Saturday, December 22, 2007

One for the Handknit Hall of Fame.

I survived another semester.

I always hate how when you turn in your last exam, there's never confetti & balloons and people serving cake. It feels like such a big deal to me, yet the proctors rarely even look me in the eye. That's ok, I'll find my own cake.

I'm back home in Tennessee for the holidays and knitting away. I've finished up a few things but forgot to pack my camera cord, so pictures will have to wait.

Here's a neat story. Al Gore is my hometown hero. Everyone loves him. Some people from my community went to Norway to support him when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize recently. They decided to take him a scarf from my church's shawl ministry - after all, who needs more prayer than a man who is trying to save the world & has won an Emmy, an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize in the past year? Turns out, they took him one that I had contributed!! He's definitely a man that I have admired for many, many years and I deeply respect the work that he's doing now. It's really cool to know that if only for a brief moment, he held one of my handknits.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Eyelet Cardigan

I started this sweater in August when I was home in Tennessee for a few weeks. Mom and I went yarn shopping, and they had this sweater knit up in this color on a model. I fell in love with it instantly and had to make it - in that exact colorway. (Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton in Pickle) Of course, that yarn store was out of my color. So, I called my trusty yarn store in Lansing, and they shipped the yarn out to me immediately.

I was so excited. I cast on immediately, and then the project went on the back burner when school started. I need instant gratification during the semester, it seems. I finally finished it a few weeks ago, and I really like the turnout, although I have something funky going on at the sleeves that needs some repairs. It's too wide & likes to fall off the shoulders a lot. The 80's Flashdance look is so out right now.

I made some modifications from the original pattern. The sleeves and the body were supposed to be cropped, but I made the body long enough to cover my belly and the sleeves are 3/4 length.
I used wooden buttons that I picked up from Jo-Ann's. They aren't anything too special, but I figured that the eyelet pattern had enough "umph" to handle plain buttons. Plus, sometimes simple is better.

Ironically, I'm currently working on Tomato and it's in the exact same color, only a different yarn. Apparently I really, really like green lately.

Final Specs:
Blue Sky Alpacas Eyelet Cardigan, $4.50
Yarn: 7 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton, $66.50
Needles: Size 7 circs
Time: August-November off & on knitting

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thankgiving & Knitting Go Hand In Hand

Warning: Seriously Picture-Heavy Post. Sorry!

I've been offline for the last week and loved every minute of it. My trip home for Thanksgiving was all that I could have wanted and more. I realize how much I miss my family when I go back home. I cried all the way until Indiana on the drive back today. *sniff*

Anyway! There's been knitting. Whole days of movie marathons with the fam allow for plenty of knitting time. There are now officially enough baby hats for all the babies that are expected to be born (in my hometown) in the month of December.

For all these hats, I used variations of this pattern and then just kinda made changes as I felt like it when knitting. For the most part, these hats are all made out of stash Caron Simply Soft (my favorite-est acrylic yarn). However, there's a little Knit Pick Shine Worsted and Classic Elite Premiere thrown in for good measure.

Also, I know that the black and yellow "bee look" might be a little disturbing to some people out there. However, black & gold are the high school colors, so they make a little more sense when put into that light. My little sister has already requested one the grandson of one of her teachers.

I also finished up two more scarves that have been my bedside knitting for awhile.

Yarn: Wal-Mart No Boundaries Yarn, 2 skeins
Pattern: Plain old garter stitch - cast on about 20 and go!
Needles: Size 13
Time: About two months of just looking at it resting in the knitting basket, about 6 hours of actual knitting time
Cost: Gift yarn - Free!

Before we all snicker & laugh at the Wal-Mart yarn, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I don't shop there, but my mom sent this to me in a care package last spring. It's really soft & has a very pretty sheen. If I didn't live in the middle of Siberia, I'd actually keep this one for myself. It's just too thin to be useful here in Michigan.

Pattern: One-Row Handspun Scarf, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Free
Yarn: Adrienne Vittadini Nadia, 4 skeins - $11 (on sale!!)
Needles: Size 10.5
Time: About 1 month of travel knitting

This is another scarf that's going to the shawl ministry. It's very pretty, but just not quite the right color for my winter coat.

On a funny note, I posted this up on Ravelry earlier tonight and I went back to check something about 5 minutes later, and someone had already "favorited" it. Aww.. I feel special.

Believe it or not, there's actually more pictures to show, but they are just going to have to be brought out at a later date. I'm pooped from all the traveling. I hope that everyone else's Thanksgivings were as wonderful as mine.

(My family! Aren't they cute?)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Small little projects..

