Friday, December 31, 2010

End of the Year: Evaluation of Progress

That title sounds too corp-speak for me. How about? WooHoo! I Got 'Er Done~!  Better.

So here is a recap of the goals  I set for myself a year ago and the end result:

There are several, so let's get right to it:

1. Learn new skills: Entrelac, domino, double, twined and more color work knitting. I accomplished the twined and did more color work, also learned miter which I think might also be known as domino.

2. Schedule and teach at least two classes a month. Succeeded and then some, also offered twice montly knit o ramas and taught a class at PILLAR.

3. Provide more fun knitting accessories at my Etsy shop. Done and sold quite a bit. I have added some new ones to the shop - you should check it out.

4. Design and submit a pattern to Still in the design phase - this one goes to the 2011 list.

5. Design and submit patterns on Accomplished one pattern, check it out at Ravelry and my RavID is anniemaude.

6. Attend the third annual Loopy Ewe Spring Fling in April. Done and what a great time it was, won the lottery to attend again this year. I plan to knit on the top of the Arch.

7. Attend the Pagosa Fiber Festival the end of May. Did not make it.

8. Learn more digital camera techniques. Done and with good results.

9. Post on my blog at least three times a week. Done, as you can tell it was more like 4 1/2 times a week.

10. Have more fun, say yes to more of life and be grateful every day for what I have. Done, done and done. That goal stays on my 2011 list as well.

I hope everyone had a successful year~!

And Pedro perfected his version of a tree skirt at his Gramma's house. She thought he was so cute, as we all do. He is wishing everyone a great new year full of all their favorite things~!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Big Thank You from Pedro

Pedro wanted to send out a visual thank you to his friends in Missouri. They helped get him his new snuggly place, which we call his Cat Cave,  and he is  really liking it. It is sitting on the couch where he can see his momma which makes him more likely to use it.

He just wanted them to know that he really appreciates their generous spirit and say that he misses them every day. He still goes to the patio window and looks at their porch to see if he can see them.

And he sends his wishes for a healthy, peaceful New Year (and I second the motion)~!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mastering the Art: Two Socks Toe Up One Circ

I have gotten through the heels and into the legs of these sample socks. This project got put aside over the holiday because I was finishing must give items.

I will be finishing these this week and getting ready for my class on two at a time top down in January.

I like this technique and can hardly wait to try it on a pair of socks on smaller needles and string.

I did have to hot water relax the cable because it kept wrapping itself around what I was trying to knit making it more of a bother than having two skeins to untangle occasionally. After I did that it seems to be more cooperative.

I did get the smaller needle sizes and think I will try the Ski Tracks socks I am knitting for dad in this technique, since I had only gotten the cuff done on the first one.

I hope everyone is finding new techniques they like~!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Aftermath

This picture speaks for itself. Please comment to me and let me know what caption I should use on this one. I have driven by this scene in the morning for a month. I had to have the picture.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Day After

I think I know how he feels. My needles are at rest this morning while I gather my wits about me to begin evaluating my progress for the year and making a new list of goals. I will be posting all of that here on December 31st.

My needles blazed right into Christmas morning and I had to bind off and wrap almost in the same movement before it got tossed at the tree. Not a bad attempt on my part.

To recap, this is what I have accomplished in the last month: 12 folded fabric candlemats and mug rug sets (thanks to mom for putting the mats together on her machine), socks, handwarmers, and hats.

I hope everyone had a successful finish to their holiday to-do lists~!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas One and All

Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas. May all your wishes come true and your day be filled for family, friends and magic moments~!

P.S. Pedro says Howdy, too.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Celebration

We are having one of the warmest and driest Chrsitmas' ever. So, everyone who was supposed to come for family dinner made it.

We had lots of help in the kitchen and at the BBQ grill. We had prime rib, pork roast, scalloped potatoes, grilled asparagus and pie for dessert.

