Blankets & Catching Up

Living in Florida has not helped my knitting will power. I’ve found that I’ve lost all motivation to knit more than socks and blankets. More so blankets. It doesn’t help that I seem to be consummately busy which makes focusing on complicated patterns more difficult. I have not posted in several years and I’ve been averaging a blanket a year. So here we go again.

I did make a Baby Dress two years ago. This is my go-to pattern for new baby girls. This is the second (maybe third?) dress I’ve made. The bottom is a pain but it looks gorgeous.

I’ve been knitting basic basket weave blankets.

One was a baby blanket for the kid pictured above. I guess I didn’t take a picture of it.

The second was a queen size blanket made of Bernat Cotton – which is more comfortable in Florida.

I knit the majority of this during a time of personal emotional turmoil. For about two weeks, I would knit row and row in a fury trying not to think. We survived and it’s not easy focusing on a 350 stitch row one after another.

I started blanket number two a few months ago with the intention of giving it to baby above – which I decided against because all of a sudden we don’t have enough blankets in our home. It’s the same pattern but flecked with pink and purpose instead of green and orangish. This one fits a twin size bed easily and I finished it 1 year from the date I finished the queen size blanket (thanks TimeHop App!).

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Loom – ology

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A short while back, I bought a Northfield Tia riddged heddle loom from someone online for $30. The thing has some wooden parts and other plastic parts. The books (and the loom) all appear to be from the 1970s. I figured out how to warp it using YouTube. I wove a blue and white checked scarf for my mother and sent it to her for her birthday. It wasn’t long after receiving it that she pulled down her old loom that was hidden for about thirty years. I was trying to explain the process of warping and weaving to her over the phone and through Skype but a lot was lost in translation. I am a very inexperienced weaver and her loom was a completely different type with skinny metal teeth rather than my big moving heddle. I took these pictures to try to explain the process. This might help someone else out there.

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6 Months Later

So, it has been about six months since I posted, probably a little more. This last year has been one of the most stressful of my life. I survived and came out the other side. Yay. I must be very busy knitting and spinning, right? Nope. I have been going nonstop for the last month and I’m wondering why. I’m taking advanced accounting classes, tutoring, exercising (because these past six stressful months have added at least fifteen pounds to my belly) and trying to cook dinner a few times a week.

In the past six months, I have:

bought a loom and learned to weave

bought a dehydrator so I can make my own fruit rollups

shuffled yarn so many times I can’t even count

convinced the cats to stop stealing my yarn   never mind, the cat is playing with my yarn right now

applied to the master’s program for accounting and taxation

decided to do a PhD program in Accounting if anyone will accept me

 

Obviously, life is busy and that doesn’t include the crazy activities that I won’t post publicly. From now on, I will try to post every Monday. These posts may be knitting or yarn related or they may involve cooking, baking, dehydrating, general crafts or chasing cats around the apartment (changed my mind, no cat posts allowed on knitwerks).

For this week, here is a picture of my very old tia rigged heddle loom that works like a charm and has made me want a room sized loom as soon as I win the lottery.

 

Pinterest Shirt Skirt

From the first time I saw this post, I was fascinated.  It seemed simple enough. http://sewlikemymom.com/the-shirt-skirt/

Take a man’s shirt, xl or larger, cut the sleeves off and using elastic, sew several lengths around.

Thursday I stopped by Goodwill. My Goodwill is too expensive. The shirt cost $5 but it was striped and I loved it. I spent all of Thursday searching for my elastic. I did tear apart my house. I did not find it.

Friday morning, I leave my house early so I can get to Wal-Mart to pick up the elastic. I shut my car door and realized that I left my keys in the ignition. Long story short – it took a slim jim to open my car. No- Wal-Mart did not have my elastic.