I spent today going through my yarn and organizing it. It's nice to re-remember what all I have. Even though I'm on Ravelry, I don't have all my stash uploaded because I'm just plain lazy.

One of the things that I did was to put all my remnant yarns in one central location. That's what I use when I'm making baby hats, so having the colors all together can let me see exactly what it is that I have to work with. After doing that, I made a hat:

Pattern: My favorite trusty Basic Knit Hat, Free
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy, Leftover from another project
Needles: Size 7 DPNs
Time: 2 hours

I'm in the Monthly Dishcloth KAL group, although I can't remember the last time that I actually did the KAL. One of the members just lost her husband so the group has banded together to make her an afghan. Every one is supposed to make the same heart cloth in whatever cotton they have laying around.. so I did.

Pattern: Victoria's Heart Pattern, Free
Yarn: SnC, Robin's Egg Blue; less than $1
Needles: Size 6 straights
Time: About 1.5 hours

I'm going home for Thanksgiving next Friday (YAAAAY!!!), and I'm hoping to have a few more hats done to deliver before then. Right now I've only made 3 newborn caps since my last delivery in August, and three just doesn't seem like too much.

I've been knitting for me a little too much and not knitting for others as much as I should. On that note, I'm hoping to debut my first completed handmade sweater this week!! I just have one more section of ribbing to go. The best part about it?? It fits.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Me v. the Postman, Round 1

The post office refuses to leave things at my door, so if I miss the mailman then I have to go to the main post office to pick it up. Of course, that does not work at all with my school schedule, so if I'm expecting a package, I try my best to be home so that I can avoid that hassle.

I had a knit picks order that was supposed to arrive on Saturday (according to USPS tracking). It didn't. I watched the mailman drive away and I was left with no yarn. I was a little sad to say the least. I'm planning to make the Tomato sweater by Wendy Bernard and I really just wanted to play with the yarn. (Don't lie - you all know that feeling!)

This morning, I rushed home after my morning at school for the sole purpose of getting that dang package. I had my windows open so that I could see then the mail truck drove up. He arrived. He left. No package!! I went out to check my mailbox & there was a card telling me that I could pick up my precious yarn at 7:30 the next morning.

The guy never even bothered to knock on my door! Angry and desperately jonesing for a yarn fix, I ran back to my apartment to grab my car keys and I chased him down the road. That's right - it was me versus the mail truck, and I was determined to win. He finally stopped about a half mile down the road and I zipped my little Civic in behind him and whipped out the little orange "you have a package" card. He looked at me like I was a crazy woman, but he handed the yarny goodness over to me. He mumbled something to me about "just missing me" and I politely said, "I guess so."

So, needless to say, I'm now the neighborhood freak who stalks the postal workers. I am not sure that I'm ever going to be able to get deliveries again. I'm definitely on the blacklist. However, the yarn was all worth it.

I wound up with some Shine Worsted on sale, so the sweater is costing me less than $25 to complete. Plus, there was a miscount & they sent me one more skein than was ordered. Yay for free yarn!!

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Another Baby Cap

I got a little excited about the instant gratification from the baby hat the other night, so I made another one. I made some pattern modifications, so mine is a little different from the original. I used a thicker yarn and bigger needles, and left off the i-cord tie. Although it was oh-so-cute cute, I was low on leftover yarn, so I just bound off and left it naked at the top.

It was a nice project.. not too mindless with the color changes, but not too complex that I couldn't watch The Way We Were on OnDemand. (Moment of silence for such a great movie!)

Pattern: Errsie's Easy Beanie, Free
Yarn: Remnant Caron Simply Soft in Orchid & Iris
Needles: Size 7 circs
Time: Two evenings of TV knitting

It's way too big for it to go with the other newborn cap donations, so I'm not sure where this hat is eventually going to find a home. For now, it's just going in the closet, but I'm sure a worthwhile cause will find me. I really like the Afghans for Afghans idea, but they request that you send only wool items - and this baby is 100% acrylic. So, I'll just be patient in finding this cap a new home.

**Edited to remove the link to the pattern per the author's request, as she's now charging $3.00 for it & doesn't want people to be able to access it for free. I apologize for this. When I found the pattern on ravelry, it was listed as being a free pattern. If you want to use it for free, you'll need to contact her directly.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A fun way to spend a Saturday..

I went to the Ann Arbor Fiber Expo today with Amy. We got there bright & early to make sure that we got the best finds.. and we did! I was really excited to see all the fuzzy animals. They had llamas, alpacas and bunnies - what could be better??