We even opened a bottle of 50 year old port hand carried from Portugal almost 30 years ago. We googled the label and found out is worth over $500 in today's market, mom thinks they paid $15 for it. Wow, and it tasted pretty good.

We had a great day. Merry Christmas Eve to all~!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lessons Learned: Dinan Slouchy Beanie

Because this is such a fun knit, I will share what I learned and a couple tricks to make this one of your favorite hat patterns to knit in the future.

Do not attempt a Make 1 Purl. When I did it left a noticeable hole in the fabric. So when I got to the increase row, I simply purled the specified number after the notation about M1P, then on the first knit stitch of the sequence I did a Knit 1 front and back aka K1f&b, then knit the rest of the number specified. It worked beautifully and is invisible.

I have done the shorter ribbed cuff version and the longer one. My dad is wearing the longer one because he wants his ears covered. Mom wants a shorter one for herself, so I will be working on that before new year.

There are some adjustments I made to the decrease to make it work better for the flow of the hat. It is a work in progress. It makes a nice hate that is warmer because of the folds and yet it is knit out of worsted weight. And it goes really fast. I knit one for a family friend over a 24 hour period. That is what I call a great, last minute gift knit.

I hope everyone is having a great pre-Christmas time~!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Morning Muddle

We actually saw some really small ice crystals trying hard to be snow this weekend and some ice fog. It only served to mess up the roads and cause accidents, at least it tried. While it was doing that outside I was busy inside finishing last minute projects, wrapping gifts and signing cards.

1. I am almost finished with my sample socks from my two-at-a-time-toe-up class. This pair will be used to house treats for my folks on their tree.

2. I finished the first Dinan Beanie and am to the decrease on the second one. That leaves me two to finish by Saturday AM plus the handwarmers for my neighbor (almost done with one of two).

3. I took pictures of my little bit of decorating so I could have it in this post. My stuffies look so cute around my Christmas tree hat sitting in my lit window,

4. I went to see Tangled in 3D on Sunday morning. It is a really cute movie.

5. I got to dogwalk for a neighbor in the afternoon in the unusually balmy weather and talk to my brother in Germany. He told me all about their snow sculptures in the driveway.

It was a great weekend and I am ready for a long holiday weekend to hang out with family, watch movies on the big TV and knit, of course.

I hope everyone is enjoying this last week before the big guy arrives~!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

FO - Bunny Hat

The bunny hat is finished. Duckers thinks it is really cute and that the new baby will look awesome in it.
Happy New Life~!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On the Needles: Dinan Slouchy Beanie

I am through the cuff of the hat and moving into the pleated section. This is a really fun knit. I have to say that I had to make up some of my own for this pattern. I contacted the designer to see if he could shed some light on the two questions I have. First question: when do you change your needle size? The pattern calls for two sizes of needles in 16-inch length, a 7US and an 8US. You are instructed to cast on with the "smaller needle" but then there is no mention of changing to the larger.
I have taken it upon myself with this first hat to change to the larger needle when I began the increases for the hat, after finishing the brim. That made the most sense to me. So far I think I chose correctly. (note from designer: yes, that is the correct place to change needle sizes).

The second question: how do you make a "Make 1 Purl"? There is no mention of it in the terms section, and I looked online to see if I could find an explanation. No luck there or in one of my books at home. I do realize that rarely do you do a make one in a purl, it is normally done in the knit. So unless I rewrite that particular row, I have attempted a lift bar increase and purled into it. I have noticed that it leaves a little hole that for this hat is not a big deal. (note from the designer: he said to do whatever make one is comfortable to you and is as invisible as possible.) I think on the next hat I will do a knit one front and back, of kf&b, in the first knit stitch of each pattern section.

Now, I am about 3 1/2 inches into the hat, two inches to go before I begin the decrease. I am knitting medium size ones for everyone on the hat list. I will see how that goes when I get to the end of the first one.
The yarn I am using is wonderful. It is Encore Tweed worsted weight, a mix of acrylic and wool, making it soft, warm and washable, just the combination I needed for the recipients that these are intended.

