Thursday, November 30, 2006
Louisa Harding, Love Her
I don't know if I can part with this set, I love it so much. It is intended for my niece to go with both her black coat and white coat. She is a Wisconsin Badger, so the red is appropriate. I think she will love them, so I'll have to say good bye.
I am a gusher of the worst sort, so here it goes:
Louisa Harding, I love your wonderful patterns. I have had this love for years and years, and I have knitted your patterns again and again. Your work is always a beautiful treat for my needles. The hat and gloves are from her book, Hats, Gloves, Scarves. This book is super, every page has a clean-lined classic pattern. I highly recommend this for every knitter's library. I have made many, many of the items in here. The hat is the Streamlined Sporty pattern, and the gloves are the Toasty Tweed pattern. It is all knitted on US size 6 needles. The yarn is Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK that I bought on sale from Jimmy Beans Wool. I bought a few other colors, too, so maybe another set is in the works.
My thirteen year old son quickly took this picture before the sun went down. It is freezing cold today, so the winter wear is perfect.
I got a haircut this morning and I had at least 2 inches trimmed off my hair so it is a sleek little bob now. My three youngest kids all told me after school that they like my hair better long. I tried to get my son to say he used to like it better short, but he quickly corrected me that he actually likes it better long. This made me laugh. I told them not to worry it will grow right back! They just agreed.
Que sera, sera...
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
This is my new ornament design, it is called Santa Baby. I just sent the pattern off to Jennifer at www.craftsanity.com, which she will post for free along with my upcoming interview for her podcast. It should be out shortly and I will keep you updated.
The ornament is about 3 inches long and it is a snap to work up. It makes the perfect little gift on its own or with a gift card. I am always thinking of teacher gifts, which I have a lot of due to having many children. They all have multiple teachers, too, and then there is the librarian, the principal, the past teachers we love, and so on, and so on...I wish I could knit for them all.
Also, this santa hat would be perfect for a new baby ornament. The year of the birth or a baby's initial could be embroidered onto the hat. What a special little gift that would be.
I'll let you know when the pattern is available.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Chicago, Not So Windy City
I've just returned from a 2 day excursion to Chicago. Wow, was that ever crowded! The weather was spectacular, downright warm for this time of year. We visited the Shed Aquarium, the American Girl store, the new Macy's (Marshall Field's) with their beautiful Walnut Room with the enormous tree, the Millenium Park, and the yummy Scoozi's Italian restaurant. They had the best salty topped bread to dip in olive oil, I'm still thinking about it. It was busy, the kids had fun and I am exhausted.
I did, however, manage to squeeze in some excellent knitting along the way, mostly in the car. Madison is about 2 1/2 hours from Chicago, so it isn't too bad of a drive. I worked on a sock, a glove and I worked on the scarf in the photo. It is called My So Called Scarf, and I know it has been all over the internet, but I found out about it from www.peaknit.blogspot.com (I know I have to learn how to make those links, but I just haven't yet!). Peaknit is a great story, and she has an adorable blog. She learned how to knit in the shop I used to work at and took one of my classes. She was very much a beginner at the time, about 3 years ago, but I remember her being extremely quick to catch on, and I remember her sweet, and quiet enthusiasm about knitting. Cut to 3 years later, and she shows up at one of my local book signing events, I believe knitting on some Jaywalker socks. I am very good at remembering faces, names-not so much, and I recognized her right away! I have been blown away by her speedy progress with knitting and her involvement in the knitting community. I have been reading her blog ever since, so check it out. She knits great projects and shares her ups and downs along the way, and she has 2 cute daughters.
My So Called Scarf is from www.sheepinthecity.prettyposies.com and it is made with Manos in the photo. I used size 15 needles, and 2 balls of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Chunky in a discontinued colorway. Actually when I was in Little Rock for the Knitting for Noggins event, I visited several yarn shops and the Handworks Gallery was one of them. Have you seen the ads for this shop in the knitting mags? The owner poses in her designs, she has very dark hair and wears sunglasses. The last one I saw was her in a geometric wrap/poncho type thing that had circles and squares joined in a lacy configuration. Oh well, if not, it is an interesting little shop with a fun, nice staff, and they have a great online business. The owner actually gave me this yarn, for which I was so surprised! It was a nice little treat and I love this yarn. It is a dark pumpkin colored tweed, and I am a tweed nut. I love it.