When I got home, I started to kinda feel bad about all my recent yarn purchases, so I decided to whip up a baby hat from my stash as my act of attrition.

Project Specs:
TLL Basic Knit Hat Pattern, Free
Yarn: Universal Yarn, Classic Worsted Long Print, Color 9728
Needles: Size 7 circs
Time: Two episodes of Law & Order SVU
Total Cost: Stash yarn, baby!

Friday, October 26, 2007

She's alive!

Yay for surviving this past week. My mock trial went well and the midterm is over. I used to think that never having midterms in law school was a terrible thing. Your entire grade for the semester is based off of one exam. Too much pressure, right? Wrong. Trying to find time in the middle of the semester to study for an exam is even worse. There's definitely a reason why law school is set up the way it is - and that reason was apparent this week.

The exam was horrible. The prof had led us to believe that it was going to be open note, and less than 24 hours before the exam, we got emails to the contrary. Plus, there was a change in format. So not cool! The exam was still being written about 15 minutes before the test, and it was so obvious while we were taking it. I can't tell you the number of times I had to make notations such as, "Assuming that X is true.." because the questions were written so haphazardly. I had this prof last year and thought she hung the moon. Not so much this year. I'm very disappointed.

Anyway, I have a FO to show! It isn't much, but it has been turned over to the FO pile, so I feel that's an accomplishment in itself.

This was my "knit a few rows at night in bed" project. I got the yarn on sale at my LYS and thought that I could use it to make something my church's shawl ministry. There's a lack of things for teenagers and men, so I thought I could turn this into something cute for a pre-teen with the bright candy apple green color.

I used Rio de la Plata Faded. It's a thick and thin yarn, so I wanted the scarf to have a messy look but I didn't want it to be the typical ribbing or garter stitch. Also, because the yarn has so much texture variations, I also knew that I couldn't have something complicated. So, I picked this little beauty!

I'm pleaded with the end result. I think it looks like some of those "haphazard" scarves that seem to be trendy lately. But, I'm even more pleased that I've actually been knitting and have something to show for it!

Final Specs:
Pattern: Sinful Knitted Scarf, Free
Yarn: Rio de la Plata Faded, 2 hanks, $10 total
Needles: Size 10.5 addi turbos
Time: About two weeks of bedtime knitting

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Contest Winners & Thank yous

I'm proud to announce the winners in my first ever blog contest! In no particular order:

I put everyone's name in a list, and then used a list randomizer to sort it. The first few names were the winners. Congrats ladies!

And to everyone else who entered the contest - thank you so much. You have absolutely no idea how much it meant to me to read all your inspiring stories. It made me realize that I can get through whatever it is that I'm facing, and do it with grace. You are all inspirations to me.

Also, BIG, BIG shoutouts to Jen and Amy who sent me the cutest care packages when I was down in the dumps. I love you guys. You're the greatest. (I would post pictures, but I tore into the packages like I was a 12 year old at Christmas.)

Update: It will likely be awhile before my next post. I'm in the middle of crunch time at school. I have a mock trial this weekend, a mid term next week, a major paper due after that, and somewhere in there I have to take the ethics portion of the bar. (Insert favorite lawyer/ethics joke here!) Plus, I still have to find a job for next summer.

I sent out 82 resumes this week in addition to the ones that have already went out in the past weeks. 82! Between resume paper and the stamps, those suckers get costly. Don't they know they are dipping into my yarn budget?!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A small little FO

This past week was the lightest one I've had this semester, and I loved every minute of it. I was home from the library by 11:00PM almost every night, and when I did come home - I brought zero (count them - ZERO!) law books home with me. It was fabulous!

I actually got to do some knitting and I was much happier because if it. I worked on a sweater for me and I finished up the last i-cord on a baby hat. I used some of the leftovers from the Tulip Sweater kit. I know that I've raved about Dream in Color yarn before, but if you're ever in a position to use it, do it! It's slightly pricey, but worth every single penny of it. The variegations are beautifully subtle and it's so soft & cushy. I have some left overs in other colors too, so I'll probably make at least another baby hat out of that.

Final Specs:
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy
Pattern: Last Minute Knitted Gifts, Children's Cotton Hat
Needles: Size 7 double points
Cost: Umm.. all stash yarns, so free??

P.S. Don't forget to enter my contest! Be sure that you leave me a way to contact you back in case you win.

P.P.S. Go over to Sarah's blog and wish her a happy birthday on Monday. She's one of the most wonderful women that I know and deserves a lot of birthday shout outs on her big day.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lemons into Lemonade - A Contest!

