On pins and needles

December 23rd and I am anxiously waiting for my children to get here.  Of course, they have not even left Napa yet but they’ll be leaving soon.  I try not to look at the weather reports showing snow and promising a couple feet of snow.  We’re not really used to the snow but I am quickly getting there.  However, the kids don’t do much driving in it in fair weather Napa Valley. As you can imagine there is a stark difference between there and here in Reno, NV.

I think you get the idea.

So I wait…..and worry….

I will be so happy when they are here.

Finished Projects

I am pretty stoked about my recent activity in stitching. I have finished two projects. The first one is a knitted in Caron Cakes  in purple hues.  I found out about Caron Cakes through The Crochet Crowd. The pattern is on the site as well but I found it on the band of the Caron Cakes I bought. Two skeins is all it took and it was really enjoyable to make.  If you would like to give it a try you can find the pattern here Triangle Shawl. Very easy even if you are a beginning knitter.

 

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Another project I finished was a crochet Corner to Corner throw. I used some Red Heart yarn that was my mom’s. She had an abundance of it so I thought that it would be great for this.  It was a little more advanced but not by much.  If you know how to chain, single crochet and double crochet you’ll do well with this.

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As you can see I had a “shades of purple” thing going on.  Something I discovered about my unfinished (now finished) projects.  Both were at the halfway point when I put them down.  Hmmm….. a pattern I see here.  Pun intended!  What was nice though is that because they both were basically corner to corner when I picked them up to finish them I was on the decreasing end of things so they finished up pretty quick. I’m pretty please with the end result and with myself for actually finishing some things up.

However, in a previous post I talked about Crafter’s Math  which if you have read that you know I’m not very good at math.  So…I have started a new project. Of course!  I won’t say what it is but will post a picture or two after Christmas as it is a gift.

Time to sign off and go to the window to check for the kids again. Safe travels to all who are traveling this holiday and to those who moms are waiting on.

happy-holidays

With love from your stitching friend ~Tracy

 

 

 

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Mastering Socks

I am not big into New Year’s resolutions but I have set a goal for myself for 2016.  It doesn’t involve losing weight, saving money, being more social which are the usual vows for me.  In 2016 I want to master sock making.  I’ve always wanted to be able to make nice cozy socks but it always seems a little daunting.  I gave it a try a few years back and that sock (only made one and then gave up) is a golf club cover.

So, with this goal in mind I started out with the easiest pattern I could find.  I used Easy Peasy Socks by Stacey Trock .  I found this pattern on Ravelry.  She is right. These were Easy Peasy! I used size 5 double pointed needles and Heartland by Lion Brand .  The pattern was very easy to follow and the yarn super soft.  I think I did o.k. for my first pair.  Oddly enough I had more trouble with the second sock than the first.  But, I know as I make more I’ll get better at it.  And that is my goal to be able to go through a sock pattern without all the hiccups that I’ve had in the past when I’ve tried knitting socks.

Here are some pictures of how they turned out:

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The finished socks
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On my feet

I really enjoyed making these.  It was a nice project to take with me.  I worked on it on my lunch break, waiting for the doctor, while my tires were being rotated.  It’s a nice little project to take with you.

I’m excited to be making these but have decided to take some classes on socks.  Next Saturday at our LYS Yarns on First here in Napa I am starting a three week class on knitting socks and in February when I am at Stitches West in Santa Clara I am taking another class.  It will be nice to see how different people approach knitting socks.

In the meantime I’m going to work on some Knitted Knockers.  Knitted Knockers is an organization that gets knitters involved in making soft knitted prosthetics for women who have had mastectomies.  There are over 50,000 mastectomies performed each year.  Not everyone is a candidate for reconstructive surgery or can afford it or prosthetics.  Knitted Knockers provides knitted breast forms free of charge to those who need them. They are soft as they are made out of cotton and fit easily in your bra.  So, I’m going to make up a couple and drop them off at Stitches West.  If you would like to know more about Knitted Knockers I’ve listed their website below and Stitches West as well.  You can also find them on Facebook.

Knitted Knockers

Stitches West

I hope you’ll take a moment to check out Knitted Knockers.  And if you haven’t registered for Stitches West or any of the other Stitches events take some time to do that now. There are some great classes happening there.

If there is something you  have wanted to master in regards to knit or crochet I’d love to hear about it.

Stitch On!

Tracy

Green Leaf Ear Warmer

I’ve been looking and looking for ear warmer patterns.  I work in a warehouse.  Our office sits inside.  This warehouse stores wine and spirits at a cool 55 degrees.  We may sit in an office but it does get rather chilly in there.  So, I thought some ear warmers would be great.  I wanted knit ones and sort of narrow ones. I have found a lot of beautiful patterns but nothing like what I imagined.  So…I did something I’ve never done before and designed my own.  I think they turned out pretty nice : )

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This is the first time I’ve created my own pattern.  It’s very easy. Even a novice knitter could do it.  So, here is the pattern.  It has a lot of possibilities to create your own design.