I casted on 32 stitches and worked through the 2 balls for about 66 inches in length. It is about 7-8 inches wide. This is an easy 2 row stitch pattern which gives a woven appearance. I will definitely use this again with some other yarn. I think I will keep this scarf for myself, as it is a trip momento.
I need to post an update on the Knitting for Noggins and its amazing progress, and I have finished more Christmas knitting to share! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and a wonderful long weekend.
Monday, November 20, 2006
The stripey stocking cap from Itty-Bitty may be my all-time favorite hat. As you can see I have been busy knitting this pattern for Christmas for my nieces and nephews. Their ages are 3, 7, 9 and almost 13 years-old. I made the same size for all four of these kids. It is the largest size in the pattern, where you cast on 72 stitches to begin. Let me tell you why this works and it may be surprising.
I measured my 3 year-old nephew's head, and it is 21 inches around. I then measured my 13 year-old niece's head, and it is 21 1/2 inches around! They basically have the same size head. This same size hat also fits my head, which is 22 inches around. The fact is that head size stays relatively the same from the time you are 2-3 years-old all the way through adulthood for most people. It may get a half inch to an inch bigger, but that isn't much.
Many of the toddler or largest size hats in Itty-Bitty will fit an older child. Remember the knitted fabric is very stretchy and you want that snug fit. What you need to do is add a bit of length before the decrease rounds to better fit a larger child's head, and to cover their ears. Most older children to adult size hats are knit to 7-8 inches in length from the cast on row before the decrease is started.
I made these hats with Manos on a size 9 needle. The points won't stand straight up while they are wearing the hats because they will soften up quite a bit, but I couldn't resist the hats standing at attention like that. It is so colorful, they almost look like little trees. I lined all of the hats with fleece. I hand-stitched the linings in with matching thread. This removes any chance of itching and keeps those ears warm in our cold Wisconsin climate.
This hat makes a great gift for any age child or teenager or even adult! Three of my kids wear this same hat all winter long and have had their hats for several years.
I've got some gloves going this morning, a few scarves in queue, and a few more ornaments to go....and it makes me so happy.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Peas For Your Trees!
Have you been to www.betzwhite.com? Well, you should go there and look at her beautiful felted work, and you should visit her blog! It is filled with her work and some wonderful tutorials. She is a big talent, and she recently signed a book deal with Northern Lights publishing. She lives very close to me, so that is fun. Congratulations to Betz!
Anyway, my knitted Christmas Peas ornaments are inspired by her pea ornament which she made with felted balls and a recycled felted sweater. Really, you have to check Betz's out. I have had a thing for pea pods forever. I have pea pods in my online store on hats and I have a fun take on a pea pod in my new book, which you will have to wait to see. I loved the ornament idea. Pretty much every year I do some sort of knitted ornaments to give away as gifts for the holidays. So the Christmas Peas are it this year! So far I have made five pods and I will do some more. I used a thin piece of silk ribbon for the loop. The pods are about 2 inches long to give you some sense of scale.
I am extra excited that I have figured out how to do a close-up with my camera to give better detail on my photos. I am learning new things every time about photography. I am starting with no knowledge at all, so be patient with me.
It is so beautiful today in Madison. It is sunny and warm-ish for us, maybe 50 degrees. I am heading outside to enjoy this brief reprieve from the cold. Happy Sunday!
Saturday, November 18, 2006
I spy with my little eye....
1. 2 itty bitty stripey stocking caps
2. 2 yarnplay sidetracked hats
3. 1 ceramic hen
4. 1 Workman address change postcard
5. 1 manos sunflower
6. 1 stripey baby sock
7. 1 itty bitty felted flower
8. 1 purl postcard
9. 1 purl patchwork postcard
10. 2 Rowan cotton braid flowers
11. 2 balls of 127 print
12. 1 messy studio!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Now, guess where that camera was? On my dresser, of course. Here I go blaming the kids, and the missing camera was all my fault. Sorry kids.