First off, thank you all for your lovely comments to me about the loss in my family. Your positive spirits mean more to me than you know. It's so reassuring to know that people out there that I've never met in real life can care so much. (I've chosen not to address nor delete the negative comment from an anonymous reader, and I'm still allowing anonymous comments from now on hoping that it doesn't happen again.)

So, now that I have a small fortune worth of secret pal stuff bought and paid for (and non-refundable), I wondered what to do with it. I decided to turn lemons into lemonade and have a contest. All you have to do is leave a comment about something that you did to turn a bad situation into a positive one & you're entered. You can talk about something that happened to yourself, or something that you helped another person deal with in their own life. It's the positive karma that I'm looking to read about.

However, there's a catch. I'm tired of hearing about rules, so there are no rules for the contest! If I think that your story is just plain awesome - you're going to get more entries. If you post about it on your blog - more entries. Just let me know! The point is that I'd love to hear your stories about the goodness that surrounds us. You can definitely leave an anonymous comment, but if you want to win, make sure that you leave me contact information too.

I might pick one, two or ten winners. I'm not sure just yet, but since there are no rules, I can make it up as I go. I'm not going to tell you exactly what's in those packages, but let me just say that one of the items rhymes with Naddie Lurbos.

Free yarn! Free needles! Free Gadgets! Oh my.

The contest ends on or about October 12th because I just like that date.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Secret Pal

I got kicked out of secret pal for not blogging. I didn't blog because I haven't knit. At all. However, I did send things to my pal and apparently that doesn't count. At all. I did comment on my pal's blog from time to time and apparently that doesn't count. At all. I did send her emails from time to time (which she sometimes would respond to) and apparently that doesn't count. At all. All that matters is that I blog. Nothing else.

Life lately has been chaotic, and apparently I was supposed to blog about nothing. However, I hate reading that. I like to read posts with pictures, a pattern, and yarn specifications. I like to read happy posts about pretty projects.

No one wants to read about me being stressed out with school. No one wants to read about how not one, but two, family members died this weekend and I'm stuck in Michigan away from those that I care about most. That just brings down your day. People go to knitting blogs to read about knitting. And I just simply haven't been knitting.

I think the part that stings the most about being kicked out of Secret Pal is that they just don't care that I was trying. I sent a gift a few weeks ago, and I actually sent one this morning before I was forcibly removed. My pal has now been instructed to mark the gift as returned. I figured that I had time to either 1. Blog about nothing, or 2. Send some gifts. Apparently, I chose the wrong option. Silly me. I would have thought that a present was better than a silly email any day.

I had a great pal. She was so kind and understanding. However, I will not sign up for this again. Any group of women who can't understand that life sometimes happens isn't a group of women that I want to be associated with any longer. Additionally, anyone who thinks that blogging is the most important thing in life when you're faced with TWO unexpected deaths in your family while you're 600 miles away - isn't someone that I want to be associated with either.

So Secret Pal, here's your update. I hope the rest of you have a great day.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Knitting Absence.

I haven't knit a stitch in more than a week. I think I'm in withdrawal.

Classes started back last week, and knitting time went from "lots & lots" to "knitting?? what's that?" Hopefully, I'll be into a schedule again soon so that I can actually squeeze in some therapeutic knitting. There's just something about it that takes me to a happy place, no matter how stressed out I am. Between taking way too many credit hours, and trying to get The Boyfriend's stuff out of my place (remember that??) and into a place of his own, I'm a tad bit overextended at the moment.

I've nearly finished my first adult sweater. It didn't come out quite as good as I would have hoped. It looks a little frumpy, so I might do a rip & redo at a later date. However, right now I'm stuck on the last & final step. I need to graft live stitches onto a stockinette panel and make it look seamless. I'm sure this has a fancy name, but I don't know what it's called, and therefore when I'm googling for answers, I'm coming up with nothing. Any help would be appreciated.

I have lots to blog about later. I have an awesome secret pal who sent me some cool stuff, I won a knitting book, I won some scrapbooking supplies, and I won some yarn for knitting Greensburg squares. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Details to come.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In search of advice..

So, I'm at home in Tennessee & loving every minute of it. I've been busy knitting away, but since it's my first adult sized sweater, there's really no progress to report. (Plus, who wants to see a giant pile of black stockinette stich? BORING!) I'm hoping to be finished by the end of the week. I'm just working on the trim now, and I have another pocket to sew on. It's so exciting!

Anyway, I'm hoping to get some input from you guys. Here's the situation: since starting law school, I've become very selfish with my time. It's just the nature of the program - you have very little "free" time, and even then they guilt you into doing something law related. Anyway, I don't have time to give back to my community like I used to, and knitting things for charity is the closest I get anymore.