The Pattern

Cast on 20 stitches.

Row 1: knit

Row 2: k4, p12, k4

Row 3: knit

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until piece is long enough to wrap around your head covering your ears.  Mine was approximately 22 inches.

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Bind off leaving about a 10 inch tail for sewing seam.

Folding piece with right sides together use tapestry needle and tail to neatly sew seam making a loop.

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Leaf pattern

Cast On 5 stitches
Row 1: k2, yo, k1, yo, k2 -7 stitches
Row 2 and all even rows: purl
Row 3: k3, yo, k1, yo, k3 – 9 stitches
Row 5: k4, yo, k1, yo, k5 – 11 stitches
Row 7: ssk, k7, k2tog – 9 stitches
Row 9: ssk, k5, k2tog – 7 stitches
Row 11: ssk, k3, k2tog – 5 stitches
Row 13: ssk, k1, k2tog – 3 stitches
Row 15: slip the first stitch, knit the next two stitches together, and pass the slipped stitch over.

Cut about 10 inches from leaf and pull through remain stitch and pull tight.  Use the tail and tapestry needle to attach to loop at desired location. Make as many leaves as you like.  Three sounded good to me.  But you can add as many as you like.  Use a variation of the band color or multi colored leaves.

Stitch abbreviations:

K = knit, P = pearl, yo = yarn over, ssk = slip, slip, knit, k2tog = knit 2 together

The finished product

I’m wishing I had arranged the leaves differently.  I may take them off and position them differently.  We’ll see.  I like it and am a bit proud of myself.  People tell me I’m very creative and my response is always “I’m only as creative as the pattern I follow.”  Well, maybe I’ll branch out more and create some more patterns.

I hope you’ll try it and give me some feed back.  Enjoy!  And keep those ears warm.

Stitch On!

 

 

Knitting again

I’ve taken up needles and yarn again.  It’s been since my mom was in the hospital in early July since I last worked on anything.  I just don’t think I’ve had the heart. It’s been an exhausting time both emotionally and physically. So, much so that the fibromyalgia that has been my companion for 17 plus years has reared it’s ugly head and taken me down.  During those times finding joy in the things I love to do is not an easy thing.

So, I decided I needed to get back the needlework for myself. To fell better. My daughter and I were at Michael’s and I came across the Lion Brand Brandagram yarns.  They are Woolspun colors that are prints and mixes and very easy to match.  I have a use single colors out of fear of not matching multiple colors up. This was on one of the end aisles and has four yarns side by side in the same color scheme.  So, all you need to do is put those ones that are grouped together on the shelf and you’ve got matched colors and patterns.  There is a booklet I got that has an easy scarf and hat set that uses one skein each of the four yarns in the scheme.  My 16 (soon to be 17) year old daughter liked the blues called Ocean.  Very easy pattern with beautiful results.  Given that the yarn was a dollar off each skein and I had a 20% coupon it was quite a deal.

So I bought this:

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Spent a little time doing this:

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And ended up with this:

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Of course Candace (the cat) had to get into the mix of things.  She’s not a big fan of me crafting because it doesn’t leave much room for her on my lap.

Anyway, that’s it.  Didn’t take me long which is what I wanted.  I just wanted a little project that could get me back into the swing of it and encourage me to do more.  After-all it was Mom who taught me to do all these crafty things and I really can’t (and won’t) let fibromyalgia get the better of me.

Next to work on…..maybe one of the numerous projects that I have to finish up. Or some socks. Or….who knows.  But, I will keep the momentum going.

 

Stitch on my friends!

 

Winding It Up!

I love, love, love crocheting and knitting.  I do a lot of it!  And…I’ve got a lot of yarn.  Small amounts of some colors, large amounts of others, all different textures.  I love yarn.  A new skein and a new project;  maybe a fiber I haven’t worked with before or a pattern that will challenge me thrills me. Of course, along with that comes some pretty messy hanks of yarn.  If you are a knitter or crocheter you know what that’s like.  Bags and bags (or drawers or boxes or baskets) of skeins that are hard to work with because they are really no longer skeins.  Frustrating to say the least.  I’m a bit lazy about winding it into balls and usually get pretty annoyed with the ball rolling all over the place.

