Tuesday, April 29, 2008

back from WHIBSIB!

I had SOOOOOOOO much fun this weekend!! On Friday I met some LSSK gals downtown Austin and we had lunch then hit a couple yarn stores. I got sock yarn (of course!) that is hand dyed and is a lovely purply/pink color, I think I will use it to do a pair of lacy socks since it will show off the pattern beautifully. I *think* it is superwash merino but I'd have to go look.

After we shopped we headed to the cabins. I was the first to arrive in my cabin and I remembered that Brenda, the cabin coordinator, said to get the check from the moderators cabin. At least, that's what I thought she had said. So I went down to their cabin and said hi, and said that i just needed to get the check for our cabin. They said "oh, ok!" and went on unpacking their cards. I thought maybe someone else in their cabin had it but then I thought hmmmm, maybe I'm wrong. All I can say is thank goodness for my blackberry! I looked up the email from Brenda and it said they would have the check in the office! OMG I'm such a dork. Hopefuly the mods didn't think I was mental LOL. Anyway got checked in and went to the cabin. Therese showed up a little while later. She was so sweet, she made everyone in our cabin matching market bags and stitchmarkers. She put other goodies in our bags too! We all loved the bags so much that most of us got yarn for them. Julia made one on Saturday (she refused to go to bed until she finished it and finally got it done about 1 am!) I'm working on a modifyed version of one, the original pattern says to use either size 11 or 13 needles but I'm using size 3s with much smaller yarn. I'm almost done and it is turning out CUTE! Although I learned not to knit on tiny needles while drinking wine. I had to rip it out 4 times Saturday night before finally giving up LOL. I also learned that I am not a good knitting teacher when I've been drinking. Teaching someone to knit 2 socks at a time on 2 circs while having a drinking game (everytime someone is counting, you take a drink!) is not an easy thing LOL. Oh well. It was a blast. On Saturday we all went into town and met up with most of our group at a cafe. We have photos of several of us knitting at the table while waiting for our food--my husband would die if I ever did that when we went out LOL. Of course the one thing I forgot, in addition to my tool container with my sewing needles and scissors and stitchmarkers, was my camera. ::::::::sigh:::::: I did get to see the photos others took though! After eating we went shopping in the little boutiques in Wimberly, had some WONDERFUL chocolate and found some great old yarn at an antique shop. I got a cone of mystery yarn, I'm thinking wool and acrylic blend? Anyway it is rust/red with flecks of other colors and is shiny, we're guessing 500 yards or so of dk weight, maybe worsted weight, for $2.75. It will make a great market bag. Then we went to the alpaca farm where I bought some lovely silk blend yarn that is purple and cream, that's what I'm using to make my mini market bag. Saturday night the whole group, or at least most of them, came up to our cabin. We had thought about going down to theirs but we were having hard times getting vehicles out due to the rain and the mud, and our senior member Nan wasn't able to walk down the huge hill then up the hill to their cabin. Actually, given that we had already gotten in to the wine, I don't think any of us could have maneuvered the hills LOL! It was nice though that everyone came to visit us! It was so neat meeting all the people I talk to online all the time. we showed off our tattoos (OMG one lady had one I so want to get, it was a butterfly perched on a ball of yarn!!) drank, ate, knit, talked and had a blast. I bought some beautiful stitch markers that double as earrings from Birdy, who's husband makes them. GEORGEOUS.

Sunday we packed up and I headed down to the Mod cabin again to pick up some yarn from Alice. She donated like 5 big bags full of yarn for Stitches From The Heart. I'm going to donate it, along with some needles from Nan and Julia, to the local nursing homes for preemie knitting. Many other ladies handed me preemie hats that I will mail off this week. I haven't counted them yet but it is a LOT. Thank you so much ladies!!!! I love looking at all the cute little hats! I had to pull each one out and everyone oohed and ahhhed over them, they're so adorable. :-)

I did actually knit this weekend too. I got about half a panel done for Meg's blanket, and I finished my mom's socks. I had meant to bring my chunky socks to finish too but forgot so I finished them today. Here's some photos:

my chunky socks. Knit with Lion brand homespun. Not ideal for socks but I wanted to try the pattern and hell, one chunky weight yarn is as good as another, right? Not really, but they did turn out OK. Really warm.

Mom's socks. I can't wait to give them to her!!!
meg's blanket. I crocheted them together with knit picks twist in cotton candy. I'm halfway thru a yellow panel. I think I'm just going to stick with the 3 colors, I was going to add blue but I think it would be too much. Pink purple and yellow are enough.