Friday night. I decided my sickness, canker sores, and cold sore were a sign I should relax. So I tried. But I couldn’t resist. I’m not showing my sewing because it was that bad. I don’t know if I’ll ever wear it outside but I can’t wait to try again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Blanket


I just recently finished a beautiful yellow baby blanket. I used Bernat cotton. I wasn’t really sure about this yarn at first but chose it because the baby is due in the Summer and in Florida. Wool would not have been appropriate in many ways. I do love the yellow and white blend and I think it shows wonderfully in the pictures. It feels great and I may just buy more and knit up an adult sized blanket for myself. The stitch was a variation on the block stitch. I did try to do an edging but I tried to do the whole thing at once and broke my new forty inch Knitpick’s cord. Frustrated, I pulled the edging out. The blanket may be finished, but it doesn’t feel like it is complete. I still have plenty of time to pick it back up.

Food and Diet

What did the recently former vegetarian say when the doctor told her to go on a high protein, low carb diet?

Uh oh.

There are a few things you should know about me. 1- I was a pollo-vegetarian (vegetarian who still eats chicken but no other meat products) for a few years in my early twenties and a true vegetarian for about a year when I was twenty-two. I stopped because I was severely anemic and sickly. Vegetarianism only works when you eat correctly. I pretty much only ate pasta. 2- I was a true vegetarian (no meat but cheese and eggs are okay) for over three years until recently. I’ve been sick, stressed and too broke to do the vegetarian thing right. I’ve never been a big fan of meat, so giving it up has never been really hard for me. I truly believe that we as a culture eat entirely too much processed meat and the animals are not treated properly or even processed properly. Even as I write this, I am rethinking my decision to continue eating animal products.

So how to I go low carb? I am probably the only person on the planet who has never tried or even researched a low carb diet. I love pasta and rice and potatoes but most importantly PASTA! I have been craving sugars constantly lately. I don’t know if it a stress reaction or a health reaction but I feel like I cannot survive without something sweet entering my mouth. I used to be a health freak and in the last year have gained a bunch of weight and has lost all self-control.

I think I can regain self-control soon. Once my classes are over, hopefully I can go back to normal. I have other stressors, many of which have been especially bad in the recent months, but even those have to go back to normal sooner rather than later. I haven’t had time to knit lately and I wonder how much that has to do with not being able to center myself. I finally finished a pair of socks and started a new pair for myself despite all the Christmas knitting that has to get done way too soon.

If anyone has any low carb ideas for a former vegetarian who doesn’t want to eat meat 24/7, please let me know. I need advice!

Product vs Process Knitting

I remember hearing in a blog about product vs process knitting. There are two types of knitters, those who knit to get something out of it such as a pair of socks or a sweater and those who do it for the love of knitting itself and learning new techniques. How can you tell which type you are? Do you have a million unfinished objects laying around your bedroom? If you do, you are likely a process knitter. Do you get bored easily and move on to the next thing? Process knitter. Do you work as fast as possible on one thing and only feel happy once it is finished? Project knitter. I like small projects like socks and accessories because I love finishing that special something and showing it off. I get frustrated easily though and have given up on a lot of projects lately. Plus, if I have more than one thing on my needles, something gets thrown aside and never pulled out again.

2010-03 I-pod Cozy

2011-03 I-Pod Cozy

 2011-03 I-pod cozy

 

A few weeks ago I cracked the screen on my I-Pod. Thank goodness I had a warranty and was able to get a new (refurbished) one. However, I realized that my cover was not good enough. I had an idea of what I wanted but it was only last week that I was truly able to envision it. This is knit with my own homespun, but it is a sock weight yarn. It is a simple pattern but looks fantastic and knit in wool, will protect your I-pod from minor damage as well as getting wet.

Gauge 7 stitches 8 rows = 1 inch with size five needles or appropriate with gauge. (this is knit in homespun. Do a swatch. My I-pod is 2 ¼ inches by 4 ¼ with the case on it.)

Cast on 30 stitches.

Row 1 : Knit

Row 2: Knit 1 Purl 1

Repeat until it measures 5 inches long.

Do a second rectangle as above.

Cut a piece of cardboard out that is 4 ½ inches by 5 inches. Fold this in half and stick under a book for a few hours so it stays folded.

Using a whip stitch, seem together the two rectangles, with the cardboard in between.

 

Then fold this over and using the whip stitch again, seem just the top and bottom edges, leaving enough space for the I-pod.