Note: the bag that this project is in came from BusyMindDesigns at Etsy. I heard about her on the Round the Twist podcast and when I found the one with the cats I had to have it. It is a great size for a hat or mittens project.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Learning A New Skill - Toe Up, Two At A Time

I started my class to learn how to knit two socks at a time on one circular from the toe up. I thought it was about time to learn the toe up method for socks and the idea of getting two done at a time is very appealing.

I had been hesitating about this method for some time because I did not think it would be very portable having two skeins of yarn to keep straight while I am knitting in the car.

So far I am almost through the gusset, the second part of the class will be all about the heel cup. It was interesting to learn that there are new terms to learn when doing this method. For instance, instead of knitting rows or rounds you are knitting sides.

One side of both socks represents the instep and the other side represents the sole. Once that became apparent it was easier to think about the construction of a toe up sock. It is recommended to mark the sole side with a marker so you know where you are.

Working on the sample socks in worsted with size 6US needles makes the learning go faster. I will be interested to get a set on real sock yarn and needle size and see how that goes. Another tip I learned is to use at least a 40-inch circular, 47-inch is better.

I hope everyone is learning new things to finish off their year~!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Morning Muddle

What a weekend! I am glad it is Monday so I can rest. It was a busy one!

1. I finished my elfing for my truck driving brother and got it all in the mail on Saturday. I hope everyone loves his choices.

2. My knitting class started on Friday and will conclude next Friday. I am taking the class at Green Valley Weavers and Knitters and learning how to knit two socks at a time on one circular needle in the toe up technique. All of that is new to me so I am happy to be learning two things at once. The book is really easy to follow along and that is helpful. We are using Melissa Morgan-Oakes' book.

3. Saturday was filled with finishing projects and checking stuff off my list. That is very satisfying.

4. The folks came down Sunday morning and we went to see Harry Potter 7 Part 1 or HP 7/1 as I am calling it. It was great. Lots of action, angst, villians and a few good guys. Seems that the villians have multiplied since the kids are not at Hogwarts this year. Note: if you don't like snakes - be prepared to jump.

5. I finished my evening by working on my homework for my class and restarted the bunny hat out of the Baby Bunny yarn. It did not work on size 7s so I went down a needle size and have to do the whole hat on double points. I should be ready to start the ears tonight.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and a good Monday ahead~!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Brew Pub Crawl - Rock Bottom Brewery

This was the second one on our list to try. I would call it a bucket list, but we only get beer by the pint, really.
This is a nice place with a vast menu to select from and is in a good location, right near the movie theater. So this is where we had late lunch after we say Harry Potter 7 Part One, or HP 7/1, which is a great movie.

We tried a shrimp dish for dad, a Bourbonzola Burger for me and fish and chips for mom and had to have wings for a snack. Rock Bottom is a good place for a quick snack before or after a movie, so if you are in the neighborhood, check it out,

The Carrot At the End of My Stick

With all this deadline knitting, I am looking forward to the end of it, successfully completing the list. For my hard work I have chosen the next project on my needles just for me.

I found this pattern at NobleKnits from Knit and Tonic for an infinity cowl. I really like the looks of it, however I do not want to buy another pattern right now so it is on my future purchases to consider list.

But, that got me to thinking about infinity cowls so I went to Ravelry to look around. I found a free pattern and discovered I had the perfect skein of yarn from my Loopy Ewe Spring Fling stash.

It is a pattern from Lush Yarns, I have a skein of Malabrigo that I will be using instead. My end product may not be as wide as this on but I can guarantee it will be warm and well-worn.