Well, for Christmas this last year my mom got me a Boye Electric Yarn Winder.  Coolest thing ever!!! You just wind the yarn through some guides, secure it and turn it on.  In minutes you’ve got a nice center pull ball of yarn.  The balls are nice and loose so that the yarn comes out of the center easily so you don’t have a ball of yarn getting away from you.  Which, in my house, is an invitation for the cat to play (with the yarn, that is).  
I love it!  Thanks Mom!
So what I get is yarn that begins like this:
 And ends like this!
And this is how it works….
Have I said that I love this yet?!  I do.  I’m not sure what other brands are out there.  I know there are some with these wire arms that extend out.  Looked too complicated for me.  This one was nice and I’m so glad someone got it for me.  I do try to use up yarn that I have already before going out to buy more so this makes that more appealing to me.
Thanks for reading and as always…..Stitch On!!
Tracy

Cable blanket for Heather

Tonight I finished up a blanket I’ve been working on for my oldest daughter.  Done in cable stitch it was a joy to make.  I used Lion Brand Chunky in gray and it turned out just wonderful.  It’s smaller than anticipated but because of the weight I’m thinking it’s going to stretch out some.  A link for the pattern is in my previous post entitled Project Finish UP.  It’s a great cable pattern that someone who is fairly new to knitting could do.  Even with the ease of the pattern I think it’s got an impressive look to it because of how wide the cables are.  The cables were worked over 12 stitches which made it a bit trying at times to keep the first six stitches on the cable needle while I knitted the second six stitches but it can be done.  The pattern does instruct you to make it in panels but I don’t like doing seams so I just knitted them all together.  Glad I did.  Anyway, here it is:

I like it : )  I hope she will too.  I’ve laid it out on her bed as I’ll already be in bed tonight when she gets home (5am comes early for me) but wanted her to have it now.  
Stitch on my friends!!
Tracy

Crazy for Beanies

So, I’m on this total beanie kick.  I keep seeing different patterns and think, “I should try that one!”  So, that’s what I’ve been doing.  I made a gray one for my daughter.  The other two aren’t quite her style but I really enjoyed making them.  My favorite method of knitting is with double pointed needles so the last one (the rose colored one in the photo below) is the one I enjoyed the most.  Although the crocheted gray one was the quickest to make.  For the knitted hats I used Lion Brand Wool Ease.  The darker rose is Heather Rose and the lighter shade of rose is Blush Heather.  For the crochet hat I used Red Heart Heather Gray knitting worsted.

Tonight I started a hat called the Lucy Cloche.  I saw the pattern at our local yarn store, “Yarns on First”.  I’m using Cascade 220 to make it.  I’m excited to do something with a little more challenge.  This pattern has you use a 16″ circular needle to knit in the round.  I’ve used circular needles before but just for large projects like a blanket or shawl.  The first row was challenging but it’s already getting easier.  Pictures and thoughts to follow.
Stitch on my friends!

A Graduation Present for My Son

This last December my son graduated from Humboldt State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry.  So very proud of him.  He is the first of my kids to graduate from college.  The whole time he was at school I knew that I was going to knit something for him.  That something was the Nature in Natural afghan from Lion Brand.  I kind of went back and forth between that and The Tree of Life afghan but settled on the Nature in Natural.  The example was made in an off white color but I did Christopher’s in Moss green.

I can tell you that I was very nervous starting this pattern.  I’ve been knitting for a long time but don’t usually do anything more complicated than alternating knits and purls. This pattern was five pages long and used the cable needle a lot.  Of done a basic cable on a scarf before but nothing beyond that.  I learned  so much about knitting and  a lot about myself in knitting this blanket.  Exceeded my expectations by miles!!
Below are some photos of the finished product.

As I said earlier I learned a lot about knitting and a lot about myself.  Really learned all the intricacies of using a cable needle and am now hooked!  I want to knit everything with cabling in it.
As for myself, I’ve learned I’m unwilling to overlook even the littlest mistake.  I had gotten about a sixth of the way through the pattern and saw some mistakes I had made along the way.  Every time I looked at my work my eyes zeroed in on those mistakes.  Couldn’t take it anymore and ripped it out…all the way out. And started over.  Much to the disbelief of my fifteen year old who also knits.  She was right.  No one would have known I had made a mistake but I knew.  
It happened again when I got to the center panel with the tree.  Everything was going along nicely and then I noticed I had done a LPT instead of a RPT for a few rows where the branches started.  No one would have known unless they were a knitter but I did so……I took it off the needles, tore it out down to where the trunk ended and branches started, painstakingly put all 230 stitches back on the needles and picked up in the pattern where I left off.  
In a different time I would have let some of those mistakes go. But, I find I’m unwilling to leave it be.  And, I really feel really good about the knitting I’m doing now.  
BTW, gave the afghan to my son at a little graduation party we had.  He loved it : )