Monday, December 24, 2007

Catching up - again

Just thought I would blog since it's been a while. Have been too busy lately, but I guess we are all way over our heads with the holidays, work and trying to maintain some semblance of family life.
Last weekend Heidi participated in the local Christmas Ice Show. There were 4 songs in which she skated with 3 of the costumes provided, since they were group numbers and all the outfits had to look alike. She had one solo - skated to Once Upon a December from Disney's Anastasia. Lisa wanted the costume to be similar to the movie, yellow with a blue sash. Of course there is only one way to get that - make it. Luckily we have a great small shop that sells only knits - including Lycra - for swimsuits and leotards. But she didn't have any yellow, so the shop owner dyed the fabric to create the costume. I spent all day Sunday Dec 9 making the costume but It really turned out pretty and she skated so well. The costume really fit the routine and so many of her skater friends complimented her on the dress. I have a home-made video of the performance and am trying to learn how to upload it to the web (file is too large) so all the family can log on and view it. Meanwhile, here are some photos of her solo:

This is her spread eagle position - and here is the ending:

OK, now to my Christmas knitting. I finished the vest for Heidi and her American Girl Doll! I don't know if she will wear it or not, but it turned out cute. I have to get out today and find buttons - then wrap it for the tree.
I have a friend that I wanted to knit something for as a Christmas gift, and gave myself only a few days to get it done since I wouldn't be seeing her again before Christmas after last Thursday - 12/20. I thought the Tickled Pink scarf from the latest Knitter's would be great, but wanted to change it somewhat, varying the shades of the same color.

Well it was a disaster - butt ugly actually. Here is how far I got before I decided to abandon it.
Isn't it horrible? Looks like a bunch of snakes. Who would wear this around their neck?
Anyway I had some Rowan Wool/Cotton in a cream color and knit another scarf with the same pattern but didn't get it done in time. I'll have to give it to her after the holidays. The scarf pattern was easy to knit, once I put it on shorter needles. It is just 4 stockinette stitches knit from bobbins and occasionally twisting the yarns to join two strips for 4 rows. I really enjoyed knitting it, but since it is in such a bland color, I don't know if she will ever wear it. If I had time, I would try to dye it some color. Sorry that I don't have a picture of the finished scarf. Once blocked it looked good, otherwise it kinda just bunches up into a long skinny strip.
How is your knitting going. WFAT finished? I'm trying to decide what to bring along for my trip to your house. I have several projects going, but mostly with multiple colors - making it necessary to bring along more yarn than I want to carry.
Hope you have great holidays! Looking forward to our trip to your house. Next year, Kansas for Christmas?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

WFAT - Underway

WhereFore Art Thou (WFAT) is underway. I love the design of this pattern and the lace is easy to knit up. Today's fashions crack me up. Everyone is questionably expecting - it's why I've nicknamed this sweater WFAT. It could mean a lot of things - Wonderfully FAT. Wickedly FAT. Whoa FAT! Whoknowsmaybeshe'sjust FAT? In any case.... that's what this is becoming. I took this photo on Friday. I'm now through three repeats of the lace pattern. I secretly hope that I'm done with it by this weekend so I can wear it to the Steeplechase Races, but I'm going to be realistic. I'll have a back up outfit in mind - just in case.

Oh, and Ravelry is AWESOME. You should absolutely sign up if you haven't already. I bought some cheap chunky yarn to knit the girls snoods this weekend. A snood is designed to keep a greyhound's ears and neck warm in cool weather, as they have the tendency to catch a chill easily. A friend of mine calls my dogs "snake dogs." When he heard that I was knitting a snood for them, he asked if a snood was hood for a snake dog. Here's a picture of the snood I am making for them, thanks to a great new friend I've met on Ravelry.

Lizard Ridge and Gloves

My local yarn shop is doing a Lizard Ridge KAL so I am knitting along with them, even though I can't make the meetings. Here is my progress so far! 7 of the 24 blocks done. The color isn't so good in the picture, but these blocks are ADDICTING! Don't start them unless you are really ready to spend all your time knitting blocks. They are a great portable project, in case you are traveling soon.

I am having fun with the blocks and the different Noro Kuyreon yarn! This blanket should really be warm! I just hope I don't felt it by mistake! I have an afghan that I knit for my mother in the 1960s out of some wool and I know she must have machine washed and dried it because it is slightly felted. Thank goodness she took it out of the dryer when she did or it might have been a potholder when she finished.

My other project has been the gloves from Colinette Jitterbug sock yarn. I've found that I would rather knit gloves than socks so I'm jsure these won't be my last. I have some Louet Gems sport weight that I'm going to use for some gloves as well. I haven't tied in the loose ends on this picture, so I won't be wearing them with the strings hanging!