A couple of posts ago I talked about a sweater that Julia Roberts helped design a long time ago, well this is it. The sweater was on the cover of a women's magazine, a non-knitting magazine and I liked it. This was about 8 years ago or so, and I have no idea what kind of yarn this is. It is wool, and it is very soft. I stored it in a cedar chest and when my daughter put it on, she scrunched up her face and said, "It smells like grandpa's house." That made me laugh.
Anyway, it is looking pretty cute on my 10-year-old daughter. I am starting to feel like a lot of my things are looking better on my daughter than on me, and that's how it should be. I guess that's what happens as time goes on. She is a tall, tall girl and that is something I will never experience.
We just had parent-teacher conferences for the kids, and all is going well. It is a good feeling to know everyone is working hard and most importantly, everyone is happy.
I finished another Christmas hat this morning and I have 2 more to go. Believe it or not, I still get a major thrill when I finish a new hat for a child!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Itty-Bitty Hats Corrections
I have been looking for my camera all day today, and guess what? I can't find it. That's what happens when you have four kids, things mysteriously disappear and no one knows anything about it. I have some fun hats that I am knitting for Christmas gifts that I want to share as soon as I find that camera!
Ok, about those book corrections or errata if you prefer, I can't tell you how much it pains me to have any corrections to my book at all. It hurts, it really hurts. I apologize. I have written them down to the best of my knowledge, and they are posted on my online store address at www.shopabcsoup.com. I will get a permanent link up here soon, but not tonight. Anyway, there aren't many errors and they will be fixed in the next printing of Itty-Bitty. Check it out if you are knitting from the book to make sure you have the updates.
On to happier news, my next book is on the way to the technical editor! The photographs are in and they are beautiful. I am so excited about this new book!!! I can't wait. I'll get it back in a couple of weeks, and then I will be back to work. In the mean time, it is Christmas prep overload for me. My manuscript is due back in New York on December 20th, just in time for Christmas. That means I have to be organized this year. I usually work on getting ready for Christmas right up until the last minute. Oh well, it may be fun to try to get ready early for once. We'll see if I can actually pull it off.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Table of Hats & Some Knitting News
Well, I have been busy knitting, as always. I am selling my wares, or hats in this case, at an upcoming show. The art gallery show is called, Colored Threads, and it is a wearable art show. I have done this show a couple of times before, and it is a lot of fun.
The Colored Threads showing is from November 22nd through January 8th, at:
Katie Gingrass Gallery
241 North Broadway
Milwaukee, WI 53202
I am selling 25 of my original hat designs, knitted by me! Also, I have autographed copies of Itty-Bitty Hats to offer. I don't know the other artists who are in the show, but in the past there were handbags, jewelry (loads of), woven shawls, handmade clothing, etc. It has been great before, so hopefully it will be this year, too!
If you are wondering about my crazy coffee table, I will post about that soon!
I have discovered 2 new podcasts that may be worth a listen, Sleepy Eyes Knits and Sticks and String. The latter is a man in Australia who is rather interesting. Sleepy Eyes Knits is a 33 year-old mother who has a cute voice, and a fun take on knitting! Try these out and see if you like them. I am definitely tuning in again. You can find out about these on itunes.
Also, did you see Julia Roberts is set to star in and produce The Friday Night Knitting Club? This is a novel about a knitting group that is set to be released in January 2007. I love it that Julia knits, and in fact I knitted a sweater she helped design many years ago that was on the cover of a non-knitting magazine, like Redbook or something. It turned out really cute! I should find that and take a picture.
Anyway, the more knitting that is out there, the better! Julia even worked her knitting into a scene of the Broadway play she was in recently. Gotta love that.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Loop-d-Loop On My Girl-e-Girl!
Loop-d-Loop by Teva Durham is one of my favorite books. It is so innovative and inspiring. I read it like a novel from cover to cover, and I revisit it often. I have knitted many of the projects from this book, and I have many lined up waiting to be knit. Here is one of them completed. This is my youngest daughter wearing the "child's geek spiral pullover."
