Saturday, July 31, 2010

OTR - Local Touring (IMBY) - Cliff Dwellings

Today was my folks wedding anniversary and we decided that this was the day to go visit a local touring spot that they say they have driven by for 28 years and not stopped in to view.

It was a beautiful day to do it, not to hot or cold. It was some walking and not much of it flat. The gift shop is the largest I have seen, filled with beautiful and fun things.

This spot has been here and open to the public since the early 1900's. Up until 1984 the natives of the area still lived onsite and performed their dances each day. Now there are dancing demonstrations in the evenings during certain times of the year.

This is well worth the time to visit if you are in the area.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Not So Secret: Socks

During my de-cluttering of the bedroom I discovered a bag of yarn (imagine that) with a note stuck in it that said: I Owe Mom Socks. It had enough yarn for two pairs that we have collected or I gifted to her over the last (dare I admit it?) two years.

Obviously, it is time to fulfill that promise. So I cast on six days ago for the first sock on tw0-circs. I have completed that sock as of this morning and will be having her try it on today when I see her, just to be sure of the fit.

Then it is on to the second sock. I really like knitting with the Soxx Appeal because it has elastic in it. The only thing I had to be careful of was not to pull too tightly when I made a stitch so not to overstretch the yarn. It made a very nice sock knit on a size 2US.

I hope she likes them. They should keep her warm this winter and be wearable with her Crocs if she wants to wear them that way.

I hope everyone is discovering fun, new projects to work on~!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gnome Hats: The Adventure Continues

My next attempts at the Gnome Hat by Pumpkinhaus have been done with Yarn Bee yarn.

Pictured here is an adult size done with Yarn Bee Melody Bulky, one skein done on 10.5US, with just a bit leftover after ties.

The other one is done from Yarn Bee Snowflake Wool Blend held double throughout, knit with one skein with leftovers on 10.5US.

Both hats are very cute and may be destined for Germany later this year.

I hope everyone has found something great to pursue~!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

De-Cluttering Commenceth

I must obviously be a Crazy Aunt Purl follower. First the gloves and now the idea that I MUST de-clutter my house to find my sanity. I know I left it here somewhere but just can't find it.

Usually I try to do all of it at once, this time I realized that it would take away weekend knitting time if I did that so I limited my de-clutter activity to four hours each morning with time left for regular weekend chores: laundry and food prep; and knitting/movie watching.

That plan almost worked until I realized that I had spent six hours cleaning, de-cluttering and reducing my bedroom and walk-in closet. I did finally call it a day around 3 p.m. and took a well-deserved knit break. In that time I had created a much neater and cleaner space, plus had 5 bags for Goodwill donation.

I still have to do the clothing reduction but I think that can wait until fall when I change out my summer wearables for the winter stuff. I am really pleased with my efforts and will be going after my kitchen this coming weekend. That should be very interesting. I have things in there I have not seen since I moved in four years ago. If I don't use it, it is going out the door. Just because I have cupboard space does not mean have to fill it.

A big thank you to Laurie to reminding me I should be living more simply. And I hope everyone is finding ways to recycle, reuse, and reduce by donating anything that no longer fits their lifestyle~!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Gnome Hats: The Adventure

I have fallen madly in love with the Gnome Hat pattern by Pumpkinhaus.

My first knit of the pattern is the child's version that Duckers is wearing.

My second attempt is done on the adult pattern, exactly as it was written. For me, I ran out of yarn right at the end and did not have enough to do the ties. I used the Lamb's Pride Bulky on size 11 as instructed. That was a good lesson learned. I might have made it if I had used a 10.5US instead. I am going to try some other yarn I found at Hobby Lobby to make a couple more adult sized hats on 10.5US and see how that works out.

I hope everyone is finding fun things to do this summer~!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Back to the Monkey Sox

OMG, has it really been a year since I started this pair of socks. I just looked back through my posts and found that I started the first one as travel knitting for my trip to the Sock Summit.

The first one got finished in a timely fashion and hung on the wall with my Chappy sock blockers I bought at SS09. It has been used as a display item at several classes, but the second one has languished in one of my sock knitting bags for all this time.

When I pulled it out to review where I was I was surprised to see I was only three repeats away from the toe. As of today, I am one repeat from the toe. These should be done and wearable by this weekend.

I hope everyone is finding projects to finish and add to their DONE list~! It is very satisfying.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Knitting Multiple Fingers

First note: Who knew that knitting gloves would become a musical?