I hope everyone has a special treat planned just for them this holiday season~!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dinan Slouchy Beanies

I found this pattern and thought it looked great for guys. I bought it off of KnitPicks as a download. It has two different direction options which I think will be fun, and comes with line by line instruction as well as graphs. I got Encore worsted Tweed yarn in green, brown, maroon and blue.

These are slated for gifts and will be on the needles this week right after the bunny hat is completed. Really, I think I have enough time to get these finished by Christmas Eve, don't you?

I hope everyone is having a great pre-holiday time~!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tis' the Season

The weather has been so mild here through the fall it is difficult to imagine that it is nearly Christmas. This is my favorite picture from my area, however I really would like to take this one again in a snowstorm. Guess it will not be happening this year. I hope everyone has fun holiday pictures~!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Bunny Hat

I knit a prototype for the 0-6 months size out of Red Heart worsted and the white sparkly fuzzy yarn. The yarn was too crisp for the look I wanted so I bought some Baby Bunny in a creamy butter color and cast that on for the same size.  The yarn is softer and I think will look great with the white fuzzy yarn and pink ribbons tied around the base of the ears. I will post a picture this week when it is done.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ruffled Scarf - Finished

Do you know that at the beginning 5 rows and the end 5 rows you get to knit over 30,000 stitches each time not including the 648 cast on and equal bind off?

It turned out really fun. I will deliver it to the shop at the end of the year and we should be getting the pattern in soon. It is from Churchmouse designs.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Brew Pub Crawl - Colorado Mountain Brewery

My folks and I have decided that if they are coming down for an outing or an appointment in town, they want us to go try out a micro-brewery/restaurant because dad likes to try new beers.

This was our first adventure after we finished up his Christmas shopping for mom. She met us there when we called and said we had accomplished our mission.

This is the Colorado Mountain Brewery, a new one on the north end of town. They have a nice menu and yummy beer.

Secret Packages

are ready for mailing to a faraway place. The korknisses will guard them til time to open and then adorn the tree.

I hope everyone has fun surprises headed their way~!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Lore of the Nisse

I knitted some korknisse for tree decorations (and put a bell on them because, from what I learned, you don't want these little guys sneaking up on you)  and decided I wanted to know a little more about the story behind them. Here is some of what I found:

The Nisse is from Scandinavian lore (Norway and Denmark) and known as a tomte in Sweden. They were believed to take care of the farmer's land and home and children, especially while they slept. They are often portrayed as a small, elderly man with a full beard dressed in ordinary farmer's clothes. Despite their appearance and size, they are exceedingly strong and are quick to anger, easily offended by rudeness or disrespect for the land. The farmer was expected to offer gifts to the nisse especially around the winter holidays, their favorite treat being porridge with butter underneath.

During the pagan times, the nisse or tomte was believed to be the soul of the original inhabitant of the farm. They were not a popular figure after Christianization and were demonized by the church. Anyone crediting their farms success on the nisse were sometimes tried for witchcraft during the Inquisition era.

Hans Christen Andersen inaccurately portrayed nisse's as goblins or brownies. The modern nisse has been accredited for bringing the Christmas presents and with commercialization has been made to look more like Santa Claus. However he lives in the forests of Scandinavia and does not come down a chimney or have flying reindeer. He also can be portrayed as what we now call garden gnomes.

Whatever your belief is, these make a nice decoration for your holiday tree or display. The pattern can be found here. I hope everyone is learning new skills and interesting facts as we approach this holiday season~!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December?! Who Said It Could Be December?

How the year has flown! It is almost time for my goal accomplishment post where I make myself accountable to you, my reading public. I better go get the paperwork and review my calendar so I am ready to do that on December 31st.

And, again, a big thank you for the great camera I got for my birthday this year. As of yesterday, I have taken 1124 snaps with it, mostly so I can show fun photos on this blog.

I hope everyone is going to spend their December doing fun things. And if you need a virtual Advent calander, go to Jacquie and purchase (for very little money) one for your desktop. Her work is top-notch!