Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Almost done

My daughter's Hearts and Tait Vest is almost done! I am working on the armhole ribbing. She was able to try it on for size this morning and I took a picture:

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Classic Birthday Party

This year we are going to give my daughter a classic birthday party. You know the kind: Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Musical Chairs, Simon Says. We've reserved a room at a local Pizza Parlor. The Parents website has a few pages dedicated to this. I am very happy to find that there is someplace on the web that has collection of ideas for less expensive children's parties.

Easy Halloween Costumes

Okay, not exactly knitted costumes but I thought this article is worth saving:

Easy Halloween Costumes

made from stuff you probably already have in the house!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Why didn't I think of this before?

Fingerless Mittens. Most of them only need one skein. And here I am bemoaning the fact that I can't wear Malabrigo next to my skin (and other animal fibers). I have several (read "ALOT") of merino yarn that I have been holding onto. Let's face it: I love these yarns. Soft. Buttery to knit with. LUUUUURVE the colors. How can I sell them? Now I know that I can keep them with due cause. I'll make fingerless mittens out of them.

I want to make Matching Mitts for Meret, Ailbhe, Eireen - these three are Ravelry patterns, so you may not be able to see these if you are not a member - and I might even attempt London Eye Glittens.

Of course...after the rest of my holiday knitting is done. I told you...it never ends.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Good to Know...

I take my knitting everywhere: Ballet practice, the playground, McDonald's (if you are a mom, then you know what I am talking about), the mall, anywhere that I think I can get at least one row done. At times, some kind soul will ask if I sell any of my items. I have always said no because I was never comfortable using someone else's pattern for something that I am selling.

Katharine of Accessories For Your Left Brain has a Lawyer mom and she wrote about this topic this summer. She explains in readable detail that clothing made from a pattern is sellable. Please read her post on this topic if you are curious about it, especially if you want to sell your knitted items.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's not Rocket Science; it's Knitting Science

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you probably know that I love (this word is not an exaggeration) Top-Down Seamless Patterns. In fact, I have been known to buy entire magazines and books because they include ONE pattern that is written this way, and it doesn't even have to be a pattern that I necessarily LIKE. I know. It's a sickness. However, I am satisfied that I can brag and say that I have an AWESOME collection of top down patterns. And this makes me very happy.

As is the case for many, I am sure, I prefer FREE. Let's face it, there are a TON of knitting blogs and websites that offer free patterns: yarn companies, Knitty.com, Whip it, Knitch Magazine, just to name a few. Plus, Ravelry has improved their search function so I can find top down patterns at my leisure in no time at all.

This said, there are also some designers that do charge for their designs. GAH my frugal minds growls, but I can't blame them. It's work: increase here, decrease there, YO here, SSK, K2Tog, P2, K5...and it all has to look good on various shapes and sizes. And top down designers - wow, they take away the stress of seaming too! Priceless.

So in this post, I want to list some of the designers that I personally like and would not mind paying for use of their designs. Not surprisingly, many of them are Top Down designers, and also not surprisingly, I have already splurged on some of their designs.

Coco Knits
French Girl Knits
Knit and Tonic
Brooklyn Tweed
RetroKnit (she is a Ravelry designer, so you may have to sign into Ravelry to see her designs).

I'll be adding to this list as I find more and more things that I want to knit, which lately, is about everything. I swear, a week ago, Christmas was 6 months away...

If there is a designer that you absolutely love, please post a comment!

Another WIP...

It never ends.

I get a lot of inspiration from Ravelry. I have been spending a lot of time on this social network and the more I see, the more that I want to knit. However, at the moment, I am very pressed for time. I have a constant battle between all of the things that I have to do, and all of the things that I WANT to do. It. Never. Ends. Especially with kids.

Since I started homeschooling my daughter, I have had less time to do anything else - housework, taking care of the dogs, relaxing, and worse of all, knitting. Then how do I spend a lot of time on Ravelry, you ask. Well, read on.

My days go like this: I wake up, drink a wee bit of coffee with lots of milk, make breakfast for the boy ("Crunchy cereal please!"), an egg burrito for the girl (cereal and oatmeal never fill her), breakfast and lunch for the man (this changes daily), remind her to get ready for the day (get dressed, and brush her teeth and hair) while I prepare the day's lessons.

