Archive for February, 2008

Cupcake Festival

February 28, 2008

My local supermarket had a “Cupcake Festival” earlier this month. What this really means is that they had a sale on cupcakes.

During this bizarre February in which we’ve had both snow and an almost 70 degree day in the same week, who am I to resist the charm of such an event? In the interest of morale I could do with any sort of Cupcake Festival on a regular basis.

Cupcake Festival

Felting Infatuation and the Fuzzy Feet

February 25, 2008

Felted Swatch
Originally uploaded by fairgirlBefore I cast on for my first pair of Fuzzy Feet I, of course, knit a gauge swatch and felted it. It took three washes to get the swatch suitably felted. Now I can see why people are so into felting – it is a little like magic.  Into the machine goes a floppy swatch and out comes a fuzzy piece of fabric.

I particularly like the how the color of the yarn became more lush after felting. I must admit that I have been so charmed by the felted swatch that it has been roaming around my house so I can admire it in the course of my day. The picture does not do the color justice. The yarn is Lamb’s Pride Worsted in Mulberry.

After the successful swatch experiment I cast on for the first pair of Fuzzy Feet. However, once I realized that my beloved SIL would not be visiting this month, the pressure to complete the pair of Fuzzy Feet was off and progress stalled.

Actually progress also stalled because the first slipper is turning out funny looking. So funny looking in fact that I am too embarrassed to post a picture. On the other hand, it should be noted that since this is the first “sock” I have ever knitted (if you do not count little baby booties) and I am not exactly sure what it is supposed to look like.

Part of the intent of this blog is to chronicle various knitting “firsts” for me. Admittedly I did expect these firsts to be a little more successful.

 

How I Got My Knitting Mojo Back – Part II

February 18, 2008

December 2007 094
Originally uploaded by fairgirl

Today is a glorious spring-like day. On Saturday I was wearing thermals. Today I am considering sitting out on the deck.

Once the Calorimetry was done I felt the urge to knit. Well, knit anything other than a hat. One of my good friends is a Christmas season baby and who loves everything to do with Christmas. As a gift I decided to knit him and his partner each a mini sweater out of Joelle Hoverson’s Last-Minute Knitted Gifts book. They have a fantastic Christmas tree every year and I wanted to add some hand-knitted love to it.

The little sweater pieces knitted up quickly and were completely adorable. This really got my mojo going. However, I found the yoke to be more time consuming than I expected so I only had time to finish one little sweater. Because the project was so cute I did not let this dampen my spirits. Then to complete the project I made a clothes hanger out of a pipe cleaner to hang it on as the book suggests. So cute!

The whole thing was very charming. I loved knitting up the little sweater and was somewhat challenged by it. This, I think, is key to the maintaining of my knitting mojo. When I feel I am not getting anywhere on a project I need to cast on a small and slightly challenging project to keep the mojo going. So I am generally a process knitter with some instant gratification issues. There are worse things.

You Can Never Have Too Many Cupcakes

February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Cupcakes

Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2008

Another unrelated cupcake picture.

How I Got My Knitting Mojo Back – Part I

February 13, 2008

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Originally uploaded by fairgirl

For us Christmas does not end until the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th. The days between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are generally my favorite of the Christmas season. We spend time relaxing, enjoying our presents and the decorations, and eating wonderful leftovers. What I really enjoy is sitting in the living room and knitting by the glow of the Christmas tree. However, the unfinished hats were marring this time.

Calorimetry
After some roaming about Ravelry I decided to be proactive and try to take my mojo back. At Rhineback I had purchased some yarn from Spirit Trail Fiberworks to make a Calorimetry. As many people know, Calorimetry is a wintery headband made using short rows. The designer is Kathryn Schoendorf. It was in the Winter 2006 issue of Knitty. It is a popular pattern and I can see why. It is a quick knit with an interesting construction.
Right after Christmas day I did a gauge swatch. Based on the swatch I cast on 80 stitches and started. Well, started is an understatement. It was my first time doing short rows and I must admit that when I read the pattern I could not envision how this was going to work out. That just made it all the more interesting. The more I knit the more fascinated I became with whether this project was going to turn out right. It was like a good mystery that you just cannot put down because you are enjoying it so much and want desperately to get to the end to see how it all works out. I only stopped that night because I was tired and feared that I would make a mistake.
The next evening we went to dinner at my parents’. Of course the project came along and I continued knitting with great anticipation of completing it. What I found particularly interesting was that as it was on the needles it just did not look like what I thought it would. I just could not tell if it was going to be the right shape. In fact, until I actually finished casting off, I was not sure if I had done it right.
That night at my parents’ when I finished I was elated. I felt the mojo surging through me. It did turn out right and it was adorable. I was wicked impressed with the shaping. It is just amazing what shapes you can make with a pair of knitting needles.
My gauge was a little off, I should have cast on a few more stitches. But Mom gave me a safety pin, which bridged the little gap, and I wore it on the walk home. Since then I take every opportunity to wear it.

How I Lost My Knitting Mojo – Part II

February 11, 2008

Misti Alpaca Chunky

The lovely Misti Alpaca Chunky my Mom rejected.

The loss of mojo might have been averted had I been making any progress on the other Christmas presents.  Sadly, I was not. 