My church at home does a Shawl Ministry program where I send scarves, baby hats, etc. Anyway, this past Sunday, when I brought in some new things (here and here) to add to the collection, they gave me a check. I was hesitant to take the check, so my mom took it for me. The purpose of the money is so that I can continue knitting things for the program without taking away from my own fixed, student income. However, most of the things that I've been making have been made out of my leftover stash and a few gifted items, so only rarely has it been an out of pocket expense.

I feel like taking the money makes me even more selfish, but my mom says that I need to take it and buy yarn for more projects. So, the question I've been asking myself is - do I take the money & just go out sale hunting and stretch it as far as possible, or should I stick it back in the collection plate on Sunday? (However, option #2 just puts the money back in the general fund, not with the shawl ministry.)

I'd seriously appreciate your advice on this one!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Secret Pal 11 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

Honestly, I don't really have a favorite! As long as a yarn is soft & cushy, I'm all in. I'm not too much of a yarn snob as long as it's going to be soft to the touch when it's all said and done.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

My straight needles are in a handmade needle roll, my dpns are in a vase, and my circs are currently hanging over the bar in the hall closet because they don't have a suitable home.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I've been knitting about a year and a half. For the most part, I taught myself from internet videos, with my friend Sarah filling in the gaps for me. I'd consider myself a beginner-intermediate; I've branched out beyond scarves, but I'm not brave enough to tackle lace yet.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Sorta. I have a few things on there, but it isn't really complete.

5. What's your favorite scent?

I like gardenias and jasmine. I like the softer scents.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

YES!! I'm a sucker for and and all things sweet. I like gummy candies a lot.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I like to scrapbook, although it's went by the wayside since I started knitting. I'm always up for learning new crafts. I don't spin, but I've been thinking of taking a class.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I like all kinda of music. My iPod ranges from The Pretenders to Justin Timberlake. Some of my favorites right now are John Legend & Anthony Hamilton, although once I come back from spending 3 weeks in Tennessee, I'm sure I'll be on a country kick. Moral of the story.. I really do like all kinds of music.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

I've been on a blue & green kick lately, but I really like almost all colors. I grew up in Tennessee, so I find wonderful uses for even the most obnoxious of oranges.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I live alone with my cat Jasmine, but I invite The Boyfriend to come and visit when he behaves.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Yes to all but the ponchos. I live in Michigan, so it's pretty much required by law here. For some reason, I've never really gotten on to the poncho kick.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

With the exception of all the mandatory baby stuff, I've been a sock knitting machine lately. (Well, maybe that's more like a sock yarn buying machine, but you get the picture.) And, who can say no to knitting a good scarf?

13. What are you knitting right now?

Babies & Bears sweater from Cottage Creations -- for a baby yet to be born
Lil' Red Riding Hoodie from Dominknitrix- for me!
Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts - for me again!
Chevron Socks from Sensational Knitted Socks - for me yet again!

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I've been on a kick lately with bamboo & metal circulars, but I'll use anything that isn't plastic. I don't mean to be a needle snob, but yarn on plastic does to me what nails on a chalkboard do to others.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

No. I keep trying to snag a deal on eBay but someone always outbids me at the last minute.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

Over a year.. and I've only been knitting a year and a half!

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas. I love being at home with my family & having movie marathons in our pajamas.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Besides knitting accessories? Not really.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Not really. Most of the books that I've been wanting, I have already. I don't have subscriptions to knitting magazines because of fear that my "to knit" list will increase faster than I can make things.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

Definitely! I've been trying to learn something new with each project lately. I'd love to give a try at fair isle and lace knitting.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I just started knitting socks and I'm addicted! My foot's a size 9, average width.

23. When is your birthday?

July 10.

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

I sure am! My username is Amanda.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Where Have I Been??

Wow. I'm whooped. In 5 days, I've been in 10 states, and I'm supposed to get up bright and early in the morning to drive to Tennessee. I made it back to Michigan tonight, but unfortunately my luggage didn't, so I might be putting off that trip another day. The last two hours of the trip are all on curvy highways, and I don't want to drive that at night when I'm tired. It's a really fun drive - You feel like a racecar driver on all those hills!!

I didn't check my email for several days, and I must say that I was floored by the number of comments that I've gotten in that time. I just love comments.. they really make me happy. Each and every one of them! Because of that, I always try to leave comments on someone else's blog when I read it, even if I don't have time to say something more than, "That looks pretty." There's something nice about knowing that someone reads the words that you put out there.