I had no idea that knitting fingers would cause me to break out into spontaneous singing. Just ask my mom, she was the recipient of my song creation when I called her last night during the bad storms we were having here and sang - I've knit fingers, I've knit fingers, to the Gershwin tune - I've Got Rhythm, where that came from I have no idea. It was lots of fun.

The yarn I am using for the test gloves shown is Yarn Bee Snowflake Wool Blend from Hobby Lobby. It is soft and washable, made from wool and acrylic, and is very interesting to look at. This colorway is called Bluebell.

I am using the Ken pattern I found for free on Ravelry. And knitting the gloves on size 7 US dpns also a new Yarn Bee product. The needles are striped and in acrylic. The yarn does not slip around which is handy for when you have 2 stitches on each one to get around the very tip of the finger.

The sudden inspiration to knit gloves came from reading Crazy Aunt Purl's blog about knitting gloves in LA in July out of Noro Kureyon. She was using Ann Budd's book - The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns and saying how easy it made it to attempt knitting that many fingers.

I loved the look of the glove and decided I had to find a pattern (don't own the book - yet) and go get some fun striping yarn - Noro. I have looked at Noro before and was put off by the feel of it. I have read lots of people saying that it has weak spots in it and lots of knots. So when I went into one of my favorite knit shops, Green Valley Weavers and Knitters, I went to their Noro bin and tried again to get past the feel. I could not, sorry but it just does not work for me.

So I asked if there was something that would make a good substitute, giving me the right weight and long striping. Two brands came up immediately, one is Mochi Plus from Crystal Palace Yarns. It has lovely long color repeats, is soft and machine washable if you wish, and looks hand spun giving it more character. That is what I bought.

The other option is Plymouth Boku, it has similar properties to Noro with the colorways, is 95% wool and 5% silk, is priced less and is more consistent in its manufacture while maintaining the handspun look. I will be trying some of that next.

I plan to finish the first glove tonight and have the MJ look at least until I get the other one done. I hope everyone has found something/someone that/who inspires them to try new things~!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Camp Knitting

This was the day to do some minor repairs to the camping trailer. I pulled out the old bungie cord that holds the tent to the beds securely. I replaced those with new bungies or "garters" as I call them. Then I siliconed all the moving parts to keep them operating smoothly and repaired the leg on the dinette table.

Once completed I deemed that enough work for a hot Saturday and pulled out my knitting and sat in the trailer to work on a Gnome Hat. That is the best kind of camp knitting, small, simple projects that you can put down at any time and go out to see what is going on in the woods. I hope everyone had a productive and relaxing Saturday~!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mittens Can Be More Than Just Handwarmers

I knit this mitten without a pattern while trying to be patient in the ER, waiting for my mom. She now has it to use as a vase to hang on her wall. Mittens are multi-purpose. What other uses do you think a mitten can be used for?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Samples: Knit and Delivered

I finished all the samples for my fall quarter classes. I tried to mix it up with new techniques and simple construction projects. On the list are mittens, a braided technique for a scarf, twined knitting and mitered squares.

The mitten class will be a jumping off place for anyone who wants to do fingerless mitts or gloves and I will be providing a hybrid pattern that offers the fingerless option with a mitt cover. That gives you more flexibility in more ways than one.

The twined knitting is a wonderful way to learn an old technique from Sweden. It is easier than it looks, I promise. The braided technique will awe your friends and family. It is worth having in your arsenal of skills for future scarf projects.

I hope everyone is planning on learning new things this fall~! I know I am.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Smitten with Mittens

I have found my new love. I am all about mittens. So far, I have reviewed several patterns and have devised a pattern that works best for me. It creates plain mittens that scream out to be embellished.

In the pattern I wrote for these shown above, I have also included a template for sketching a design to embroider or crochet onto the mittens to dress them up. I will be testing this pattern at my mitten class in October and then publishing it on Ravelry.

Mittens have become my favorite portable project. They are portable, you can never have too many pairs, you can show them off without taking off your shoes (for you sock knitters out there), you can make them out of any weight yarn, they can be knit on dpns, Magic Loop, two circulars, you can make them as fancy or as plain as you want, you can practice more intricate colorwork on smaller projects than a sweater, you can practice a wide variety of stitch patterns, use up small skeins of yarn and they come with different ways to knit the thumb. And, lastly, they knit up faster than most wearable projects.

A couple notes of things that will add to your knitten mitten enjoyment, one is Ann Budd's book, The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns. It goes through how to create the pattern using any yarn weight for any size mitten you want to knit. A very "handy" book. You can also find a great KAL for mitten knitten at KnitPicks with Kelley Petkun. It is a great way to learn to knit them with Magic Loop and various thumb methods.