Create a 2 ½ inch 3 stitch I-cord with double-pointed needles. Sew these into the inside of one side of the I-pod cozy. Sew a button onto the front of the cozy and use the I-cord to keep the case closed.

 2011-03 I-pod cozy

Fall Issue

What usually is joyous is now just plain sad. That’s right. The Fall issue of Interweave Knits came to me, on an August day, in Southwest Florida. In 92 degree weather, I got to look at Autumn sweater patterns, along with mittens, thick socks and a particular cute wool skirt. To add to my blues, the theme seemed to be double knitting. Why have one layer of knitting when you can have two. This is all well and good if you live up north, lets say Vermont, or Oregon, or Orlando. Down here is the subtropics, I sweat looking at the double knitting. I’ll have to stick to lacy shawls, purses and blankets. Sigh.

Isobel Skirt almost finished

My Isobel skirt is sitting not so far away, outside in the sun being “blocked.” I’ve never been big on blocking and don’t quite see the point in it, but my skirt is a little too wide for me. I’m hoping that by stretching it, it will look better. Blocking, afterall, is highly recommended. Maybe they are seeing something I’m not. I will post a picture of what it looks like after it dries and I get a true fit.

What if?

Do you ever play the what if I won the lottery game at home? My husband and I like to play this (probably a little too often.) There are the obvious choices of buying a nice house, getting new (and working???) cars, going on vacation, etc. I had always thought that I’d want to go get my Master’s in creative writing. I always thought I’d wind up writing and am still surprised that I wound up in the accounting field. Lately, I think I’d like to study folk arts. Knitting, spinning and other crafts interest me. Unfortunately, money is still a factor so I will have to be satisfied with just having hobbies but I’d truly love to study the crafts of cultures around the world. These were and still are more than the hobbies that keep them busy but instead kept them clothed and warm.
Oh and if we won the lottery, I want a huge RV and to travel the country while knitting, spinning, and doing what ever makes me happy!

Flying

I’m running around getting ready to fly to NY on short notice thanks to a death in the family. I’m in the middle of knitting a skirt, which unfortunately thanks my not so tiny waist is a big project. I find some lacy yarn and decide that my backup project will be a lacy shawl/scarf. I need something that I can hide in my purse.

Now it’s time to get my bag ready. No scissors, the TSA doesn’t like those. How many knitting needles are too many to take on a carry on? I am to bring my knitpicks stash but what if they say I can’t bring it on the plane. Better to lose one or two needles than my whole set. I have to go through the stitch holders and make sure nothing looks dangerous.

Now I’m also worrying that the pattern I picked out for the scarf/shawl is too complicated. I don’t think I’ll be able to pull off knitting during the wake, but I want to be able to bring it out at other times. What if my flight is delayed twelve hours like the last time I flew home from NY? I know, I am overreacting. Is this knitting a hobby or an addiction? I am getting anxious trying to decide what I’m bringing.

I’ll figure it out somehow and will write more later.

Exhibitionistic Spinning

Unfortunately the knit bunny is still not done. Time is precious and in short supply. Every year my Mom and her boyfriend set up at an antique engine show/flea market in Zolfo Springs, Florida. I drive up and visit every year. Usually I walk through the show and flea market looking for odds and ends. Two years earlier I was looking for a spinning wheel and found one on the drive home at an antique store. Unfortunately it was missing quite a few pieces and it never did work. However, it inspired research and knowledge of spinning that I am still gathering.

This year I brought my very own Kromski Sonata spinning wheel. In the beginning, I set it up behind the tables of stuff for sale and people were coming right up to the tables and watching me. I had a man who owned alpacas in North Carolina tell me they spin the fibers all the time and he has fiber for sale as high as $130 an ounce. I also had a mechanical engineer come up to me and just watch analyzing the movements from the treadle on up.

The best part of the experience was when two young children who didn’t speak English came up to me. First they were standing back, fascinated. Some one guided them closer and I pulled out the bunch of wool roving from my bag and had them touch it. Then I tore off small bits of drafted fiber which is looser and easier to spin. Finally I pointed to my handmade niddy noddy with the twisted yarn. I can only hope that some day they’ll remember the day they saw the lady using the spinning wheel and will try their hands at crafts themselves.