Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My idea of summer knitting - A FREE pattern

Okay, what are you knitting?    I think it might be time for you to take a break from your other projects, to do a quick knit for YOURSELF.  

Yes, I'm talking to all of you out there who knit for everyone but yourself....

Come on, take a few days off from your other projects and knit my new scarf pattern.  I'm not talking about a cozy winter scarf that keeps you warm in the snowy, cold winter - nope - I'm talking about a little fashion scarf that is perfect for summer.  

You can knit this pattern up using 200 - 250 yards of lace or fingering weight yarn.  It is knit on the bias, and combines stripes of lace with solid garter.  Easy Peasy, so grab some yarn from your stash and get busy.

I am posting it as a download, so you can save it on your computer, and use it as you please. 

Yes - it is free - and you can copy it and pass it around - or even knit this project to sell.  I would love to see your completed projects - post your pics on my facebook page, KalamazooKnits. 

I hope you enjoy the project - it is my way of saying - Happy Summer!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thought for the day

I love this quote and I wanted to share it with you.

"May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are 
exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.

May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the
love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us." 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Motor City Madness

I am back in MI, left TanMan in Florida so he could have one more week of sun, sleep and endless cigar smoking (he is in the process of quitting, but I anticipate a relapse during his week of solitude).

Oldest son moved to the Detroit area for work, so his 4 year old son and I went for a weekend visit. We shopped at Ikea, where they were giving away free gifts - look what my grandson won.

Then we saw this on the way out of the store. It looks like this is a sofa on a roller skate. Wonder if they got the sofa home okay!

I did find some time to work on another scarf, using my new pattern. It is a shop model for A Good Yarn, using their custom color way by Three Irish Girls, called Gill's Night Out. Nice, right?

I plan to post it as a FREE pattern in the next week. Had to get some photos taken and now I think I can put it together and make it available to you!

I need to spend a few days getting caught up on KalamazooKnits business. I'm still waiting for a pattern delivery from my printer, so then I can fill my TNNA orders. I also need to update my website and work on submitting patterns to Patternfish.

Also on tap is blocking a few of my completed items. Can't wait to show you Bermuda! It knit up so pretty.

I worked up these felted flip-flops to show at TNNA, and I think KellyJ and I might reshoot the photo for the pattern with these. Don't you love the hot pink!

I think summer is finally here, so enjoy your week.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Return to Paradise

I am sitting at my desk in the Beach House, looking out over the gulf.  What a sight - I miss the incredible view when I am gone.   TanMan wants to live in Florida year around, and I totally understand the appeal, but I am still a Michigan girl at heart, and I can't leave the kids and grandkids (yet).

When we arrived and opened the door to our condo - we were greeted by the most horrible stench - so we walked through the place looking for a dead animal.   Couldn't find the source of the smell until TanMan approached the refrigerator.  OMG - it was awful.   Apparently it stopped working sometime in the last 7 weeks, and all the food was ruined - but the real culprit for the stench was the frozen squid bait that youngest son had left in the freezer. 

Our process for leaving the condo for the summer is to put all of our food into the refrig - flour, spices, etc - just to keep it all bug free.  The consequences of that action was the need to throw EVERYTHING out.  Even the plastic containers that I store the flour in was permeated with the smell. 

Emptying out the refrig wasn't enough - we unplugged it and pushed it outside.   Within 2 hours after arriving, we were headed to the local Sears store.   I could tell that TanMan was secretly thrilled about this turn of events, because he had been wanting a new french door fridge, and now he could get what he wanted.
The new fridge won't be in until the end of the month (because we wanted the color bisque - not usually kept in stock), so they delivered a loaner for us.

It has taken a few days of open windows, fans, bowls of vinegar and scented candles, to finally get the place smelling okay.   Long story, I know, but what a way to start a 10 day vacation, where I just wanted to sleep, knit and lay in the sun. 

It is definitely hot here, and I am not a big fan of A/C, but we need it on to make it comfortable.   I have enjoyed a couple of long walks on the beach, and it is turtle nesting season - so take a look at what is scattered all along the beach... sea turtle nests.   

Below are the tracks of the turtle going to the nest, and the nest is staked off with the orange tape.  There are dozens of nests along the mile of beach that I walk, and there are new nests every day.

And then there was our first sunset - oh yes, nothing better!

I have completed the Chinese wave dishcloth out of Knit Picks Dishie.  It is studier cloth, almost double layer due to the slipped stitches.   I will have TanMan try it out on the dishes and let you know what he thinks.

Also as promised is a new item at the knitting show, that is one of those great ideas - and you wonder why didn't I think of that!

It is like a super large ironing board cover, with heat resistant surface, grids for measuring and padding so you can pin the item you are blocking.  I put my foot in the photo, so you could see how large this baby is.