I hope everyone has a favorite thing that goes with them when they travel~!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Magic of Miters

This is one of the samples that I have knit for the shop and an upcoming fall class. I really like the mitered squares and had a lot of fun doing this out of Lion Brand Wool-Ease on size 8 US dpns.

It can become addictive, you want to do just one more to see how it will look. I used the no-sew method on this piece and that makes the difference for me. I would not look forward to sewing all these squares together at the end. It is enough to weave in all the ends, which I am doing as I go so it is not such a daunting task at the end.

I hope everyone is finding a new technique that they really like ~!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Knitting Extravaganza @ Nuts&Bolts

What a great day we had at the shop! I set up a batch of knitting displays and a table for beginning or refreshing knitting skills along with fix-it solutions.

I had several folks stop by with questions and a desire to get started on a project.

I even had a young assistant that supplied some vintage knit pieces from her family. Here she is with the table display that she designed for the day's festivities. A big thank you to her for all the help during the day!

And Duckers was the mascot for the day, he was sporting his Gnome Hat and got lots of comments. The pattern for these hats in either child or adult sizes can be found from Pumpkinhaus at Etsy (click the link to right there).

It was all-day fun and education for all of us.

I hope everyone had a great Saturday~!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Decorate My Knits!

I had so much fun laying out all the possible decorations for these Cupcake Mitts. I have waited so long to frost them because I was using them for a shop sample for my Deco Your Knits class.

These are so much fun I have them on my list to do at least one more pair if not more. I will be getting some more yarn from Knit Picks because it is wonderful to knit with and inexpensive to make these kinds of things for gifts.

When I got to the frosting part I could not believe how fast it went once the decisions were made. They look like circus or mardi gras, very vibrant and interesting. I probably will not use buttons on this pair but will do that for a future pair.

This pattern comes in adult or child version and is very well written. I suggest you go buy one right now from Karendipity at etsy.

I hope everyone has fun and interesting things in their lives right now~!

Monday, July 5, 2010


I finally had the opportunity to get within reasonable parking distance of the newest BBQ joint in town. Rudy's is all the rage with the transplanted Texans and they were happy to tell me about it while I was in Woodland Park one day.

So I headed out early this morning with a whole list of errands and decided that I could combine a visual visit to Rudy's as well as a bite of breakfast. They serve breakfast tacos made your way. Talk about yummy! I had an egg, cheese and jalapeno sausage one. Super good, highly recommend it for a quick, inexpensive, filling breakfast bite.

They have a lovely outdoor eating area and the inside of the place reminds me of mechanics shop in any little Texas farm town. I plan to take the folks there for a bite soon.

I hope everyone is discovering fun, new places in their own backyard~!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Remember what our forefather's fought so hard to preserve for the future.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Camping Sans "The Masses"

On my way up the mountain on Friday I saw camper after camper making their way up the hill to secure their spot for this long, holiday weekend. I was not one of them but I did camp in the new-to-us trailer.

My camping spot was much quieter than any of the campgrounds this weekend. It is not that I am against going camping on holiday weekends, but if I wanted to be around that many people I could just stay in the city.

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend wherever you spent it~!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Trailer Cleaning (and Knitting)

First there was cleaning, mopping and airing out after the bug bombing two weeks ago. As far as I can see there are no foreign bugs still alive, however we are battling the influx of miller moths from this summer's hatch. Pedro loves trying to catch them, I just have to work hard to keep him from eating them. Yuck!

And once the cleaning was done, it was time assess what we will need to go camping in August. And to introduce Pedro to, what we have named the Camp Mouse annex - Chez Belinda. He was fascinated to be so close to nature and yet contained.

Then it was time to test drive a night in the trailer with Pedro. And I did some knitting with my camp lantern. I have no pictures of that because the light was so low. I will have to come up with better light to knit by. I did get some knitting done out there during the afternoon as you can see Pedro is guarding my work while he relaxes on the bed.

Needless to say, there was not much sleeping because he sat guard duty all night at the window and paced back and forth across me to let me know he was on guard.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy July 1st!

I hope everyone is gearing up for a fabulous holiday weekend. I am preparing to take Pedro on his first overnight in the trailer. He has his new harness gear and retractable leash. I will be reporting on how he does at the end of the weekend. I just hope we do not have any thunderstorms in the night. Otherwise I may end up looking a bit shredded.

Happy celebrations to all!