Wednesday, January 25, 2006

While I have no knitting content to report, I've been doing a lot of sewing in the last week. My mom sent me the diaper bag turned knitting bag she used when I was a kid. It was made of lime green corduroy and lined with a green and pink calico. I have always wanted a bag like it and so my mother-in-law showed me how to measure the original bag to make a pattern. Soon, I had three bags made! The first bag was electric pink canvas with a light green polka dot liner. Once I realized how easy the bag was, I made two more - an electric blue one with large blue flower print on the inside and a red one with a black polka polka dot liner. I only thought to take pictures of the pink one. Anyway, I hope this will be a great knitting bag. It will certainly hold multiple projects!

Also, I've just learned that the baby I've been knitting for will be a girl and she's due in a week or so. I found some flannel print for a little blanket for her as well. I bought the flannel because Ihad a blanket as a kid made out of the same stuff and I just like it a lot. Here's the baby blankie.

I'll be back to knitting soon with some FO pictures from the blue baby sweater. Thanks to everyone who emailed me about the Colinette. I think I will stick to the scarf - you are all right - it is good scarf yarn!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Not much knitting but CHECK IT OUT - Phildar entered the modern era and now you can order yarn online. The new site is great. Also, the free downloads used to come without pictures. Yeah, I know - how helpful is that??? Now, they have pics. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, this marks the end of my knitting funk. Check out their site!

In other news, the knitting group exploded! Normally we have 3-4 knitters. I counted 14 on Saturday! It was great. I'm really excited that there are that many knitters around interested in the group.

Finally, I'm really looking forward to Secret Pal 7! I've corresponded with both the person I have for a pal and the one who has me. It should be fun. My pal is a runner and a student too so I've got some good non-knitting ideas too.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Here comes the Secret Pal 7 Questionnaire:

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?
Only somewhat. I love Lion Brand Cotton-Ease and Wool-Ease isn't bad either but I won't use Red Heart. I don't mind acrylic (especially if it makes the yarn washable) but I don't knit with anything that is 100% acrylic. Also, even though I'm vegan, I use animal fibers. It's less a political thing and more a dietary thing for me.

2. Do you spin? Crochet? Nope.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? In some pretty vases that never get used for flowers.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I learned first as a little kid but I really got started six years ago. Intermediate to advanced.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Amazon list only has a couple things on it. I'm more of a glutton for my Knit Picks wish list. Email me if you want that. I warn you in advance: it's long and frivolous.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) I can't say I'm really into scents. I like a lot of things just nothing too overpowering.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? Sweet tooth, you bet. Unfortunately (well, fortunately for my health, I guess), I'm vegan and don't eat anything with meat/dairy/eggs. That cuts out a lot of sweets. I'm a sucker for dark chocolate without milk or butter.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Knitting is really my only crafty habit.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) Anything but country and metal. I love classic jazz and world music. Yes, I can play mp3s.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand? I love blue. There aren't any colors I dislike but I admit to being the only knitter in blogland that doesn't like variegated, multi-colored, pooling and self-striping yarns.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? Married with two smelly dogs (see flickr account).

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Scarves, hats, mittens, no ponchos.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? I'm currently going through a Knit Picks phase. I don't buy expensive yarn- I'm really cheap. I like washable yarns like Dale of Norway Falk, KP Shine, Essential, Cascade 220 Superwash, Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, etc. In addition to being cheap, it appears that I'm also lazy. When it comes to socks and baby knits, I don't intend to do any hand washing. I readily knit with feltable wool for scarves, mittens, hats, etc.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? 100% acrylic, poofy scarf yarn, self-striping yarn

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? I'd have to say either baby sweaters or mittens. Maybe socks. I'm just looking below at old blog posts and that seems to cover it.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? It depends on the season, my mood and how cold I am!

17. What are you knitting right now? A blue baby sweater (see picture below).

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Yes!

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Straight. I know it means sewing (which I dislike), but I like the feel of straight needles better than circs.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Bamboo or any kind of wooden needles.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Nope.

22. How did you learn to knit? My mom taught me when I was 6 but my little brother taught me when I grew up.

23. How old is your oldest UFO? Oldest UFO that I haven't abandoned entirely? Probably a year.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird? I love dogs and I wish I could adopt ten. I don't watch TV so I couldn't name any animated characters.