I used the Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd for the directions to knit the gloves. Do you have that book? It was the first place I looked when I thought I would knit gloves. Made the process easy.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

That is so cooooool!

I am so delighted to pass to you the "official black sheep of the family" baton! HAHAHAHAHA! OK, so do each of your aunts get one for Christmas?

Seriously, that is such a wonderful thing to do. Just think of the stories you'll tell. I can't wait to see it all! No pun intended. With your experience, maybe we can do one that is knitting related!

My alpacha gloves were cute but not too serviceable. The yarn doesn't have the stretch you need for the gloves to fit the hands. So,now I'm using some Colinette Jitterbug sock yarn to knit some gloves. To be on the safe side, I am using K1P1 from the cuff all the way to the fingers. The gloves look kinda strange, but they fit and hopefully will stay on.

Here is my latest finished project.

It's my red sweater from the Red Sweater KAL. I need to post the picture to that blog as well.
I have too many UFOs to even begin blogging about them.
I'll write more later, meanwhile keep the posts coming!

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Wait is OVER!

I finally got my invitation to Ravelry on Thursday and the buzz is worth it. What an awesome site. My screen name is greytblackdog. So if you're on, come by and say hi. I've not gotten a ton of stuff added to my list yet, but it is an incredible community. The groups are awesome. I've only joined 2 so far, but I'm sure I'll find more. If you've not signed up on the waiting list to get an invite, you should do so NOW. It only took me 2 months to get mine!

So, here's my surprise. Check out the calendar 11 of my favorite greyhound women and I made this summer for 2008. It's getting a lot of attention in the greyhound community and we hope eventually the national media will pick it up (which we're working on). Maybe this will make the official black sheep of the family!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Glad you are back!

I'm so glad you are back on the blog! I've missed you and what you are working on.
The current project looks great! I'll bet it works up fast and will make a cute vest. Where did you get the pattern?

At Stitches Midwest, I met 3 women from Wichita and we hung around together. Since then we've stayed in touch and this last Saturday took a day trip to Guthrie to the yarn shop there, S.W.A.K. for a day of shopping. This shop is wonderful with friendly staff and a fantastic inventory. She carries a lot of Berroco yarn and patterns. The shop has a spring workshop each year, this year in May and my Wichita knitting buddies and I are going to go to it this year. On the stash ehancement expedition, I bought enough yarn to do a sweater using Reality by Artful Yarn. The colorways are all named after TV Reality shows, Survivor, Amazing Race, The Bachelor, etc. I bought enough of the Amazing Race to knit a cool jacket sweater. Can't wait to get it started!
I just finished a pair of alpaca gloves for Heidi. When she ice skates her hands get so cold. She buys gloves (and of course looses them) wherever - WalMart,etc and they are all synthetic - not waterproof and not warm. I uses some Alpaca sock weight yarn - I think Cascade yarn but not sure. It was my first attempt to knit gloves which I did over the last weekend, but got the fingers too short, so I had to rip them down and re-knit the fingers. I could have started over and re-knit the entire glove in the time it took to rip and re-knit just the fingers! I enjoyed knitting them so much that on our yarn shopping trip I bought some Jitterbug by Collinette (sock weight wool) and am knitting another pair - only this time for me! I'll post a pic when I get home and can take one.
Just glad we are back to blogging now.

Friday, September 28, 2007

So Proud of You!

First of all, I am so proud of you. I knew the first time I saw that wrap that it was going to be a huge hit! I only wish I could have been there to see you model it down the runway!

I've been delinquent on this site and to my knitting besides some baby items like hats and socks this summer. Between moving and work, I just haven't felt much like knitting or being crafty at all. Not sure why. But I'm currently working on Juliet, which I can't wait to finish. Being a yarn snob, I'm embarrassed to say that I'm using some Patton's yarn that's 75% acrylic 25% wool, but it was the exact color and weight I was looking for. Go figure. It's working up nicely, though so no complaints.

I love your new site. It's awesome. Have you checked out Ravelry yet? I've been on the waiting list since August 19 for an invite and I'm getting closer every day (I'm number 26,914 on the invite list and there's now only 7242 people in front of me!). I hope by early October to be online. You should jump in line too. I think I'm going to be addicted once I get in.

We also are fostering a greyhound right now. Check out our adventures with Charlotte at our greyhound blog GreytBlackDog. I'll also have a big surprise for you next week (no it has nothing to do with a baby or expecting one) so check back here on Sunday, October 7.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

New web site

I'm not sure what's happening here. I haven't seen a blog post from you in a long time. I hope it wasn't anything that I said or did. But thinking you are just too busy, I thought I would begin to blog again.