I have zero pictures to post, although I swear there's been knitting! I finished about half of my first adult sized sweater on the trip, although on the plane back tonight I got the sinking feeling that I might have to rip out the sleeve that's 90% done. It just seems like it's going to be waaaaay to big. I think I miscounted rows somewhere and added in one (or ten!) extra. (I've actually taken pictures, but since the sweater is made is black wool is just looks like a blob of material at the moment.) I'm pretty much spot on gauge, so I think I just flat out screwed up the pattern somewhere.

The road trip from Michigan to LA was surprisingly fun. It was nice to spend time with The Boyfriend when he wasn't studying for the bar exam, and when I wasn't trying to read for class. It made us remember why we're together in the first place. We spent three days driving, one day in LA buying him a new car, and the last day we drove up PCH and went to Malibu. He knows the way to my heart is through the beach. Five whole, uninterrupted days with each other was exactly what we needed.

Funniest experience from the road trip: On the second night we stopped in Beaver, Utah at a really nice little hotel that was recently remodeled. There was a soap dispenser in the shower for "Body, Hair, and Bath" soap. I tried to pay The Boyfriend $1 to wash his hair with it, but suddenly he was a shampoo snob & could only use my Pantene.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tulip Sweater - Check!

I realize that it seems that I've been a knitting machine lately, but in all honesty, most of the projects that I've been completing have been hanging out on the needles for awhile, just needing an hour or two of work to pass over into the "FO" pile.

For example, I got the replacement yarn for the Tulip Sweater weeks ago, and it sat on my table just mocking me for quite some time.

I finally got around to putting on the neckband and the icord tie. This sweater marked my first experience with icord. I have to say, I think it's kinda fun.. however, applied icord is just a pain in the butt. Literally, for every one stitch that you want to progress down the line, you have to knit at least 3. It takes forever!! But, it looks really nice & neat when it's all said and done.

It's all finished except for the 5 billion ends that need to be woven in - but, that's fun for another day. By the way, if you have not knit with Dream in Color yarn, you really need to! It's so soft & squishy and comes in the most amazing colors.

Final Specs:
Tulip Sweater by Lindsey Pekney from Dream in Color (included in kit)
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy (Kit from Threadbear) - $32
Needles: Size 5 & 7 circs and double points
Time: About a week of TV knitting
Total Cost: $32

Monday, July 30, 2007

Everlasting Bagstopper.

While I was out of commission because of the back problems last week, I took Sarah's advice of knitting on big needles. I decided that I'd use up some of the cotton that I've stashed, and I made the Everlasting Bagstopper from Knitty. The pattern calls for hemp, but I used Sugar n' Cream instead because that's what I had within a 3 foot radius of the couch (and that was about as far as I could move at the time).

I used 2 full balls and a partial skein in the colorway Beach Ball Blue. I ran out at the top garter stitch portion, so then I just used a partial skein of Hot Blue that I had on hand. Mine is a little shorter than the pattern version because of my yarn shortage, but I think it still does the job.

Starting Wednesday, The Boyfriend and I are driving cross-country to L.A. I'm using the bag to hold snacks in the car, and to hold my sunscreen at the beach (and we all know that I need sunscreen!)

I'm hoping to make several more of these bags. Even though I always try to bring my own to the grocery, it seems like I always collect those icky plastic bags somehow. So, if I have more, I can keep a constant stash in the car for unexpected trips to the grocery. The next time, I think I'll do a solid color on both the top and the bottom to make the edges stand out a bit more.

Just a warning to anyone who might make this -- when binding off, use a much, much larger needle. I went from a size 5 to a size 8, and the bind off was still too tight & I had to rip it out. You couldn't even get a box of cereal in it! The second time around, I used a size 11 to bind off, and it worked perfectly. They tell you to use a "larger needle" in the pattern, I just didn't realize it needed to be THAT much larger.

Another funny thing.. you can see in the knitting where I took pain meds. Somehow I got off a stitch in the pattern, and didn't realize it until a few rows up. With all the yo's and k2tog's, I knew that I'd never be able to rip it back, so I just kept it. I think it's kinda hard to pick out unless you're staring at it. Oh well.. I've yet to make a perfect knitted item, why start worrying about it now?

Final Specs:
Everlasting Bagstopper from Knitty - Free!
Yarn: Sugar n' Cream (2.5 balls variegated, 0.5 balls solid), $3.25 (on sale)
Needles: Size 5 and Size 10.5 circulars (already owned)
Total Cost: $3.25

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Buttons make the world brighter.

I feel kinda silly posting something "new" when all I've done is add buttons to things, but I just thought that they were too cute to not share. Buttons just make all things better.