OK, well, I'm off to bed. It is 3:15 am. I went to bed at 10:30 b/c I'm still fighting allergies or whatever (ugh, I'm worried it is turning into bronchitis, I may have to drag myself to the doc tomorrow!) and I was exausted. I normally don't go to bed until 12 or 1. So after falling asleep so early I woke up around 2 and haven't been able to sleep since. I'm going to try again. Good night!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I'm leaving tomorrow for a girls' weekend away with a bunch of my online knitting friends. We all belong to the yahoo group Lonestar State Knitters. (If you're a woman and you live in Texas, check us out!) and 40+ of us are heading to some cabins in the country to knit, eat, laugh, chat, and relax. It is called WHIBSIB, and it took me a while to finally give in and ask what that meant, since no one else spoke up first. :-) (This is my first year on the group). It stands for What Happens In Buda Stays In Buda. Which is kinda funny since we're not going to Buda, but when it began (this is the 4th annual meeting) it was in Buda and the name stuck. Anyway, I'm SOOOOOO excited!!! I already packed wayyyyyyyyy more knitting than I could ever possibly do, especially since a lot of the time I'm going to be chatting, but I wanted to have a variety. I have the sweater I need to finish but stalled on the sleeve, the vest I started forever ago, 2 pairs of socks (might add a third if I don't finish them tonight), meghan's blanket and her pillow, and some blanket squares for the ladies in our group that are expecting or have grandchildren on the way. Our group members do blanket squares if they are willing and able, and once we get 24 squares they get sent to the mom/grandma for assembly. :-)

I can't wait!! Some of my local friends are going, and a lot of friends I've chatted with but never met. My friend Dawn was supposed to go and was going to ride with me but unfortunately she is in the hospital with pnemonia :-( I'm really bummed she couldn't go, and I know she is too. GET WELL SOON, DAWN! I called her cell today and her hubby answered, said they were thinking of keeping her in the hospital a couple more days. Poor thing!

Well, off to finish packing. Will post pics and stuff when I get back on Sunday. Please say a prayer for Dawn, and for my poor hubby who will be stuck with the 2 munchkins all weekend long. :-) Of course, he will probably spend a lot of time with his parents. . . .

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Free pattern--felted bag with needle felted design

I just got a needle felting tool and brush/mat thingy and wanted to try it out. Since I have lots of bags, I thought I'd make one for my Mom. It was one of those cast on till yey wide, knit until yey long things and it worked perfectly, so I thought I'd share the pattern with ya'll.

1 skein Cascade 220 (NOT superwash). I used a handpainted one but you could use solid too.
size 13 24" circular needle
stitch marker
needle felting supplies. For the yarn I used knit picks pallette sampler yarns.

Cast on 84 stitches, join in the round without twisting, and knit for approximately 17 inches. I knit for 18 inches and ended up having to use a second skein for the last row and bind off, if you only do 17 inches you should be able to get this out of just one skein. to make it thicker you could do garter stitch, but I used stockinette.

begin handles: knit 15 sts, bind off 12, knit 30 (including stitch already on needle after binding off), bind off 12 again, knit remaining 15.

next row: knit 15, cast on 15 (I used knitted cast on, you could also use the thumb method), knit 30, cast on 15, knit 15.

knit 3 rows and then bind off. Match up handles in the middle of front and back sides and sew bottom together using preferred method. turn bag inside out and sew corners perpendicular to bottom seam, about 1.25 inches long. this is meant to be a pretty flat bag with just a little bottom gusset. Felt in machine on hot with a pair of old jeans, checking every 5 minutes. finished size is approx 12" high by 10.5" wide. block by putting a couple large hardcover books into a plastic bag (to protect them from the moisture) and place them inside the bag. let dry fully before needle felting. (may take a couple days), rotating sides if needed.

needle felt desired design and you're done! :-) I found a photo of a flower I liked and used that, shading it with different yarns like you would a painting. It probably would have looked more felt-y if I had used thicker yarn, but overall I like the effect. With the pallette yarn, you get better results if you do not pull the yarn taut before using the felting needle.

before felting

close up of the design

the design and the photo I used as reference. I cut the flower out of the photo so I could use it as a template for the outline as well.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