I start her off with Math. Our kitchen table is our classroom. We tried having her do her lessons in her room - too distracting! The first day I taught her from home, I went in to check on her progress 30 minutes after she started and she was still on the first question because she started playing with Buggi. Grrrrrrrr. So now, we sit together at the kitchen table. I sit parallel to her, so she can ask me questions if needed, and I can check that she is not distracted by something. Here is where I spend my time on Ravelry. Personally, I hate people watching over my shoulder. I figure that if she knows that I am present but not hovering, then she will be more comfortable working on her own. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. It's still a work in progress. The problem is, if I leave the table for too long, she "forgets" she's supposed to be doing her schoolwork. So I need to stay in the immediate vicinity so that she stays on task. Therefore, forget about walking the dogs with her brother so she can work on her own, forget about cleaning the bedrooms, forget about playing a game with the boy, at least until her lessons are over for the day. I am glad that my son enjoys drawing and learning his letters, so he is not watching the TV all day.

Between all of this and keeping the kids occupied after "school" is over, I have less knitting time. I am grateful that we belong to a charter school that we have to visit every week for her Spanish class and my bimonthly meeting with our home teacher. I am grateful because this trek to the school gives me an excuse to stop at the nearby McDonalds. It has a nice children's area where both of my children can play and cushy chairs where I can sit down and knit. This is the only way I have been able to work on a shawl that I am making for a Christmas present.

Other times, I sneak in a few rows in other projects in between my chores, but only when my kids are playing and getting along in their room. Each time I start a row, I pray to the knitting gods that a fight won't erupt until after the row is done. It is only after the kids are in bed - 8:00 pm - not a minute later! - that I can get chunks of projects done.

Being Sunday, I have given myself permission to do nothing (well, okay, almost nothing) and surf through Ravelry, I found a circular shrug that I think I want to make. I like it because I can use any yarn at any gauge. It's super cute and perfect if you want something to wear on top of a tank top.

When am I going to have time to do this? I dunno. That's never stopped me from casting on before.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Knitter, a Beader, a Stitchmarker Maker

Recently, I've decided to try to make and sell stitchmarkers again, after a long hiatus from my beading. I've sold a few at Babetta's Yarn and Gifts in Fair Oaks, and I have just started selling them at Knitique in Elk Grove. I thought that I would post some of my designs, with hopes of more publicity. If you have any questions about them, please send me an email or post a comment. I do not have an Etsy store, and do not plan on starting one. Frankly, with homeschooling my daughter, keeping my son occupied, keeping my 2 dogs out of trouble, knitting, and housework, I don't have the time. Besides, selling them at local yarn stores gives me an excuse to get out of the house and fondle yarn that hasn't been sitting in my closet begging to be knit.

All of my markers are snagless and flexible (with the exception of a small few from when I first starting selling them). The sets include an accent. They are made with Swarovski crystals, sterling silver, silver plated, and glass beads, strung on platinum quality wire.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fair Isle Heart Motif for Tait

I figured out how to put the chart up:

For Tait, I am knitting the second to largest size, so I had to cast on 78 stitches, increasing to 80 after the ribbing. When I seam it, I will lose the 2 added stitches, which brought down the number of stitches to 78. The pink sides of the chart represent the selvedge stitches.

Hearts and Tait

I cast on for Tait, from Rowan Kids a few days ago. After I finished the rib for the back, I thought to add a fair isle pattern. I needed a motif that was 13 stitches wide; no restriction on the heighth. My laptop was not charged, so I decided to pull out my graph paper and design a fair isle chart myself. I put it onto an excel spreadsheet this morning. I think it turned out pretty well. As soon as I can figure out how, I will share the chart. For now, here is a picture of what I've knitted so far:

I will be making the top (sleeveless body with a hood). I had intended to make it for my daughter so she would be able to wear something blue and white for her school's spirit days. However, now that I am homeschooling her, I am just making it so she will have something to wear that will not be too warm for our fall days here in California.

I have to say that I am so glad that I learned how easy it is to seam. I guess I could have converted this top to knit it in the round; however, I still would have had to seam the shoulders. The way I had been seaming my knitted projects, I would have been too embarrassed to have my daughter wear her top. Yay!