The motivating force for this is my new website! The owners of Cascade Yarns encouraged me to do a web site with my pattern for the Wright Wrap, so here is what I was able to get together. http://www.nansknitting.comFor some reason I can't get the hyperlink to work, but if you copy and paste, that should work.

I'm thrilled that I now have a website and the ability to pay for the pattern through Paypal, download it to a .pdf file and start knitting. You can also link to
Cascade yarn since the wrap is made from Cascade 220 worsted weight yarn.

I was very lucky that my daughter has a friend who does websites professionally and through email she has created this web site for me. From it you can purchase the patterns for the Wright Wrap as well as the other designs I have published. I'll be working to add some other designs as well. Let me know what you think.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stitches Midwest

I went to Stitches Midwest this weekend. Flew into Chicago on Friday, shopped all most of the day on Friday in the Market. It was fabulous! Just when you think you can't possibly knit another thing, along comes wonderful stuff. I bought a kit to make a wonderful wrap designed by the person, Maggie (sorry I forgot the last name) who does the wonderful Irish designs! The kit came with her latest book! I had to ship it home since I am not going home til Friday of this week. Can't wait to start it. I bought enough Tango to make 3 scarves, and enough yarn to do 2 vests.

The greatest part of the weekend was that I chose to show my Wright Wrap - from our previous post at the Student Show on Saturday's banquet.

I had been watching some fabulous pieces be shown, absolutely beautiful lace - which is really hard to do, so I was getting embarassed about showing the wrap and wished I could back out, but couldn't. My right arm is in a splint due to a tendon injury, so I got someone else to model it for me. I was so surprised when she started on the runway at all the applause! Then she turned around to show the back and you could actually here the audience do a collective gasp. Needless to say, I was so proud. Then at the end of the show they decided to give 3 prizes and they called my name as a winner of one! They were polite enough not to name them 1st, 2nd and 3rd, so I really don't know what they thought except it was a winner! I received a certificate for $100.00 off a 2008 Stitches event. But an even better situation is that I met the owners of Cascade Yarns and they were thrilled that the wrap was made from Cascade 220. So thrilled that Jean told me to send her the pics for her to put in their company newsletter. I hads stopped by her booth on Friday and showed her the pictures of the wrap. She thought the pics were great but told me after the show that the real object was so much more breathtaking. She also said that they always had extra yarn, (seems they bag into bags of 10 but the suppliers don't always send an even number of skeings) so for my next piece she can give me all the yarn I need to make it! Others were taking my picture in the wrap - which I had to model on stage in order to get the prize. Others stopped me after the show and on Sunday to tell me how much they liked the wrap, including some of the instructors who had stayed for the show. Needless to say, I am still pretty excited. This was an awesome moment in my knitting career.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

OK, I should never have looked at this web site, I found the knitalong sites and am hooked! There are too many great patterns and projects that I want to do. I found the Irish Hiking Scarf Knitalong and pattern. I didn't join the KAL, but bought Knit One, Crochet Too, Gourmet Collection, Creme Brulee DK Superwash Merino and knit the scarf. Here is the finished scarf. I love it and think I will enjoy wearing it.

I've knit too many scarves this winter. Not sure why except they are easy and fast to knit.
Any thoughts about going to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival? I'm still thinking about it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Too funny

That's too funny. You know what? I found the book on sale at Herrschner's and ordered a copy last week. I'm looking forward to knitting some matching sweaters.
I'll post those later.

I've also joined the Red Sweater Knit Along. I wanted to knit a jacket so I liked the thoughts of red and a knitalong. This is the first one I've joined and hopefully I'll have a jacket at the end. I swatched and cast on just before the Super Bowl.

Here is my pattern and progress so far.

I chose Knit Picks Elegance - 70% baby alpaca and 30% silk in Barn Red.
I'm also joining the Traveling Cables Cardigan Knitalong. I'm using the same yarn in Silver. I'm looking forward to this challenging pattern. Here's the picture of the pattern.

I haven't started this one yet, but I'll post progress to both the Knitalong and our blog.
Now, I think we should plan a trip to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in May. I went in 2001 and really enjoyed it. It would be fun to go and perhaps meet some other bloggers and podcasters. It's a great wool and yarn event.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Perfect Knitting Book for You

Mom and I found the perfect knitting book for you and Heidi, Knits for Girls & Dolls. We thought you would have fun knitting matching sweaters for Heidi and her doll, Sasha. As far as knitting books go, this one is as reasonably priced as they come! $13 bucks! How can you beat that. I can't wait to see what you create. I looked at all the major retailers to find a copy of this book without luck. The Home Sew catalog that my mom buys doll shoes and such out of for her cloth dolls was the only place I could find a copy.

