Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Quick Note: I wrote this days ago, but we have been so busy, I couldn't find the time to get it posted. Now that I have survived most of the holiday, there is some quiet time to get this up and running!

I hope the holidays were wonderful for you and that you got a special something under the tree - hopefully knitting related!.. And most importantly of all, II want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!


Back in Michigan for 12 days to celebrate Christmas with our family.

By the time I finished making my pile of Christmas gifts, I was all crafted out. I didn't even knit on the flight back to MI - just didn't have any project to work on that excited me. I did read my fabulous book, I am on the second book in the Game of Thrones series - it is an old fashioned epic story, and I love it.

I was wondering if this meant I was headed for a knitting funk.

When I got home, I glanced through some yarn in my stash, but no inspiration. Just when it looked like I needed to pick up a hibernating WIP, I saw the perfect project on Ravelry.

It also coincided with my effort to learn a new knitting app on my iPad, KnitCompanion. I have been watching the video tutorials, trying to get the hang of it, but my new project let me give the app a real try.

Project - Kindle case

Yarn - Noro kureyon sock

Kauni - in solid black

I am making the small size - it will be my FINAL knitted gift. It is flying along and I am pretty sure I can get it done. (Yes, it is almost done!!)

Now for a little about KnitCompanion.

I think it is a very clever app that allows you to take a pattern PDF and turn it into a true working document. It reminds me of what many of us do with a paper pattern - we make a photo copy of the pattern, highlight the sizes that apply, check off the rows as we finish them. If there are charts, we use a magnetic board or pattern keepers or highlight tape to mark the row we are working on.

Sometimes we enlarge the chart, cut it out and even tape several charts together, sound familiar??

This app does all these things - and turns your iPad into an essential knitting aid.

So far, the only negative thing I can say is that it took some time to learn all the functionality. If isn't intuitive, so you cant just jump on, hack around and make it work. You need to watch videos, and there isn't a good written tutorial or faqs to complement the videos.

Once you know how it works, you need to take some time to set up your pattern in program. But believe me - it is worth the time. I am so inspired by this product, I'm thinking I would love to teach a class on it.

You can use it to highlight each row of written text or chart, add stitch markers on your chart, include reminders on specific places in the pattern, and even add verbal notes. It might seem a little expensive at first glance, but if you are willing to take the time to learn how to use it, it is totally worth it.

I guess the moral of the story is don't despair when your knitting mojo lags, be patient and inspiration will return.

Ok friends, don't forget to take time to ENJOY the season. I tell myself often that "these are the good old days". You never know what tomorrow will bring, so treasure each day.

Time for me to enjoy my family, I am off to celebrate with all six grandkids ! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Very Crafty Christmas

I am working hard to get everything done before we head back to Michigan for Christmas on Saturday.

Still need to pack up the knitted gifts for my sister's family and get those in the mail. That is complicated by the fact that last night I started ONE MORE knitted item for my niece. I couldn't help myself - I am in love with this item and I think she will feel the same. I think I may send everything that is done and mail this last item on the needles separately. Need to buy some wrapping paper today and get that done.

I am also doing several gifts using photos, so need to pick up a few more prints at Walgreens and see if I have everything I need for those gifts.

Finished the Gap-Tastic Cowl. How does it look? (I didnt make it quite as wide as the patterns calls for) I hope this keeps me warm when I am home for the holidays!

Got the granddaughters' ballerina skirts done - lots and lots of tulle and ribbon. I hope they fit and that they love them.

Also got a fabric ditty bag done for my grandson. He is a huge sports fan and University of Kentucky is a favorite team of his (his mom and dad are both alumni).

A Green Bay Packer pillow case for Oldest Son:

I have been thinking about this little shell project for quite some time - saw some in a gift shop, and I finally tried my hand at it.

Gluing the shells worked out great. Putting the hot wax in the shell - not so good.

Actually, it seemed to go well, until all of a sudden, the wax seeped through the shell and leaked out all over the counter (luckily I was working on some cardboard). I think they are cute, but not going to work as candles I guess.

Mental note to self - next time you need to seal the inside of the shell with some sort of waterproofing.

Bathroom Remodel Update:

The remodel is almost done. Tile is laid (still needs grout), tomorrow we get measured for the glass shower walls and door. I think I am going to love it.


How is your crafting going? Is your shopping done?

Friday, December 9, 2011

When deadlines approach and the knitter has gift knitting to finish, what does every good knitter do? Yes, you are right - she casts on another project.

It all started on Wednesday, when I was at A Good Yarn to teach a workshop on knitting the Mini Flip-Flop ornament. As usual, there were some new finished objects to admire, and two (yes, two) projects caught my eye.

I just happen to have some Debbie Bliss Riva yarn that I won as a door prize waiting for the perfect project, and Amy (who works at AGY) showed me the Gap-tastic cowl. It is long, luscious and perfect for my Riva yarn.

