their wholesaler is in Soho. The wholesaler's website advised that we call the actual stores for availability information. So, I called the City Quilter and was told that the specific fabric I want was a best seller and they no longer had it. much for instant gratification. So, I perused the internet and found it on for cheaper than I saw it on the original website. Yaaaaay! I also decided to get extra fabric to make a lovely bag to go with my nook cover. Am I in over my head already? I don't know how to sew, but if Anya can do it in 4 months and win Project Runway, who says I can't? I'd like to poke them with a knitting needle.

So, still in the throngs of the instant gratification monster, I decided that I needed a nook cover NOW, just to protect it until I get to make the one I want. I looked all over for sales and found a pink cover at Lord and Taylor from Cul-de-Sac at a price point of $8.00. I was so excited. I couldn't wait to get off of work.
So, I trudged through the rain and made it over there. I got so excited when I saw pink. Then I looked closely, it was an iPad cover. Dammit! It's too big. Arrrrrgh! However, I saw a glint of silver in the corner of my eye. Next to it was a smaller Ralph Lauren silver embossed leather ereader cover with a sign that said 60% off. The original price was $68 and after discounts it came to a few pennies more than $27. I would have paid more just because it was leather. So, I am super excited once again. I head to the cash register. But before the cashier rings it up, I attempt to place the nook into the cover to see how well it fits. It turns out the cover is about an inch too small on the top and left sides. Dammit! Arrrrgh!
So, the moral of this story is, I need to make my OWN nook cover.

So, on to happier things. When I got home, I opened up my package from The Loopy Ewe. They packaged everything so nicely, and even wrote me a lovely note. I got the yarn for 3 projects, and a pattern for a fourth, as well as my Addi Turbo's. (I am still hearing the audio clip from the Cast On podcast in my head). The yarn is Shepherd's Wool in Granite and Frosty Blue, and Malabrigo Rios in Glazed Carrot. They are all super soft and yummy, and I can't wait to start knitting. I also got a little thingy to keep track of my knitting needles and a sample of Loopy Ewe yarn. Lovely!
Here is the visual of my Festivus stash addition.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas (Festivus)!!!

Jesus is the reason for season. As a knitter, I love the season of giving. It gives me a chance to see people get excited when they receive a gift that I put a lot of thought and effort into choosing.

I have a friend who I used to work with years ago.  We were a team that knocked out job requests at a rate that was unseen.  Our coworkers called us "Pinky & the Brain".  So, I have spent many hours talking to "The Brain" about things we can do to increase our knowledge in our spare time.  We both want to get more into reading books.  However, "The Brain" has a very demanding schedule, that doesn't allow time for reading.  I was able to get him a gift subscription to as his Christmas present.  He absolutely loved it, and I was thrilled that I got him just what he wanted. 

So, fast forward to this morning, whan I opened my gift.  Wrapped up in a nice bag was a pink Hello Kitty pillow.  At first, I thought it was a gag gift, because he always calls me "Pinky" (and he has every right to).  But, I turned the pillow over, and this is what I see. 

I thought "Should I open it?"  "I don't want to ruin the pillow" "Well, it's already been lacerated, so I guess opening it won't hurt".  I squeezed the pillow, and felt something solid inside.  It felt like a box.  So, I dug in to find a box wrapped in pink.  This is what was inside the box. 

I was in shock.  I have talked about wanting to read more books countless times, and mentioned that my bookshelf is filled to the max.  Although I have the Nook for Iphone app, it starts to get irritating reading such a small screen after a while.  We even went into Barnes and Noble, and I played around with the Nook for a little while during my Christmas shopping.  I was totally floored, and called "The Brain" immediately to thank him.  So, he is added to the list of recipients on the Festivus list. 

Here is my list

"The Brain" and "Coworker R.O." - Scrumptious Neck Warmer in Stonehedge Fiber Mill's Shepherd's Wool in Granite and Frosty Blue
"Coworker L.E." - KS Fine Cabled Mittens (Knitspot) in Knitpicks Capretta in Timber
"Orange Hot Momma" - A Noble Cowl in Malabrigo Rios in Glazed Carrot
"Helpful neighbor who attempted knitting once" - Gaptastic Cowl & Hat that I haven't decided on yet in Knitpicks Swish Bulky in Stormy
"Miss Festivus Surprise" - A project I can't really talk about in Knitpicks Capretta in Admiral and Harbor

There will be more updates soon.  The yarn should be here this week, so that I can get started.  I ordered Addi Turbo 16 inch needles in sizes 6 and 8.  Although there is a supposed hype about being able to knit faster with them, I don't really like to buy into "the hype".  However, I started my scrunchable cowl on a pair of Addi's and it is sailing along smoothly.  I love the rhythm I get when I am knitting, and if that allows me to knit faster, than I am game.

