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

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

Project Finish UP

One thing I know about myself is that I’m a good starter.  What I wish I was, was a good finisher.  Therein lies the reason I have this:

This is a rather large basket that my mom gave me a while back. Hmmm. What can I do with this? Well, I had recently decided I was going to gather all those projects that needed finishing a put them together with what they need to be finished. If the project needed fabric, I’d put that in it. Fibers? I’d add those.  If I didn’t have what I needed to finish the project I wrote on an index card what I needed and put that with it.  This way, when I was ready to tackle it I had a immediate list of what I needed. Just grab the index card and head to the nearest craft store. It was quite a big job to get it all together because living in a tiny apartment I have stuff in many nooks and crannies.  Most people spring clean. Maybe? I do a New Year’s cleaning.  I just feel like if I start the year off with things clean and organized then that sets the pace for the year.  This year, I had a four day weekend to do it in and with the exception of being with my mom in the ER because of a fall (she’s totally o.k. now : ) whew!) I got everything done with the help of my son. Even repaired earthquake cracks. So… back to the basket. What’s inside.
A pillow cover my youngest made with latch hook that I’ve been saying I’ll put together for her. Technically it’s her project but I made a project to make it into a pillow.  Three baby wildlife counted cross-stitch pieces that need frames. A pig needlepoint that I want to have put in a coffee table tray. Need the tray. A black Halloween counted cross-stitch piece that is half done.  Not sure what happened to all the floss but I do have the pattern so just need thread.  A hexagon blanket that was made to be the Dr. Who wormhole that shows at the beginning of the show.  There was a felt Tardis on it that melted when I tried mount it with fuseable webbing.  Need felt for that.  It was a gift for my youngest and she’s never really had it because I’ve been lame in getting it fixed.  Then I have 3 needlepoint stocking cuffs. One is stitches away from being done, one is half done and one not even started. 3 kids, 3 cuffs, Then I’ll need to figure out a pattern for the stocking or have them made up for me. 

and…..a Father Christmas counted cross-stitch lap blanket that is half done. And some Christmas ornaments that need finishing up. Counted cross-stitch as well.

Then, there are more needle-points. The Celtic Knot which I mentioned in an earlier post which is a little more than halfway done. And my favorite, favorite thing I have is hard to explain.  So, I’ll save the explanation for another post but it is a three dimensional cat.  It’s done with different fibers, in different pieces and when I’m done with it I’ll have to send it to someone who will put it together for me.  Mom has done a couple of these.  She gave this to me about three years ago.  The fibers are pricey so I get a little bit at a time and so it goes.  
My strategy for getting this done is taking the smallest and/or easiest and getting that done first. Then the next and the next.  Probably the ones that require framing only will come first or the wormhole. That way I see some progress and don’t get discouraged. When I get to where there is just the needle-points left I’m going to knit a sweater I’ve wanting to make for about a million years.  That will be my reward for getting that done.
Before I start on those I’m going to finish what I’m currently working on which is an afghan for my oldest daughter.  I have started two different afghans for her and just didn’t feel like they were right.  So, I ripped them out!  And finally got smart and asked her what she would like.  She took the bait and showed me a pattern.  She likes cables. So, the blanket she picked out is from Lion Brand.It is the Cable Blanket Throw and is worked up in Wool Ease Thick and Quick. She wanted it in gray so I’m using Heather Gray.  It is five panels but I don’t like sewing knitting together nor do I do it well.  So, I’m using circular needles and knitting them all together.  It’s going really well.  And the nice thing is that she knows I’m making it.  It’s a birthday gift and her birthday was yesterday but she knows it will take a bit of time.  The pressure is off so I’m really enjoying it and  I love, love, love working with cable needles.
I’ve been home sick for a week, so I’ve made a lot of progress.  I have a cold that has turned into bronchitis. Nasty stuff. But, getting better.  I’ll take advantage of the time and hopefully have this to her soon.
Thank you for reading and Stitch On!
Tracy

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 : )