Two days later, this is what I have so far....
They also had a sample of Lucky 13, by Coco Knits. This uses super bulky yarn, but I could hold three strands of my bulky Riva together and make this project too.
I haven't given up on the Coffee Cup Cozies - as you can see by this little stash. All I need is buttons. As anyone who sews will know, buttons can be pricey things to buy. I am hoping that my generous button jar in MI will hold some good ones - if not, I will need to dig into my wallet and buy some at the store.

My Kid's Felted Clogs - they need some more felting, my HE top loader doesn't work very well at this job! I might try a coin machine I guess.

I am still slogging through the skirt from he##. Not only is this taking forever, I'm not sure I have enough yarn, or that it will fit, or if it fits, will it look good. Seriously, what was I thinking??
How are you coming on those gifts? Or did you decide to knit for yourself instead this holiday season??

Monday, December 5, 2011

Another beautiful day in Florida. The kind of day that makes me feel guilty for not being outside all day (again with that Dutch guilt?). Went to breakfast to get away from the remodeling team, and saw this decorated bike in the parking lot. I didn't know Harleys got the holiday spirit!

Our remodeling has turned the corner, so all the dirty, dusty work is done. That means I spent several hours today cleaning up the furniture, lamps, blinds - all the hard surfaces. TanMan still needs to vacuum the upholstery and the floors, but it feels much better. I also finally got to put out some holiday decorations that we brought back from MI.

I put up the ceramic tree that our neighbor made for my Mom, decades ago. I love it.

These are ornaments from that my parents had from years ago. I love them. I remember loving them as a child and I still feel that way. I bet you have some special holiday item that brings back memories of holidays gone by?

Yesterday we took a road trip to Tampa, to have lunch with some friends who recently moved full-time to Florida. We ate at my favorite restaurant, The Columbia, in Ybor City. Afterward we stopped at the Hard Rock Casino. It was a busy place, and we left when our gambling budget ran out - I left wondering why do I like to gamble, when I rarely win??

I finally got to start knitting the coffee cup cozy on the road trip. I got two done, but in looking at them today, I realized I have a problem. One is seriously smaller than it should be, it has all of the rows, it is just a much smaller gauge!

Did the knitting fairy slip me smaller needles?

Did my gauge change that much between projects?

This is seriously freakin me out. I've got a third on the needles, but lord know what size that will be...

Friday, December 2, 2011

More Condo Remodel

The countdown to getting my gift knitting done has started. I was doing okay, but I keep coming up with more ideas of things that I want to make. My sister-in-law suggested that I knit this cute little cozy for her. Of course I have 4 other sister-in-laws too, but I think this looks like a fun project. Perfect for knitting from the stash!

I've got the man's felted clogs knit. I decided to make a pair for grandson Mason, so I have started those now. Not sure how the felting will work in my new washer - it is a high efficiency top loader -no agitator, but a drum that goes up and down. I'm not very optimistic. I'll keep you posted on that. Not to mention that I hate to use my new washer for felting!!

I did get a Christmas tree ornament designed, I think it is a cute little devil, just now sure what to do with it. Should I see if Kelly J wants it as a KalamazooKnits pattern? Should I just put it up on Ravelry and sell it on Ravelry and this blog? Oh my, I'm not sure what to do now that I don't have KalamazooKnits!

KellyJ has a new ornament pattern done for KalamazooKnits. It is Deck the Balls with Mosaic and I think it is adorable.

Speaking of Deck the Balls, on Tuesday I taught a Deck the Balls workshop at A Good Yarn. Three students participated and in addition to working on the pattern, two learned to knit in the round with the magic loop and one learned the long tail cast-on. That is a lot of teaching in 2 hours! But they all did great.

Our remodel is moving along, but I am tired of having someone in "my space". Not to mention the coat of grit on top of everything. It should be done by next weekend ( I hope!).

The is the hallway leading to the back of the condo, where the bedrooms and bathrooms are. On the left if the laundry closet (like my new washer & dryer?) The laundry closet still needs cabinets above the machines and bifold doors.

We raised the ceiling of the hall and the entry point into the hall. I love the look.

We are keeping the vanity and marble counter top, but getting a new light and medicine cabinet to match the lower cabinets. Ceiling has been raised and the walls redone.

Toilet and shower area. On the right is the shower - we removed the doorway that separated the toilet/shower from the vanity area, added a foot to the shower and cut out the partial wall to open up the look. The shower needs to be tiled, a cabinet above the toilet, etc.

It looks like a lot of work left, doesn't it?

Another beautiful fall day in Florida. I took a bike ride this morning (on my ancient one-speed) and I think I will sit on the beach for a while. Hope you have a great weekend my friends!