The Child's Placket Neck Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts got football buttons. These little puppies were on clearance for 50 cents at JoAnn's. I was torn between footballs and baseballs, but the clearance part really threw it over the edge for me.

Next, Lillie's Little Sweater got some cute heart buttons, although they weren't on clearance, they were still only a few dollars so I swooped them up. I decided to go with the white buttons, because getting something pink would have been a little too difficult to match.

When working on a cotton bag for the beach next week (Cali - here I come!), I found the Bib O' Love from Mason Dixon Knitting. I'd kinda forgotten that I'd made it. Yay for unexpected surprises! I picked up the little fish button at Hobby Lobby. It came in a 2 pack, so now I have an orange and green one for the next bib.

Finished Specs on the Bib O' Love:
Mason Dixon Knitting (already in collection)
Yarn: Sugar n' Cream (less than one skein), Approximately $1
Needles: Size 7
Total Cost: Less than $2 including button

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I completely just jacked Sarah's idea and added a Flickr badge to my sidebar. Because I'm posting pics my WIP's on Ravelry, you might see a few things over there that I haven't posted here yet.

I also learned something kinda cool today, the more people link to your webpage, the higher your Google pagerank is. I've always tried to do links whenever possible, but now I'm going to make a special effort at it. I'm doing some blogging spring cleaning, and my next goal is to update my links on the sidebar. I've been kinda bad at it since I discovered Bloglines.

Baby Things Galore.

As much baby stuff as I've had on the needles lately, you'd think I was the one expecting the baby! I know that once the fall semester gets back going my knitting time is going to go to less than a half hour a night, so I'm trying to get some things finished early. I'm never an early bird, so this an unusual feeling for me. (No one even knows the sex of the babies yet!! That's how on top of things I am at the moment.)

This is Lillie's Little Sweater from Cottage Creations. One of my LYS's had it knit up and on display in the shop, and I just loved it. I even bought the same yarn as the sample! (Somehow their version is still cuter than mine.) It still needs some buttons, but I can't decide what color/style will look good, so I'm putting that off for awhile. Plus, it gives my mom & I an excuse to go out to the craft stores when I go home to Tennessee next month. Any suggestions for button colors & styles would be appreciated!!

I really like the yarn, although I must say that if I didn't see it knit up already, I probably wouldn't have chosen it myself. It's Universal Yarn, Inc. in Classic Worsted Long Print. I'm a sucker for self-striping yarns, so I thought I'd give it a try. It's 80% acrylic and 20% wool, it's got an amazing feel and drape to it, and it's super affordable. (About $6 for 200 yards)

Another good thing about this pattern was that for the 0-3 month size, it called for 400 yards. I got 3 skeins just to be on the safe side, but I only used about 300+ yards, and I swear that it's closer to being sized 6-9 months. There's still enough leftover for a baby hat & I can take one back and exchange at the LYS for something yummy. (They did just send out an email announcing a big shipment of Socks that Rock..)

There's a lot of suggested variations in the pattern, so if I made this again, I could make just a few changes and it would look like a completely different pattern. I think a nice neutral color would look really, really nice in this pattern.

Finished Specs:
Lillie's Little Sweater from Cottage Creations,$6
Needles: Size 7 circs and Size 7 double points (in stash)
Yarn: 2 skeins of Universal Yarn, Inc. in Classic Worsted Long Print, $6 each
Cost: $18 (with enough scrap leftover for a baby hat)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

If Your Friends Jumped Off a Bridge..

Would you do it too? For me, the answer is yes. When I was 18, my friends and I all went down to the lake and I watched a bunch of them jump off the bridge into the water. I was so scared, but I finally got up the nerve to jump. Turns out, of the hundreds and hundreds of people who have jumped off that bridge, I'm the only one to ever get hurt. I wound up breaking 2 bones in my back. Before then, I never even knew that it was possible to do such a thing.

Anyway, my back will never fully heal, and it will be broken even when I'm 85. My body's just learned to adjust, but from time to time, I do something stupid (namely not bending at the knees) and it gets hurt again. This is what happened Sunday. I've been on bedrest and pain meds since then, so I've had plenty of time to knit, yet I haven't seem to finish anything.

I have way too many WIP's, and I've been dividing my time between them - so, essentially, nothing really gets finished. I did finally take a few of the Rebuilding Greensburg blocks off the needles and get them packed up and ready to ship out. The deadline isn't until August, but I'm going to be out of town starting next week, so I thought I'd be a little proactive about it and ship them now.

