Thursday, January 28, 2010

Crazy kitties!

What is it with cats? Have you ever noticed that if you lay your knitting down or decide to block something, your cat is all over it? I'm sure my cats aren't the only ones that do that.

Remember how we have been cleaning and organizing at our house this January? Well, the other day Katie cleaned her room and closet ... very thoroughly (thanks Katie). She found an old pair of ballet slippers that I felted for her a long time ago and dropped them on the counter in my bathroom. Of course I didn't bother to move them from that resting spot, so the other morning when I was getting ready to go to the shop, my cat Hughie (who follows me around like a puppy dog) was on the bathroom counter where the slippers were. Pretty soon Tim who was also getting ready noticed Hughie putting his front paws in the slippers. I ran and grabbed my cellphone and took this picture of him "wearing" those pink felted ballet slippers! A good laugh on Hughie is a great way to start my day!

Our good friend Debra sent us the picture below of her cat, Purl. Or at least the back half of Purl. Purl was hiding in the neck of Debra's Rowan Colourscapes sweater as it was blocking. Hmmmm ... I'm not sure, but maybe Debra shouldn't have blocked her sweater on Purl's bed! Silly kitty! Purl is also the kitty that likes to redecorate the house with Debra's yarn. She especially enjoys Debra's most expensive yarn to make "string" art throughout the house.

Does anyone have a good cat or dog story that relates to knitting or yarn? I'd love to hear them!

By the way, if Hughie looks familiar, he posed for my Ravelry avatar. Isn't he cute?


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Knitting Tip #3

Yesterday we had our 5th weather related school closing for this year. We had lots of ice and way too much rain (which has no where to go)! Our poor kids will be in school way into June at this point. Tim and I came into the shop in the morning, but soon decided we wouldn't have any customers with the ice, so we worked on a few things in the morning and went home for the rest of the day, where it was nice and cozy for my knitting. Tim on the other hand enjoyed his project of 2010: ORGANIZING AND CLEANING OUR BASEMENT! After 14 years of living in the same house, we have lots of "stuff" to go through and get rid of. Speaking of ORGANIZING, I've got a good organizational knitting tip for you!

Tip #3
Every knitter should have a tool kit that they can carry with them in their knitting bag. You can create your own tool kit by gathering the following tools together: tape measure, point protectors in varying sizes, crochet hooks in several sizes (A, F & J handle most issues) for latching up dropped stitches, large-eye tapestry needles, stitch holders and/or waste yarn, stitch markers, locking stitch markers or coilless safety pins, a locking row counter, and round-tip scissors (children's school scissors work well for T.S.A. approval). Toss them into a small make-up bag that you may have gotten from a "free" gifts with a purchase from Clinique or other make-up brand.

Most knitters have multiple project bags going, so when you grab your "bag of the day," just take your tool kit and toss it into the new knitting bag and go. You'll have everything you need.

Another great tool kit option is to purchase The Knit Kit. It has most of the above items all attached or enclosed in it's hard plastic case.

Happy knitting,

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Wrap Group -- Jan/Feb #2

Oh my gosh, Knitters! I can't stop knitting these 5th Avenue Infinity Scarves! The one I'm knitting along with you is in Malabrigo Twist - and it's my fourth!! The Malabrigo is the most yummy yarn I have ever knit with!

If you are in the area, I look forward to seeing you this afternoon from 1-3pm at Knitted Together. Join us as we sit by the fire and knit on our 5th Avenue wraps!

FYI: The Wrap Group page has recently been updated. It has a brief list of each project for the rest of the year. Be sure to check it out!

Wrap On!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tips for the New Year

In 2010 I'm going to offer you knitting tips that I've discovered. Some are ones I've actually stumbled on by doing them because I didn't like what I was seeing, and some will be ones that I've read or heard from others. Since you are well aware that I love to knit socks, I think my first two tips will relate to sock knitting. If you don't knit socks, these may not make sense to you. If you do someday decide to knit socks you will discover that these two tips you will help you achieve a more professional finish.