Sidebar:  I have been listening to Cast On with Brenda Dayne, and now every time I say Addi Turbo, I hear the sound that she makes in the Podcast every time she says it.  When I hear it, I envision a comet whizzing by at the speed of light.  Let's hope I can get these Festivus presents knitted up quickly.  I have to start on my Ella Reinvented Cardigan mid-January. 

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Conversation with Ella

Me: I really want to start a sweater in the first month of 2012.  I joined this 12 sweaters in 2012 group on Ravelry, and I want to do much better than I did with 11 in 2011.  If I can get a sweater a month done, I will be so happy, and very, very warm.

Ella: I think you need a coat

Me: No, I need a sweater

Ella: I mean a sweater-coat.  Trust me, you will like it.

Me: It has to match my personality.  It has to be fun and colorful.  It has to be sassy and fashionable.  It has to be girly.  It has to match my pretty little high heel shoes

Ella: I'm PINK.... well that is if you want me to be.

Me: Where have you been all my life?

Ella: I've been reinvented

Me: So when can I meet you?

Ella:  Sometime mid-January

Me: Do I really have to wait that long?  Why are you being elusive?

Ella: Every woman has to keep a secret to herself

Me: Well, I can't wait to meet you

Ella:  I will be here before you know it! Here is my spokesperson.  I was created by Noni Designs.  You should check out their blog soon.  They have a lot of fun things going on over there.  Not to mention things to do with soft, squishy yarn.  Pretty soon there will be clones of me, but I want you to know that we are good friends from the very start.

Me:  I'm going to call you my NYC Ella.

NYC Ella:  I love that name. I look forward to meeting you in a New York minute. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Scrunchable sparkles

I had a wonderful knitting weekend. I went to my friend Ceci's house for a knitting dinner. She has such a beautiful Christmas tree filled with miniature knitted sweaters, mittens, and socks. It makes me wish I had a few Barbie Dolls waiting to wear those sweaters.

While I was there, I taught a new knitter how to do the long tail cast on, and the knit stitch. She learned fairly quickly. Yaaaaaay! Another knitter is born. So, while I was showing her the basics of casting on, I started my Scrunchable Cowl. But I ran into some trouble. By the third row, I realized I was making a möbius cowl. Hmmmm. I guess I am not allowed to knit circular patterns while teaching. So, I quickly pulled out the stitches. I did not want to get too attached.

I immediately cast on again and did my garter stitch starter rows. I usually don't like garter stitch, but for the purpose of this pattern, I could deal with a few rows of it. I crossed my first cable row, then the magic started to happen. I added the Crystal yarn and the bling started to make me smile. I'm so excited to make this cowl. Here is my progress so far.

Next on the needles : A hat for my freezing head. It was 30 degrees out this morning.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Looking Forward

I was reminded this week about how important it is to stay true to your heart. 

I love knitting.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't readily go into stores and buy sweaters.  They know that I inspect, look at fiber content, look at construction, look at drape, see if it itches, and still complain about the price.  I would even gladly pay more for yarn, just for the shear pleasure of knitting the sweater.  I stare at knitwear as I am traveling and start to pick it apart in my head.  I may have caught a few people looking at me as if to say "What are you looking at?".  I just smile and say "Beautiful sweater".  That warms up the New York attitude almost immediately. 

So, in my head I have a ton of sweaters I want to knit.  As well as hats, cowls, baby items, gloves, mittens...oh the list goes on and on.  One time, I tried to write it all down and gave myself a headache because I was frustrated as to what needed finishing first.  There is sometimes a battle.  Do I go out and be sociable today?  Or..... do I snuggle up with some yarn on the couch and watch a movie?  If I spend an hour having a glass of wine at a bar with my non-knitting friends, how many stitches could I have gotten done if I were drinking with a knitting friend who wouldn't look at me weird when I pulled out my Mmmmmalabrigo?

I was perusing through my emails, while I was browsing the bookstore for new knitting books.  I came across a very personable email from someone I really didn't know.  She has been following my blog for quite some time, and is enchanted with my writing style and my photos.  At this point I was floored, because sometimes I think I can just babble on for days.  But in hindsight, reading older posts have even made me chuckle.  To make the long story short, she has a project that she would like me to be a part of. It involves a new sweater, lots of pretty colors, and lots of blogging about my day to day adventures with my new knitted friend as she grows. 