Hope you have a great Father's Day - show some love to the fathers in your life.   I am lucky to be married to a great man and a wonderful father, so I plan to take him out for a steak & lobster dinner (his favorite).  As always, I will be missing my dad, who has been gone for 34 years. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

TNNA part 2

Where was I? Oh yes, I was showing you the new items I bought at the show.

Here is a picture of the Knit Happy canvas tote bag I got for myself. I love the lime green, and it seems like a handy size for a small project.

Lorna's Laces has a new yarn called Soulmate, that contains a fiber that is supposed to help regulate your body temperature while you are wearing it, called Outlast. I guess if you use it for socks, that means your feet won't sweat?? The yarn was in 5 or 6 color ways, and they had two skeins of random colors in a cute project bag. Their table was crowded, as everyone wanted to see all the colors and get a bag with their favorites. I am happy with my choice of a pink yarn called Lincoln Park Zoo, and a neutral taupe and beige called Buckingham Fountain. I can't wait to knit the yarn up and give it a try.

For those of you who hate holes in your hand knit socks, the makers of Soak have a Heel bar, to soften up those callouses. As a person whose goal is to spend the rest of her life in sandals, I need my feet to look good year around, so this sounded like a good thing. It included a few sample packs of my favorite wool wash, Soak.

I avoided all the bulky wools and frou-frou yarns for sale, but snagged this cute kit containing a pattern and hemp yarn in another cute project bag. I think I will wear this little cardi in Florida. It is from Lanaknits Designs, using Hempforknitting, in a color called Deep Sea.

Shawls continue to be a hot item, so the shawl pins were everywhere too. I have a good selection of Annie Adams shawl pins, so I didn't buy her latest designs (but I might regret showing restraint and not buying Annies' new design). I did get this shawl stick from a company that is new to me. I think I will enjoy this stick by Bonnie Bishoff.

Debra's Garden has a new item, a sheep soap. It came packaged for Sample It with a leather tape measure. I couldn't resist this little guy - but it will be hard for me to use him!!

Another new item is called the FixaStitch. It looks like a double ended crochet hook, but there is a video that shows how to use both ends for fixing dropped stitches. Haven't seen the video, so I will let you know know about this item when I give it a try.

For my last purchase, I had to debate about getting this. I really love the item, but I hated the thought of carrying it around. Not to mention the debate of keeping it at the Beach House in Florida, or flying it back home to MI. So I did get it, and decided to keep it in Florida. It is called the Block Roll and is a great item to complement all the lace knitting going on. It is a huge, padded surface, with a heat resistant cover,marked in a grid. This means you can pin to the surface or use it for steam blocking. LOVE this so much - I think I will like it better than the foam squares. I will show a pic of this later, it is still in the car!

The rest of the TNNA show i spent walking around and looking at all the new yarns, supplies and of course, knitting patterns. There were a few indie designers at the show with their own booths, and I hope they were successful.

TanMan was with me on this trip for the first time, and he went into the show before the exhibits opened. I think he was amazed at the size of the "business" associated with a simple craft like knitting. He wouldn't walk the show with me when it opened, but that was just as well, so I could wander to my hearts content. I am kind of thinking that this might be the last year that I attend the show - but I guess I said that last year too!

There were a few new yarn companies at the show, with a lot of luxury yarns. Glitzy and fluffy yarn was prominent too, but honestly, I don't get the appeal. Shawls, lace and cardigan/coats were big, making me want to start a new design.

That's the wrap-up of TNNA. I love being part of the knitting world, and it is fun to see the business "show it's stuff".

On the road for 6 hours and we arrived at our little piece of paradise, with a huge mess waiting for us. More on that to follow!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

On the road again

I spent two days in Columbus, OH at The National Needlework Association trade show, where all the major companies in the business display their products. Yarn store owners attend the show, take classes on new techniques, and visit with the vendors to place orders for yarn and supplies for the fall.

I have displayed my patterns there for several years in a few different ways, but this year I took a very low keyed approach. My friend Dawn had a booth where she showed the yarn companies that she wholesales, and she displayed my patterns too. I am not a sales person, and I hate to do these kind of shows, so this was a passive way for me to get a little exposure without spending the big $$ on the show and having to do something that I don't enjoy.

So, what was new at the show??

I attended a one hour event called Sample It! on the first night, where store owners get a chance to buy "new" items at wholesale price (or below) to try them out and consider them for their store. Here is the run down on the items I bought. Fair warning - I typically go a little crazy at this event, bringing a stack of $20 bills to buy what ever strikes my fancy. If I decide it isn't something that I want after the event, there is always someone in my knitting group who will want it.

So, here goes.

A Knit Happy tote bag, with a water bottle and thermos inside. Jill, of Studio June, wanted me to get this for her. I hope she likes it. I just wanted the tote bag, so they sold me that by itself!