Tip #1 (socks)
Count the number of rows you knit on the heel flap (how many rows you slipped the first stitch on the knit and the purl sides). If you knit 36 rows you will have 18 slip stitches on each side of the heel flap. That tells me I would pick up and knit 18 stitches along the heel flap; then I would pick up and knit one more near the corner by the instep stitches. That extra stitch will often close any holes or gaps that can occur there. On the second side of the heel flap you will pick up and knit the extra stitch right after you knit across the instep stitches; then pick up the remaining 18 stitches.

Tip #2 (socks)
On the round after you've picked up the stitches along the heel, knit the picked-up stitches through the back loops. Doing this keeps the stitches tight against the heel flap. (This round is also a decrease round, but I do my decreases as called for in my pattern. I don't bother with changing them, since they close up any gaps that you might have from the picked-up stitches.)

FYI: I just got a really nice thank-you note from my nephew's wife, Karie. She loved the socks I knitted for her, and even wore them to a New Year's Eve pajama party (with her slippers)! Of course living in southern California you can run around in your pajamas, socks and slippers. In Iowa we'd have had to wear socks (possibly two pairs, long underwear pants and top, pajamas, ski pants, boots and down parka!

Happy Knitting,

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Wrap Group -- Jan/Feb #1

Happy New Year and welcome to The Wrap Group! I’m Carol Huisman, Wiz on Ravelry. Mostly retired, I just love making things. My DH and I moved back to Iowa two years ago after living in Kansas City for 16 years. There, I worked at a LYS and revived my interest in knitting after a long hiatus. I taught myself to knit from the encyclopedia when I was about twelve years old. No one in my family knit, and I have no idea why I thought I needed to. Unfortunately, I couldn’t master binding off, so I just kept knitting. It was a VERY long scarf! Luckily an older friend took me under her wing and taught me how to bind off, as well as other tips that kept me knitting. Later, as a mom, I taught my three sons to knit, then quilting took over my life for a lot of years.

My background is that of an art teacher, with a lifelong love of color and fiber. Moderation has never been my strong suit so I knit like I do everything else - with passion! My friends here at Knitted Together know how crazy I am about knitting shawls, wraps, scarves, etc. I get to try out all kinds of yarns with fairly quick results. My favorite patterns involve some stitch variety, and my favorite yarns have color and texture changes to keep this ADD knitter entertained.

Come along with me as we enjoy a year of knitting wraps: shawls, stoles, cowls, scarves - whatever. We’ll offer a new pattern on the first Friday of every other month - not every month, because, after all, we have lots of other projects on the needles, don’t we? I’ll be blogging about the current pattern and I’ll look forward to hearing about your progress in the comment section. If you can join us, we’ll be knitting together at the shop every Friday, 1-3 PM. Feel free to drop in, especially on the first Friday of the pattern cycle, and I’ll be glad to help you pick out yarn, get started, and offer some hints.

Our first pattern is a free one! It's available here and on Ravelry: The 5th Avenue Infinity Scarf by Margaux Pena from tentenknits. On the fall fashion runways, Infinity Scarves were everywhere. They’re just a loop of fabric to be worn loose or wrapped around the neck for a cowl effect.

For some unknown reason, I made my first one using a size 9 needle instead of the recommended size 8, and 5 skeins of Noro Silk Garden, so it loops around my neck twice for the warmest, coziest thing ever, absolutely perfect for the winter we’re already having here in Iowa. I then made one according to the pattern for my DIL for Christmas. Lovely! My latest is also according to the pattern, using 4 skeins of Silk Garden. I think this would be fabulous in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, Misti Alpaca Tonos Worsted, or any soft worsted weight yarn. We always urge you to support your bricks-and-mortar local yarn shop, but if they don’t have what you need, you can order online from Knitted Together or call and Nancy and her staff will fix you up with whatever you need.

Until next time, knit on!