Mom’s Scarf

One afternoon my Mom and I were in Downtown Yarns.  They happened to have a couple of skeins of the purple Misti Alpaca Chunky I had already bought with the intention of making her a scarf with a hood.  I sidled up to her with a skein in hand and casually asked her if she liked the yarn.  She glanced and it and said, “No.”  “You didn’t even feel how soft it is,” I said.  She touched it and said, “It’s not bad.”  All righteee.  Since I was not about to spend hours knitting something for Mom in a yarn she was not interested in and I did not have any other yarn in my stash that I thought would be appropriate, the scarf was off the list. 

Fuzzy Feet    

Based on the positive talk over at Ravelry I was looking forward to doing a bunch of pairs of Theresa Vinson Stenersen’s Fuzzy Feet from Knitty.  My plan was that I would give them as gifts unfelted and then the recipients would felt them at our house.  In particular, my in-laws were coming for a visit so I thought it would be fun to give both my MIL and SIL Fuzzy Feet during their visit so that we could felt them together. 

Anyway, I had the plan, the pattern and the yarn.  But no needles.  It was October and I wasn’t worried.  In my daily travels I figured I would just pick them up.  Except that did not happen.  Actually, I began to wonder if everyone was knitting these slippers because every yarn store I went to was out of the size I needed.  Unfortunately I finally found the needles when my in-laws were here so there was no time to actually make the slippers.  Fortunately, I found them at Seaport Yarn.  The store had on display a pair of felted slippers and my MIL thought they were nifty.  That made me feel better because I think she will enjoy them when she does finally get them. 

Conclusion 

Despite what seemed like a good plan in October and hours of knitting, on Christmas day not one person on my knitted gift list actually received a knitted gift.  My BIL’s hat was finished but he was unable to visit so he would get his gift after Christmas.  Yup, the knitting mojo was gone.         

How I Lost My Knitting Mojo – Part I

February 8, 2008

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Even though one of my favorite things to do is to give people I love knitted items, I have been oddly immune from the terror that is “Christmas Knitting Mania.”  For the Christmas that just passed I decided early in the fall to knit a few hats, a scarf, and some Fuzzy Feet felted slippers from Knitty as Christmas gifts. 

In particular, I wanted to knit my Hub a hat as I had never knitted him anything.  We went off to Patricia’s Yarns and he picked out some lovely masculine Rowan Coccoon.  My plan was to make hats for Hub, his brother, and a friend out of this yarn.  At one point I was somewhat delusional and wanted to make a hat for Hub’s Dad also.  I was busy envisioning a really nice picture of Hub, his brother, and Dad together in knitted hats.  Luckily Hub gently reminded me that his Dad spends much of the year in Florida and does not need a hat.

I really enjoy knitting hats and can crank them out.  I expected to have all the hats finished by the end of October.   Hub and I discussed what he wanted.  The hat was to have some ribbing with the rest in stockinette.  He also wanted a stripe.  Easy enough, or so I thought.  After I measured his head and did a gauge swatch I cast on 100 stitches and did the ribbing.  Hub tried the completed part on and advised that it needed to be just a little bit smaller with less ribbing.  So I frogged it and cast on 96 stitches to begin again.  I was almost done and Hub tried it on.  It was too big so I frogged back and began the  decreases earlier but when I ripped back and picked up the stitches I missed one so I ended up frogging back again.  Next thing I knew I was in the middle of a vicious cycle, I would be almost done with the hat when I would discover something wrong with it.  Parts of that hat were frogged so many times that I feared the yarn was going to felt from all the frogging.  Finally I just knit one of the hats intended to be a gift because I felt the need to just knit a hat and be done with it.  But it was too late, the knitting mojo was gone.  I kept knitting Hub’s hat and kept having to frog back because of some design issue or goofy mistake. 

From October to the end of December I became obsessed with knitting Hub the perfect hat.  In that time I knit a few small items but just could not enjoy the process like I usually do.  All my knitting energy was focused on finishing that hat.  It was finally completed to Hub’s  specifications on January 2nd.  Hub declared it perfect and I was both happy and relieved.  Immediately I cast on for the third hat intended as a gift.  I cast on 100 stitches  and overall intended to make it a little larger than Hub’s hat.  It was finished in two days.  I loved every stitch.  The mojo was back. 

Hub tried the hat on for me and, well, he liked it.  He liked it better than the hat I had make specifically for him.  He wanted to know if he could have that one instead.  Since my goal had always been to make him a hat he would love, I said “yes.”    

Everyone loves cupcakes

February 6, 2008

Cupcakes!

Yet Another Knitting Blog

February 5, 2008

I admit it, I am not one to jump on bandwagons.  Indeed, I am not one to usually act without thinking things through.  So this leaves me as the last knitter in the free world with access to a computer to start a blog.  When I went to see the the Yarn Harlot last year and she asked how many people had blogs I was stunned by the number.  Apparently I was one of the few blogless knitters there.  This piqued my interest but did not make me reconsider my blogless state.  No, it was Ravelry that finally  pushed me into considering a blog.  Why?  Because it made me finally open a Flickr account and learn to do all sorts of computer type things I had never done before.  A blog seemed a short technological step and still I did not take the plunge.  Then my good friend Vin came up with the blog name.  Still no blog from me. 

What finally pushed me into starting this blog was Superbowl Sunday.  Ever since the Buffalo Bills broke my heart, I have had no time for football.  Also, as I know of at least three yarn stores having sales and/or events on Superbowl Sunday, game day seems to have become some sort of underground knitting holiday.   As I sat waiting for commercials and eating cupcakes, finally I fired up the computer and set up an account.  Lest, anyone think my technological skills have progressed too far, I cannot get Flickr to cooperate to add a picture.  Well at least I started!