I've finished all the pieces of the Fisherman's Shrug and now the assembly begins. I hope to start sewing tomorrow night. Then all that is left to do is pick up the stitches around the collar and knit the ribbing. Not too bad. It's been cold enough to wear it the last few days. Maybe I'll be able to finish it and enjoy it next week.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Looks good to me

There is something to be said for finishing a project. I think the dishclothes are perfect for that. I must say that I haven't ever knit one. Isn't it a good feeling to finish a project and without all those seams to sew and ends to weave in?

My mother, your Nana, not only knit them but also crocheted dishclothes. I am sure it must have been the same reason, just to have a project finished in a short time. She also did some pot holders - I think crocheted - but I still have a couple that she made. I haven't used them very much so they are ratty from use. They should last many more years that way.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dishrag Diva

Well, I've got several unfinished projects in several bags laying around my office/knitting room - the Einstein Coat, Fisherman's Shrug and Clapotis to name just a few. But, this week I've focused on knitting up five (count em') five dishcloths that will be a gift.

I have to admit, I've become slightly obsessed. I'm knitting dishcloths like they are going out of style, starting on number six this afternoon - for no good reason. Maybe it's because I have so many unfinished articles laying around that it makes me feel good to finish something in just a couple of hours. It sure isn't because I like to do dishes!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Happy New Year

Sounds as if your new year has been busier than mine. I'm so glad you have learned how to work the knitting machine. Would you recommend it to other knitters? I've thought about getting one, but it's never gotten beyone thinking about it. Next thing you know you'll be turning out sweaters faster than you can buy yarn to support the habit!

My new year hasn't been too great so far. I went to Jersey City on Jan 2nd and worked a few days. I didn't feel well - felt as though I was getting a cold all week and by last weekend had a full blown cold. I was due to leave again on Tuesday for Jersey City again, but didn't feel like going. I've spent all week at home and finally decided on Thursday that I needed to finish some knitting projects. The only reason I wanted to finish, of course, was so I could start a new one! I did complete the Nora Gaughan sweater from Interweave knits. I made it in black Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks. There are one row of eyelet stitch on each side of the front and back. I chose to weave some satin ribbon through the eyelets. I think it looks pretty good. Today I made a couple of boot length skirts to wear with the sweater. I'm hoping that it will work for me to wear at work.

We're having a weekend of bad weather - sleet storms and expecting snow tomorrow. It was 70 degrees here on Thursday afternoon, then didn't reach 20 during the day yesterday. We had one sleet storm yesterday and another today. Expecting snow tomorrow. So the knitting weather is great. I started the Harmony sweater with Louet Gems Merino. I'm using the blue colors which I don't think show up right in the picture. This is the right front, started the left back today. It requires concentration to keep up with the rows, but I like the way it is looking at present.

Can't wait to see how the finished sweater looks.

I'm due to leave tomorrow for Spartanburg SC, late in the afternoon. I'm not sure that'll happen, given that the weather is calling for 3 - 6 inches of snow tomorrow. I can't take this sweater with me, since there are so many balls of yarn. I wouldn't have room for clothes, but if I can find a way to take it, I will do so.

Christmas was so great, thanks for all you and your family did to help us enjoy it. Heidi still talks about wanting to live in NC. I'm not totally opposed to that idea, as I am getting pretty tired of flying from Wichita. I can't seem to be able to make a connection to save my life. This last trip to Newark arrived 1 hour late on the outbound flight and then I missed my connection on Chicago - due to a delayed flight from Newark to Chicago, so I had to stay overnight in Chicago on Friday. I'm just as glad to be home sick this week. At least I don't have to deal with the delayed and missed flights.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Nothing Has Happened

In spite of a motivational rally cry from a perfect stranger, I've made no additional progress on my Claptois. So in the absence of knitting to share, I though maybe a little caffeine motivation would help get things going. So, if I were coffee, what kind of coffee would I be? Let's see what the all knowing Internet has to say?

You Are a Frappacino

At your best, you are: fun loving, sweet, and modern

At your worst, you are: childish and over indulgent

You drink coffee when: you're craving something sweet

Your caffeine addiction level: low

It is true - the Internet does know all! I hope to have knitting progress of some sort to show later today.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Let's Make Something Happen

I'm not as positive of a person as I want to be. I want to be positive. I really do, but I'm more of a realist. You know, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst kind of outlook on life. But today, I sat next to a very positive businessman who let you know he planned to rub some of that positive energy off on every person he talked to on the phone.