I had to do a lot of remedying on the sizing because it was running very small and the neck opening was so tiny. Cotton chenille has no give whatsoever, so keep this in mind when using this yarn. I also added a picot edging on the hood with a crochet hook and the dark pink chenille. I made the largest size that is a 4-6 years. I made this 2 summers ago, so my daughter would have been 5 years old. It was not even close to fitting her, thus the extensions on the bottom and side edges, and she is average size. I still love the sweater and even with the funny add-ons, it looks great on her.
I used the Crystal Palace cotton chenille and a US size 6 needle. It was so much fun to knit the patterned front. You should try this pattern and you will quickly see how simple and fun it is. You start in the middle and work your way out and around picking up stitches and making triangles. The swirling front would make a fantastic pillow or baby blanket as well.
Anyway, this has turned out to be one of her favorite sweaters and she wears it often, like several times a week, even to soccer games in the rain and mud and for messy pumpkin carving. I love seeing her in it. I have washed the sweater repeatedly in the machine, and I lay it flat to dry. It holds up well.
Teva is a genius in Loop-d-Loop. I hope she has a second book very soon, I will buy it sight unseen! My rating here is a double thumbs-up!
Monday, November 06, 2006
Tilli Tomas, Cereal and Coloring?
This is my youngest daughter, my budding artist. She dreams of crafts and colors all day long. I eat it up! The top of her name poem says "m is for makes crafts." She is dear to my heart.
She is wearing a scarf I finished recently. It is made from 2 skeins of Tilli Tomas Disco Lights. I used US size 8 needles to create a basket weave stitch. The drape on this scarf is incredible. I absolutely love the finished result.
Cast on 40 stitches.
Row 1: (k5, p5) repeat to the end of the row
Rows 2-6: repeat row 1
Row 7: (p5, k5) repeat to the end of the row
Rows 8-12: repeat row 7
Continue repeating rows 1-12 until you reach the desired length, and bind off.
My scarf is 74 inches, 8 inches wide, knit at 5 stitches per inch. I have bought this yarn at both kpixie and purl. The basket weave is the perfect stitch to show off the natural beauty of this yarn. Tilli Tomas is beautiful, rich, drapey silk, run with sequins, beads or crystals. Check it out when you get a chance!
Braided Mischief at Knitting for Noggins
This scarf is from Scarf Style and is called "braided mischief" by Teva Durham. I used US size 10.5 needles with a double strand of Elsbeth Lavold's silky wool in ivory. I love this cabled pattern and it is so easy to memorize. With one repeat, you will have it down. I didn't add the tabs at the edges as I like it as it is.
I started this scarf when I was coming home from Little Rock, Arkansas where I was the guest host for the Knitting for Noggins charity knitting event. Boy, did I have a great time down there. You should check out the website for this charity hat knitting drive. It is at www.archildrens.org and it is under Knitting for Noggins. There you will find free hat patterns, photos from the knit-a-thon, and there is even a webcast of me speaking at the event. Really, I was so impressed with this event. The woman running everything, Robin Armstrong, was so kind, and she did a super job raising 1,400 hats in just one day. They already had 5,000 hats sent to the organization, which is a children's hospital, and their goal is to raise 10,000 hats. I don't know the current number they are up to, but I am sure it is high.
I created a free pattern, amongst other people, for a helicopter hat. It is a great hat, but the photo doesn't show the helicopter feature very well. You will just have to trust me and make it anyway!
The Knitting Tree event last week in Madison was terrific. The turn out was good, and we had a wonderful time chatting about the book and knitting in general. Thanks to everyone who came, both new and old friends, I appreciate it. This is a treat of a shop, which was recently featured in a new book about Wisconsin with a photo spread. I can't remember the name of that book, but I will find it. Please patronize this shop if you are in town, and you will be pleased with the wonderful staff and wide selection of beautiful yarns.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Knitting Tree Window
This is the Knitting Tree window display with some of the hats from my book. This quaint little yarn shop is on Monroe Street in Madison. This street is quintessential Madison to me, and I love it. There are schools, locally owned shops and restaurants running up and down the street that leads to the University of Wisconsin stadium. There is much cultural flair and color nestled into this bustling area. Monroe Street really comes to life in the fall and it brings back a lot of memories for me.
Anyway, I am looking forward to the event tomorrow night. I am glad to have the opportunity to spend some time here.