Then there is the new product by HiyaHiya. They are an interchangeble needle set in choice of bamboo or metal, and choice of sizes 2-8 or 9-up.
I am a dedicated Knit Picks needle girl, but these needles go smaller in size and it was a great price to try them. I got the metal tips, in the smaller sizes.

Okay, I hate to stop the show and tell, but I when we left Columbus, we headed for Florida, to have a mini vacation at our place down there. We are spending the night in Tiftin, GA, and I need to take a shower and get a good nights sleep.

So I'll show one more item and then do more on the next post!
I have seen several vendors on Etsy who make these cute pattern savers, and Slipped Stitches is going the wholesale route, offering her items to shops for them to retail. It is a padded fabric backing, with a clear plastic sleeve to insert your pattern. It protects the pattern and can also stand up like an easel.

Chica, a relatively new company at the show, had a cute trio of items, including their version of a pattern saver. Along with the pattern saver, there is a super cute small tote with handles, and then a zippered small notions case. Of course, I love it in pink!

Okay, I'm going to hit the showers and then bed. Tomorrow we have about 6 hours of driving and we will be at the Beach House!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Empty Nest

Yesterday was Youngest Son's move into his first apartment.  When we got to the condo with the moving truck, he had huge piles of laundry still to do, and hadn't packed ANYTHING.   I wasn't surprised, but it goes without saying, it was a long day.  

He had friends help move the furniture - we were clear that he needed to do the big stuff - but it was a hoot seeing the s-l-o-w pace they took.  At one point we ran some errands, returned to his apartment, only to find four of them sitting on the couch in the middle of the apartment just chatting away and listening to music - boxes and furniture all around them.  I laughed out loud at the different way his generation approaches life.

As we left our son and his friends, amid the chaos of moving, I was so sad.  I had memories of rocking him as a baby in the new lazy boy chair (that now resides in oldest son's apartment), of  reading Harry Potter together at bedtime and watching him at swim meets....yeah, I am sad to see those great years behind me.  He is a great son and I wish him so much happiness as he strikes out on his own.

Speaking of life changes, my step-daughter's mother-in-law passed away Saturday night.  She was 54 and had battled ovarian cancer and leukemia for 3 years.  She leaves behind three wonderful sons and three grandchildren, whom she loved dearly.   My step-daughter and she were best friends, and she will be missed by many.

So my thought for today is - tell the ones near and dear to you just how much you love them.  Seize the day and enjoy every moment. 

Friday, June 3, 2011


I've been in a bit of a slump with my knitting - I always knit -but lately I have been doing plain knitting - nothing too exciting.  I think it is because the rest of my life has been so crazy.

I have mentioned my part-time work as a retail pharmacist - it is work that I really love - but the 10 hour days just kill me.  So...I've decided to take a break from work and re-enter the world of retirement (again).   My boss, a great pharmacist and manager, whom I will miss so much, sent me these flowers on my last day.  Nice of her, wasn't it?

My other transition is we are selling our condo in Kalamazoo, which has been our "home base" for our family.  Youngest son still lives there, while he attends college and works at Starbucks.  We close on the sale next week and youngest son will be moving into his own apartment this weekend.   We have a fully furnished condo, and the furniture is headed into six different households.   My head is spinning with the coordination of all the moves, and we will be busy with this for the next week.

However, in an effort stop the knitting slump, I started a project that I've been thinking about for a while, and actually had the yarn in my stash waiting for the project.

Bermuda by Ilga Leja
Noro Taiyo sock yarn (I LOVE this yarn so much), size 7 needle

I started it last night and take a look at what I've got done so far. 

We have all the grand kids coming over today, so it should be a crazy day - they are 6, 4, 3, 2 and 9 months old.   I will be ready for an early bedtime tonight, don't you think?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More on Dishcloths

I got a nice email from Judy A, who couldn't comment on the blog directly.  I'm not sure why there is a limited ability to add comments - maybe I need to change something?  Honestly, I want to encourage dialog, not discourage it.  If you know the solution, drop me an email and let me in on the secret??
But back to Judi A, she told me about her favorite dishcloth pattern, and I wanted to share it with you all.

Note: I went back to my blog settings and updated it to allow all to comment.  I hope I fixed it - will you leave a comment so we can find out??
Judi A. says   "I don't know if you have ever tried the pattern for a dishcloth called "Chinese Waves." If not, I highly recommend it.   I really like it and is the pattern of choice for any I make for personal use. My husband has commented several times, "I really like this dishcloth."  It is a free pattern on Ravelry and was designed by Margaret K. K. Radcliffe - RagsMags on Ravelry.  Hope you get a chance to try it."

So take a look at the pattern on Ravelry, and give it a try.  I have got my second ball of Dishie out and am ready to get started...