I threw in two teen/adult sized hats that I had made earlier, and I also tossed in a small ball of worsted weight black yarn for seaming. I figured that would be something they couldn't get enough of. My contribution isn't much, but I'm hoping that it will help. There's one lady who's donating a whole afghan (seamed & ready to go!) made of Noro.

I didn't do a final count, but I think I wound up with about 20 squares. My squares are nothing special (most aren't even really square), but it takes the ugly ones to make the beautiful ones stand out.

There's still time to make a square if you're interested! It only takes a few hours and you can really make a dent in your scrap pile if you like.

Interesting note about the box that these are being shipped in: I'm kind of a treehugger, so I always like to reuse packaging if possible. This box has been previously used about 4 times while it was shipped back and forth between my mom and I this spring. I'd send home some charity knitting, she'd send it back with a care package. I think that it's only fitting that it get sent on to Kansas for what is likely to be its final journey.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dishcloths, Burp Cloths, and Sunburns - Oh My!

At any point in time, I have a half a zillion projects on the needles and stashed inappropriately around my apartment (and even The Boyfriend's apartment most of the time). Anyway, a few of those things finally came off the needles. Yay!

This is the DW Cloth. It's so easy & it makes for a great knit late at night when your eyes are sleepy and your brain is tired.

Surprise! It's another ballband dishcloth. I love these little suckers. They are a great way to use up scraps. There's 4 different colors of yarn going on here, and (to me anyway), it looks like it is supposed to be that way.

This is the Baby Genius Burp Cloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I really like the simple pattern - it's an easy 2 row repeat. Although you really can't tell, I actually used two different colors of yarn in this one because I was running low on the varigated. I used SnC hot blue & swimming pool and alternated every two rows. Yay for having another thing for Baby Rush 2007 completed.

Why all the cotton knitting, you ask? Well.. it's because of this:

I owe a blue million balls of SnC & I really need to use some of it up. Plus, little dishcloths and things make nice gifts. I randomly sent a small pile to my grandmother a few weeks ago, and she's now decided that I'm her favorite grandchild - a title that I've been trying to convince her of for the past 20 years.

I know this is a very picture heavy post.. but I had to share this last one. It's too funny not to! I went to my friend Shelley's wedding this weekend. It was beautiful & everyone had a great time. Anyway, on my drive back to East Lansing, I had the windows down and the sunroof open because it was such a gorgeous day. Less than 15 minutes from home, I noticed that my skin was feeling really warm. And I looked down and saw this:

I'm sunburned from driving in the car! If you look really close you can see a white line from where my bracelet was sitting higher on my wrist. Awesome. So, when I get home, The Boyfriend tells me that he thinks it's impossible that I got sunburned like that in the car. I might have gotten sun the day before since the reception was outside. I tell him that I had 3/4 length sleeves on that day, so really, it was from the car. He asks again if I was sure ...

Yup! Pretty darn sure!

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I got my Ravelry invite! If you're on it, friend me - my username is Amanda. (I have no idea how "Amanda" wasn't taken after nearly 7,000 people had signed up, but I'll take it!)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wedding Presents.

(Shelley, if you are reading this and you are not yet a Mrs., then stop now!)

When a fellow knitter gets married, you have to actually make them something. The typical gifts from Bed, Bath and Beyond just don't do the trick.

Shelley's wedding is tomorrow, so I thought that I would make her dishcloths for her kitchen. She says that it's "garden colors." Well, one person's sage is another person's spearmint, so I decided to stick with the more earthy, neutral tones.

Two of the cloths are the Ballband cloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting, one is the DW Cloth, and the others are just stitch patterns from Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns. I also made a hand towel (top picture, far right) using the pattern for the Baby Genius Burp Cloth from Mason Dixon Knitting.

I stuck the dishcloths in a basket, and wrapped it with tulle. I hope that she likes it!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The baby sweater & I are BFF's again.

The feud between me and the Child Placket-Neck Pullover has ended (mostly because I needed the needles for another project). I figured out that the best way to deal with the pattern-blooper fiasco was just to rip it out and then not use the pattern at all. From that point on, it got much easier and I was finished in no time.

I still have to find some little cute buttons to put on it. Although the pattern has buttons, it doesn't have buttonholes (?!?!) so, rather than trying to shove buttons through seed stitching, I added two real buttonholes to the neck.

One finished object for Baby Rush 2007! Yay. Would I make another one? Heck no. Love the yarn, hate the pattern confusion.

The yarn I'm using is awesome. It's hand-dyed from Woven Art, and I like the color graduations that go through it. I think it's kinda cool.

(These pictures are dark, so go here for a more accurate color.)

Final Specifications: