Sunday, March 30, 2008

What was I thinking?

I was so excited when the new came out. I always like to see what the new patterns are because of course I don't have enough projects already! Well the new Spring issue has come out and I like several of the patterns. I was most excited about the Spirogira fingerless gloves. I have long lusted after the Mermaid gloves but there is no true pattern for them. If you search around on blogs and Ravelry you'll find bits and pieces but no true step by step pattern. Spirogira is very similar and actual has a pattern I can follow! I was forced to stop all other projects and start these cuties. I first started with some gorgeous turquoise yarn I bought to make something for Horsey Girl. I was working on them when she said, "ooooh, pretty yarn. Whatcha making?" What a perfect response - she liked the yarn - my heart swelled! I responded proudly, "fingerless gloves for you sweetie!" To which she responded, "but I don't wear fingerless gloves, well, yeah." Can you hear my heart deflating? So I did what every self respecting mother would do - I shouted "you'll wear them any way!" No seriously, I didn't but I immediately pulled them off the needles, rip, rip, rip.

I still really wanted to make the gloves so looked around and saw the remaining yarn from the hat I recently made for my friend. I loved the colors so much that I threw it on the needles and started knitting away. I'm loving the pattern and loving this yarn but I knew I didn't have enough. But since it's not some fancy hand dyed but fairly standard commercial yarn I figured I'd be able to find some no problem. Right? WRONG!!! I have spent many hours now searching on the internet and calling around to LYS' looking for this yarn. It is Filatura di Crosa Zarina baby. I think I finally found a site on the internet that has it. It is hard to tell from their photo if it is actually the same colorway but I jumped in and ordered some. Hopefully it will arrive soon and be the right color. Please!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Hoppy Easter!

For those of you who celebrate Easter I hope you had a good one yesterday. We definitely did. The weather was amazing - in the low '70's - and we went out to brunch with my family, my folks and my sister, brother-in-law, my niece and nephew. The decorations were gorgeous, food was a amazing and the kids had a great time with egg hunts and lots of fun activities. The only bad part of the day was that I didn't even get 5 minutes to knit! Things were so busy and action packed. So I have a guest knitting photo today - Mom is making these great socks out of some Socks That Rock yarn she bought at Stitches. It is the basic STR pattern and they are turning out quite nicely. The yarn is soft and squishy and oddly enough there is no true heel. She was worried about this but we had Horsey Girl try them on and they fit beautifully. We should never have doubted those ladies at STR!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You Can Count on Me

When Mom and I went to Stitches West we didn't just buy yarn, we also found this great vendor who sold these gorgeous glass beads. Now I know this is a knitting blog and not a beading blog but don't click away just yet. We got the beads with a definite knitting related purpose in mind. You see several months ago my friend Judy who was my downstream pal in the first Tote Exchange sent me a kit filled with a jump ring, two long pieces of ribbon and 19 beads. I read the directions but couldn't figure out what to do with them so I gave the kit to Mom to see if she could figure it out. Of course my super Mom was quite capable of figuring it out. What Judy had sent me was a kit to make a row counter. It's really a very clever way to do things. Not only did Mom figure it out but she took it to a whole new level. She figure out that it would be even better to use a stitch marker rather than a jump ring so that you can slip it right on the needles and keep it hanging off your knitting while you work. She then went crazy and made a bunch of these little diddies to go with all her projects. You can make one with 4 beads for a 4 row repeat, 6, 8, 10 etc. and you can even make them with two sets of beads so that you can count in double digits.
Here is a photo of one that counts in to double digits. You use the colored beads to signify 1-9 and then the clear beads are for the tens. In this photo the counter is reflecting 26. So here's my tutorial on how to make these. First get a stitch marker and a long piece of thin ribbon. You fold the ribbon in half and loop the two ends through it and pull it tight. Next you take a bead and you thread the ribbon on the right through the bead from right to left and the ribbon on the left through from left to right. Then you add the next bead and repeat. So the ribbons thread back and forth from side to side through the beads. Both ribbons pass through each bead. You add as many beads as you want to make a counter that counts as high as you want. When you're done you leave a bit of space on the bottom and tie the two ribbons together. To count you just slide down the beads one at a time. I even made one on a very tiny stitch marker with very tiny beads to use as a row counter for my Monkey Socks. I used embroidery thread and had to use needles to get it through the bead holes. I love how light it is - it doesn't get in the way at all but I must admit the beads don't slide as well as they do on ribbon.
As you can see I got a bit carried away. Once you start you cant' stop. I kept thinking of projects I could use these for! Another suggestion is to make these as gifts even for non-knitters. In that case I would use the jump ring and instead of counting rows they can be used to count your blessings when you get up in the morning or before bed. It's a really fun way to get to use some beautiful beads as well.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Monkeying Around

The Clapotis KAL has set a deadline of March 31st to finish so what do I do? Throw myself in to working on my clappy? Focus and finish? NO - I felt an incredible urge to start something new of course. So I wound up the Loopy Legends Janice's Sunshine and stared at it. What to make, what to make. It IS sock yarn but that doesn't mean that it HAS to be a sock. I thought about a hat or a scarf but then decided I actually would make some socks. But what pattern? Then I remembered that Janice likes making Monkey Socks so maybe I should make some of those. I was worried they might be too hard but I know they have been all the rage so clearly many knitters have been able to conquer them. So I have cast on and knit round and round. So far so good. I have gotten through two rounds of the lace pattern so far. I am trying the two circular needle method but have some loose stitches where I switch needles. I have been trying to pull tight each time but it's not working so well. Any suggestions?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Cest fini!

I have finished the two hats for my friend and I am very happy with how they turned out. One is the mock cable that I showed earlier and the second is a lace pattern. My friend's oldest daughter just turned two and her new daughter from China is 15 months old. I thought they would look cute in these "matching" hats. I hope they like them and that they fit. My friend published a blog during her trip to China to get Kate. It was such an amazing experience to live vicariously through her journey. You could tell from her words and photos the raw emotions they were all experiencing. It is amazing to realize that a person can be given a child and within about 48 hours can be completely and irrevocably in love and the bonding has begun. I feel honored to have been a part of the beginning of their wonderful life together. I get to meet her next week and I'm so excited.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What's in a Name?

I found this little diddy on Bonnie's Blog and thought I'd give it a try. A good part of it is true and some is not. However, it is strikingly similar to Bonnie's description. That could mean one of two things. EITHER Bonnie and I truly were separated at birth OR it could be that it's a ruse - take the test yourself and let me know!

What Allison Means

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection. I definitely strive for perfection - don't think I'm accomplished being the best at everything (or anything!)

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive. True

You have the classic "Type A" personality. Very True

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow. This doesn't seem to fit with the earlier ones does it? I'm a bossy chic so probably don't totally go with the flow.

You are light hearted and accepting. True

You don't get worked up easily.Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is. I'm fairly well adjusted - but how does the "you don't get worked up easily" fit with the next comment that I'm "pretty tightly wound?"

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing. I probably do get easily excited.

You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long. This one is probably not true - I have a lot of enthusiasm but I also tend to stick to most things.

You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start. I do try to do a lot - as to knitting - it is an issue to get everything finished . . . .

You are the total package - suave, sexy, smart, and strong.You have the whole world under your spell, and you can influence almost everyone you know. OK we know this one's not true!

You don't always resist your urges to crush the weak. Just remember, they don't have as much going for them as you do. Hmmmm - maybe this fits in with that "type A" comment.

You are well rounded, with a complete perspective on life. Well I'm definitely round . . . . and I do think I have a decent perspective.

You are solid and dependable. You are loyal, and people can count on you. That I am - one friend once called me, "good ole dependable Al".

At times, you can be a bit too serious. You tend to put too much pressure on yourself. You are very intuitive and wise. I don't think anyone would say that I'm overly serious, I do put a lot of pressure on myself though.

You understand the world better than most people. Don't know about that one - I definitely don't understand teenagers!

You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts. I can be known to day dream . . . .

You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals. I do tend to be sensitive and always assume that you ARE talking about me :-)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Clapotis for Me

In the past I've made two Clapotis and have given both away. Then Jennifer told me about the Fashionably Late in 2008 KAL and I decided it was time to sign up and knit a Clapotis for me! I bought some gorgeous Tess yarn at Stitches that I had planned to use. However when I started working with it I decided it was too thin (it is the one pictured here.) Then I remembered that I had bought some thicker Tess yarn last year and so I went digging for it. Guess what? It was the EXACT SAME colorway! So what does that tell you? Anyway, I fired it up and am on my way. There isn't quite as much of the thicker yarn as is called for in the pattern so I'm making it a little thinner than the pattern calls for. Here are also a few more photos from my Stitches haul. I got some of the new Malabrigo silkie yarn which is a combo of silk and merino. I love Malabrigo and this silkie version is amazing. I got the colorway Stone Chat which is the same color as I used to make Jennifer's backpack in the first Internationaal Tote Exchange. Also I got some fabulous Baywood silk and merino sock yarn. The maker is a local artist located in San Mateo. Unfortunately she doesn't sell on-line but only through a local yarn store that is just a tad far for me so I don't get there that often. I found this great turquoise and brown colorway that I am excited to try. Last but not least is some yarn that I didn't get at Stitches but rather ordered from the Loopy Ewe. They have started a series called "Legends" where they name colorways after their favorite customers. This one is named from my good friend Janice so I just had to have some. It's called Janice's Sunshine in Winter. Isn't it gorgeous? Just like her!