25. What is your favorite holiday? July 4th because there are lots and lots of fresh tomatoes around then. I could live a happy life with only fresh tomatoes to eat.

26. Is there anything that you collect? Bad habits? No, not much else.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? None. I never buy mags. Occasionally a Phildar one but it's pretty rare. When I started knitting, I went a little nuts on books and now I'm not really pattern-deficient!

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? Not really (see above). I have a pretty decent collection of books and more size 8 needles than I'd care to admit. I'm always game for yarn. :-)

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Steeking. I'm way too scared to actually try it without adult supervision. Maybe in another lifetime. Besides, my fair isle knitting is confined to small projects like mittens, hats and socks.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I love socks. I'm sort of a slow sock knitter. I didn't know what to measure so here are three different spots:
Around lower part of calf: 11"
Around ankle: 8.25"
Length from heel to toe: 8.75"

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) 12/03

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Well, in an attempt to lure myself out of the knitting funk, I started a small baby sweater for a baby that's due in less than a month. It's going quickly but eh, I'm not really into it. Here's a progress pic:
The pattern is from Debbie Bliss Baby Knits and I used Knit Picks shine. It is a little old man sweater:

Also, I received a couple of balls of Colinette Prism as a gift but I'm really struggling with a purpose for them. I never knit with hand-dyed yarn and I'm not really fond of it. Still, it is gorgeous yarn. I started a garter stitch scarf but I'm not sold on it. Any ideas? Here is what the yarn looks like. I have two balls (about 240 yds) and it calls for size 10.5 needles.

Happy knitting!

Monday, January 02, 2006

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I'm back to blogging... well, sort of. You see, I guess I'm ready to return to blogging but the problem is I'm burned out on knitting. This happens to me every January so I anticipate light posts this month. It will give me more time to read and comment on everyone else's blog- how about that?

Holiday (i.e. deadline) knitting always runs me down. My hands, wrists and head are tired of knitting. I tried desperately to motivate myself by starting a new baby cardigan and knitting continental style instead of English, but I got bored. Since I can't knit much, I've been spending my time reading, sleeping and doing the NYT crossword puzzle. My LYS had a huge sale all last week and I didn't even poke my head in. I ought to regret that later but my stash is just fine, thank you very much! This was made clear to me over the holidays when my sister-in-law came to visit and wanted me to teach her English knitting because she hates the continental way. She asked if I had spare yarn she could practice on. I think she went home with 4-5 balls! I hope she keeps it up. She absolutely adores scarves and I think she'd enjoy making some of her own. Besides, as we all know - knitting is great stress relief!

Also, I'm returning to a "diet" (poor word choice since it's more like a lifestyle) I followed this summer, a slightly modified version of the McDougall Diet. I'm not trying to lose weight - I just want to eat better. The basic deal is that you eat only fruits, veggies, high-fiber starches, no oil and nothing made with refined flours. I modify it a little by adding lite soy milk and soy yogurt. I don't particularly care for fake meat, seitan or tofu unless they are very well hidden so I get my protein in fake dairy, tempeh and beans. McDougall is not much of a departure from my regular diet since I'm already vegan, but I have a bad habit of letting breads and vegan sweets sneak in, leaving me feeling lethargic and sluggish. I've noticed a lot of us in blogland have the post-holiday blues (what I call a massive sweets hangover).

I don't recommend McDougall for the casual dieter because it is a real commitment, especially for non-vegans who aren't used to living without animal products. As far as weight loss is concerned, I swear by Weight Watchers. I lost almost 30 lbs on WW a few years ago and I think their carrot-and-stick approach is a winner. There was nothing like having a mean and cranky old lady ready to weigh me at the scale every week to motivate me to forego the cookie. Over time, I learned to control myself without the cranky b*tch. ;-) One thing you can't really count on WW for is exercise. They really don't emphasize it enough but then again, that's probably how they entice new members. Successful members learn pretty quickly that they can eat more if they get out and move.

Best of luck to you dieting bloggers and remember - each day is a new day. If you fall off the wagon, you just get right back on - no guilt required.