I was sitting at a B&N while a colleague finished up a business meeting before we went to the airport and the positive businessman sat down at the table in the cafe next to me. At first I thought he was talking to someone he knew when he answered his phone "Joey Brown, Let's Make Something Happen." How many people answer the phone with a rally cry? While I thought this was a one time fluke, he proved me wrong by answering the phone 25 or more times over the next two hours the exact same way, sometimes asking someone to hold and picking up call waiting on the other line this exact way. So here's what I figure:

1. He has great self-esteem
2. He truly believes his product/service can make things happen. What that product/service is, I have no idea. I never heard him say. Obviously a soft sale kind of guy.

I attempted to "make something happen" with my Clapotis on the flight today. I'm slowly but surly getting there. It took me about 30 minutes to figure out where I was in the pattern, but I got things back on track and did a couple of the straight row repeats. I hope to be starting on the fourth section by the return trip home.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

On the Road Again

I leave for Scottsdale, AZ tomorrow for the rest of the week. While I didn't take the time to pack my actual luggage for tomorrow's trip tonight, I did spend 20 minutes deciding what I would take with me to knit.

I bought new yarn, a new US 5 circular and printed out the instructions on how to knit two socks at the same time on two circular needles for this trip over the weekend. But when it came down to packing time, I decided I wanted to finish my Clapotis that I started oh about six months ago. I just hope I can figure out where the hell I am in the pattern. So in she goes for my trip to Scottsdale tomorrow along with some directions, an empty floss case and my iPod with new music to jam to and podcasts to catch up on. I should be set for my 4.5 hour flight there and back, right?

I'll get to the sock thing on next week's trip.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year Tension

This year has been full of tension, so far. Knitting machine tension that is. I've enjoyed playing with my new Christmas toy - an Ultimate Knitting Machine.

Now that I think about it, it's been a long time since I got a real toy at Christmas. I really don't remember the last time I got something that I could play with. I think that it might have been a badminton/volleyball set that was a gift to both me and my sister when I was 15. Now, I'm not athletic in the least bit and I'm not sure why my parents thought it would be a good gift. Maybe they were hoping that I would suddenly become coordinated or graceful. While neither of these two things happened, I do remember playing with it, so maybe it wasn't a bad choice after all. When it comes to gifts, I'm more of a clothes, jewelry and music kind of girl.

This year my mother made another good choice and gave me an Ultimate Knitting Machine. I thought I'd like to have something to use to knit things that require a lot of stocking knit or large pieces, like blankets. After playing with it while being banished to my sewing room for two days straight while my husband watched football, I think it will be perfect for those two things.

I knit 200 rows of 50 stitches in about 20 minutes, and that's with screwing up several times. It made me want to open the window and shout - "I'm the fastest knitter in the world." Prior to this 20 minutes of success, there were plenty of lessons learned. The most important - tension is EVERYTHING! Even the smallest amount of tension on the yarn impacts the needles. When there is too much tension in the wrong place, the needles hang up. When there isn't enough tension in the right place, the stitches fall off the needles and you have a mess on your hands.

I've experimented with making cables, changing colors and doing a bit of fair isle. It really is very easy. The hardest part is really doing the ribbing. The machine knits with the wrong side facing you, so all the purls are facing you. In order to create a knit stitch on the side facing you, you unhook the stitch, unravel and reladder it so the stitch is now basically reversed. I stink at reladdering normally, but with the weighed hem that hangs on the bottom of your knitting it's not so bad, but it is time consuming. Right now I think I could hand knit ribbing faster than I could reladder it on the machine and evidently a lot of people think this because there are instructions for how to remove your knitting from the machine and hand knit the ribbing in the instruction guide.

I'm using Caron Simply Soft right now to experiment and make baby blanket. It's wicked cheap and the machine likes it - which is the most important thing right now. Of course the edges curl into a tight little tube without any blocking. I think I have figured out a way I can create a garder stitch boarder while it is on the machine, but this requires me having to reladder four or five stitches on the left and right sides of the blanket, then pick up the bottom and top hems and do those by hand. Being a total yarn snob I'm trying not to think about all the acrylic that my hands are touching and just focusing on the fact that people who have babies need something they can wash over and over again and they won't care that it isn't a natural fiber - although, the sweaters and booties I will hand knit will be of a cotton blend I'm sure.

Needless to say, I have a lot of playing to do to decide how I want to use this new toy. There's a lot of details and handwork involved in this machine, even though it is every quick for basic kind of stuff, you've obviously got to know what you're doing to make anything useful. More tomorrow. Happy New Year!