So, basically I do what I love to do (make sweaters), write about it, someone in the internets finds what I love to do just as intriguing as I do, and wants me to continue doing what I love to do, just because she loves it too.  Somehow, I feel touched by an angel.  I live in a society where everything happens at the speed of light.  People get married and have kids faster than the time it takes to figure out what drives a person's wants and desires.  People who don't understand my craft crack jokes, but when their head is freezing or their fingers are about to fall off they beg for a hat or mittens.  And this one woman actually took the time to read about a portion of my life, and she gets it.  She gets how calm and exciting knitting can be at the same time.  She gets how there is such an urgency in my fingers to knit that I want to get everything off the needles just to make space for this new project.  She understands that there is nothing wrong with buying another skein of yarn, even if I still have about 50 miles worth in stash already.  Thank God!  Someone gets it!

Having said all that, I have a few plans for the upcoming year.
I will definitely knit this sweater project, and keep my audience updated on the progress, as well as show it off to as many people in this world who want to see it.
I will frequent more LYS knit nights, because the couch does get boring sometimes. (And the LYS serves wine and Lambic)
I have joined the 12 sweaters in 2012 group on Ravelry, because I want to finish these sweaters and start wearing them already!
I will take pictures of more store sweaters, even if they are acrylic, and redesign them to my yummy wooly heart's content.
I will give the naysayers the side-eye and happily go back into my knitting zone.  I am making knitted fashion for crying out loud!  I need to get it off the needles and pair it up with some skinny jeans and heels. 
Oh, and did I mention I am going to start sewing too?  More on that after Christmas. 

The moral of today's story is..... do what you love, and God will send someone or something into your life to enable you to do more of what you love.  This is that sweet spot where new ideas are born and new pathways are made.

To all my new followers, who have said that I inspire them..... I thank you for your kindness and for reaching out to me.  I will try my best to make your time on my blog worthwhile, and keep things fresh and interesting.  And, for the love of Mary, don't think that you can just make a sweater on the fly without swatching.  I know I do it, but don't follow me.  Please!  LOL!  After you finish a few sweaters, unravel those swatches and make a striped colorwork hat. 

Woops...I almost forgot a picture.  Here are my Thermal Mitts in their current state. I elongated the cuff to double the amount of rows the pattern called for.  At this point, I have already started the thumb increases, but have not separated it from the body of the mitt as yet.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Knitting in the city

On Monday night, I attended a knitting focus group at La Casita. I said hello to the moderator, then I saw her name and almost fainted. Trisha Malcolm, Editor in Chief of Vogue Knitting Magazine, and author of various knitting books in my library, wanted to know my opinion about knitting and yarn. I was floored. But, I played it off really cool with my big smile.

I can't go into detail about what was said in the focus group. But, I can show you the lovely gift that was given to us, made with the yarn their team was doing the research for. These fingerless gloves are just my style, and they are so warm. Warmer than the finest Merino wool. Oooooh. I wish I could tell you what the fiber content is.

So, I decided to buy yarn today, because I want to make a sparkly black cowl to match a coat that I have. I bought Cascade 220 Superwash in a really dark gray color. I also bought this sequined cotton polyester blend called Crystal from S. Charles Collezione. My intent is to make the scrunchable cowl because its easy to make, and I already have the pattern.

I have a long list of knitted winter accessories in various stages of completion, and every time I walk outside in the cold, I am reminded of how quickly I need to finish them. I will keep you posted.

Now, for the best part. Pictures!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nakniswemo Thoughts

So, I have finally had time to recover from the manic knitting fit this past week. For 3 nights I got very little sleep. I was able to do 2 sleeves simultaneously in 2 days. That's the fastest I ever knit sleeves.

On the last day, I was playing a mind game and my body started to act weird. I was on the bus, coming home from work and had less than 20 rows to go on the sleeves. All of a sudden I started to feel hot and nauseous at the same time. I started to sweat, but kept thinking "you're almost there. Don't give up now". So, I put the knitting down, and took a nap for about 20 minutes. I am sure I could have knit at least 2 rows in those 20 minutes, but I needed to separate myself from the task. The adrenaline in my body was throwing off my chemistry.

I got home with 16 rows to go. I tuned everything out and just knit with lightning speed. I finished my sweater at 11:47 pm. Just in time. But now, my right shoulder hurts from my body tensing up under pressure. I didn't wanna see another ball of yarn for at least a week.
The next morning it was 37 degrees out, and I thought maybe it's time for a hat and gloves. Today, I forgot I had knitting group. I ran into a random store in the fashion district and picked up needles and a wool silk blend of yarn. Here is the beginning of my Cozy Thermal Mitts. I am going to make Thermis to go along with it.