what I'm knitting and planning to knit

Here are my finished socks. Not a great photo but it is hard to take a photo of your own feet :-) I call them my happy socks because looking at them makes me happy. They're comfy too! I have more of this yarn in a green colorway for socks for my mom but my Knitpicks Harmony size 4 tip broke :-( I was very bummed. Their customer service is great though, I called and they sent a new tip out right away for free. They also must be getting faster with their shipping or else I just got lucky because I placed an order with them and it shipped out within 24 hours!! Yayyyy! I should have it in plenty of time for my knitting retreat. My friend Dawn was also placing an order with them and offered to add mine to hers if I wasn't going to order $50 worth (you get free shipping for orders over $50) which was very sweet of her. Unfortunately I don't think I've EVER been able to find less than $50 worth of stuff I want from them :-D I love knitpicks. Their yarn is great, very affordable, and their accessories are top notch. OMG their needles are to die for.
OK so what I'm knitting. Well, I had a hard time deciding what to start next because there are so many things I want to do. :-) so I started a bag that will be felted, and then I'm going to try my hand at needle felting on it with a needle felting tool that jumped into my online cart when I was placing my knitpicks order ::::::sheepish grin::::::::: should be cute, I'll post pics. Then my page-a-day calendar had a cute kercheif on it today that is lace, and I have tons and tons and tons and tons of lace yarn that I could use. I think it will be good to wear while I'm driving with the top down to keep my hair out of my face. It is really pretty too, and it looks a bit challenging which I like. I need a challenge. I'm also finishing a castle purse for my daughter for her birthday and plan to add finger puppets to it as well, it is from a cute pattern in a kids' pattern book, sorry can't think of the name right now.
Knitpicks also had some really georgeous looking yarn, it was silk and baby alpaca dk weight. I really wanted to try it but didn't have a pattern in mind so I was a good girl and didn't buy it. However, I AM going to search for a pattern for it :-) I'm thinking some sort of sleeveless top for myself. That will look nice.
once I get my knitpicks stuff I also have several socks planned. I ordered more sock yarn of course, I wanted to try their felicity self striping yarn. The colorway I really wanted, aurora, was out of stock I guess b/c it wasn't listed on their site anymore but I got a few other ones that were nice. Blue for dh, pinky/purple for me and an earthtone one, maybe for my dad. Socks are fun!! I also ordered some size 3 circs b/c it occured to me that it was the one size I didn't have in fixed or harmonies. Only in my Boye needles. I got the metal ones, when the sizes get that small I feel safer with metal b/c I dont' want them to snap. like my poor size 4 :-(
for my knitting retreat I'm going to work on finishing my dd's blanket, a vest I've been working on forever and truthfully haven't touched in a while and socks. Should keep me busy for the weekend!! :-)
Happy knitting, I'm off to bed.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Still here!

Sorry it has been so long! I've been busy. Busy knitting, busy being a mom, and most of all, busy rearranging my knitting stuff. It had been stuffed into a closet in various rubbermaid containers and hanging mesh shelves and cloth baskets and shoeboxes and plastic bags and loose on the floor. . . well, you get the picture.

We have a cubby room off our kitchen/breakfast area, that we used to call the mail room. When we first moved in my dh used it for his office but he wanted something with a door so he took over the dining room. It's been nothing but a junk collecting room since then so I decided to move my stuff in.

for stash control I thought about getting baskets to put on the shelves, but even with the 40% off sale at Michaels (still going on BTW, thru Sunday, if you are in need of baskets) I couldn't find ones I liked in the size I needed and in the price I was willing to spend. I checked Target for rubbermaids and found these on sale for $1 each! WOOHOOO! Since I was thinking I was going to have to spend $3 or $4 each minimum, and I needed like 12, I was thrilled to find them that cheap.

one side has cubbards below the counter, the other side is a foot space. You can see one of my new totes, it is the pink and grey one. Very nice tote, very reasonably priced, and all proceeds go toward charity. They had them in the Stitches From The Heart newsletter last time. I'm not sure if they are listed on the website or not, but if you're looking for a tote bag please check them out. :-) several styles and colors!

my other new tote. This one is smaller and is perfect for taking to Chicks with Sticks. :-)

OK, on to actual knitting. What have I been working on? Well, actually not too much. I've only worked on a couple things this week!! I have a preemie blanket to finish, I started the twin sized afghan for my dd (the envelope afghan sideways, strips in pastel colors of simply soft and crocheted together with Knit Picks Twist in Cotton Candy. ) I have 1 strip done and one about a third of the way done.

I also was in the mood for a really quick project one day so I made this. No real purpose, just I saw it on someones blog and thought "I have that pattern and have been meaning to make it for a while. . .

I got this Cascade Fixation a few weeks ago and had a pattern in mind but wasn't looking forward to the gusset (I hate picking up all those stitches!) then my friend Dawn emailed me a lace sock pattern that was perfect, toe up and short row heels. Of course I had to start them that day LOL. They are moving really fast too, I'm done with the heels and ready to start the leg. That will have to wait until tomorrow though, as it is now 1:15 am. :-) My LYS was having a final 4 sale when I went there for Chicks with Sticks, and I can never resist a sale, so I got more Fixation (LOVE LOVE LOVE this yarn!) in a green striped colorway (I think I'm going to make these same socks for my mom in the green) and some solid navy blue for socks for my hubby.

close up of the lace, still can't see it well in the photo but trust me, its' there. These socks are SO me!! Very purple. :-) Soft and comfy too, I can't wait until they are finished so I can wear them!!!

Ok, off to bed I must go. Good night!!