Friday, September 10, 2010

Wonderful News!!!

Well, we have moved and are finally settled in!  Our kitchen, living room, den, bathroom and bedrooms are now live-able and comfortable.  We still have more to do in them regarding decorating and details, but they are neat and inviting, so I am happy!  There are still a few rooms to work in, but we will gradually get those finished as well. 

I haven't been able to pick up my knitting at all, which is about to drive me nuts!  My knitting is scattered throughout the house, so hopefully sometime soon I can consolidate and organize it.  At least I did pack it up well, so I don't have to worry about the condition of it.  I must finish Cosette's sweater and start on a shawl and Christmas presents ASAP!

Wonderful News!

I have been so busy that I haven't even gotten to tell you about my wonderful news!  I noticed that on KnitPicks they have really neat patterns for only $1.99 that were written by independent designers.  I thought that it was really neat that people could put their patterns on there and so I read about the program.  The designers retain all the rights to the pattern, and they get 100% of the profits.  I thought the program sounded like it was really fair and a great opportunity.  So, I decided that I would send them my pattern idea with pictures of Nathan's neck warmer that I made him for Valentine's Day.   (Here it is on Ravelry.)

They were interested!  They sent me some of their yarn so that I could knit up a sample, Knitpicks' Swish Worsted in Allspice.  The yarn is great!  It is 100% wool, but is very soft.  After I finished knitting the neck warmer, I loved trying it on!  (I was only hoping that if all else failed, they would send the neck warmer back to me so I could wear it this winter!  The yarn feels luxurious!)  I took notes and pictures during the knitting and sewing process.  Then, afterwards I typed up a pattern.

After finishing everything, I sent it all in to Knitpicks and began waiting for a response.  It turns out that they liked it and decided to include it on their website!!!  Here is the link if you want to check it out on KnitPicks.  I would love to hear what you think!

Here are more pictures of the neck warmer which show the different ways that you can wear it:

This is the first pattern that I have designed, and it is very simple.  However, you can wear the neck warmer in many ways; and it can be knit for men, women, and children.  You can also use any type of yarn, such as wool, cotton, etc.  Change up the texture by using tweed.  It all depends on the look and feel you are going for.

Please let me know what you think!  I am super excited about it!

I had better go for now.  I hope that you are all knitting away and getting excited about the Fall!  Pumpkins, fall colors, golden leaves crunching under your feet, brisk breeze on your face, beautiful mountain scenes...  I love the fall and can hardly wait for it to arrive and to curl up in an afghan and knit away!

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Moving and Shaking

Well, "hectic but blessed" are the best words to describe my life right now, which is why you haven't heard from me in a while.  My husband has graduated summa cum laude from UAH, and started a great new job last week.  God just blessed us with a wonderful rental home on a nearby mountain, also!  I am exstatic about it!  It was built somewhere around the 60's, but has all new windows, refinished hardwood floors, and a new bathroom.  The kitchen is huge, but very vintage.  Luckily I love old and vintage things, so I think it will be kind of fun to have a kitchen like that, at least for a while.  The house is about 3 times larger than the apartment we were seriously considering, but it is less expensive.  It also has a really large back yard which is like a clean slate just waiting to be landscaped.  I could hardly ask for more.  Praise the Lord!

We will be moving the first weekend in August, so it may be a few weeks before I post again.  Then again, you never know.  If I get really excited about something, it may be hard for me to stay off the computer.  Otherwise, I will be packing, cleaning, moving, and knitting.  I have been moving along on Cosette's sweater, and will be sharing another project with you soon.  If I can only put the packing tape down...

Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Exclamations of Joy!!!

 Knitting Needle and Notions Organization Day

Hello!  I have so much great news!  I am doing so much better physically!  Plus, I have been knitting a lot lately, and can't wait to share with you!  I have also organized my yarn stash and needles!  But some of the most wonderful news is that my husband just finished school!!!  I can hardly believe it!  He took his last exam yesterday, and will graduate on Saturday!  Have you noticed that every sentence ends with exclamation points?!  It is because I am that excited!!!  :D

Soon we will begin our preparations for finding a new place to live and will begin the process of moving.  While moving does not tend to be the most fun process, I am not as worried about it this time, as we do not have as much stuff to pack and move.  Things have gotten a little messy since I have been sick and injured, but I am trying to gradually straighten up.  Today I organized my yarn stash, knitting needles and knitting notions.  Below is a description of what I did to organize them:

Knitting Needle Organization

I used to sell Mary Kay, and every time I bought a hand held mirror (for customers to look at during a presentation), it came in a small, clear, zippered pouch. I kept all of them to use for “something” in the future. Well, I recently decided that they would be perfect for storing my circular needles. Today I finally put them to use.

Since I only have 9 of these pouches, I put two sizes in each pouch.  I made little labels for each pouch and punched a hole in them so that I can attach them to the zippers. For now I have them right inside of the clear pouch.  One of the pouches I also labeled for double pointed needles (dpns), and one for misc. big needles.
I also have two enfamil roll up pouches that I received when my daughter was born (the hospital gives these to everyone), and have all my extra notions, purse handles, etc. stored in them now. Both of those and the needle pouches are resting in a huge index card holder.

I only have a few pairs of straight needles, and haven’t figured out what to do with them. All my vases are in storage right now, so I may have to wait until after we move to organize them.

Yarn Stash Organization

I have all my yarn sealed in plastic bags, and then stored in large plastic storage bins with lids.  Well, I have received  and bought some more yarn in the past several months, and have also started and finished projects, etc.  So,  basically the yarn stash was starting to take over our bedroom.  Today I went through it all,  consolidated it, and organized it.  My acrylic yarn is in one bin; cotton and cotton-blends in one bin; and wool, alpaca, and other animal fiber yarns in a third bin.  All of these are stacked on one another neatly.

Breath in, Breath out...peace and calm from organization.  Now tomorrow I will do another portion of our room and gradually it will all get done!  :)

Have a great, restful and peaceful night,

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stitches South was Awesome!

Mom and me with our Stitches South haul.

The Next Hurdle
Well, there is good news, and there is bad news.  I have started feeling very energetic lately!  I think that I may finally be through with walking pneumonia, and hopefully this time for good! As long as I continue to get enough rest at night, and not run myself into the ground with too many activities and chores packed in, I think I'm good.  That's the good news.

The bad news is...last night while checking in on my toddler my back went out.  :(  I was about to go to bed and checked on her one last time.  I had to put her blanket on, move dolls away from her face, etc.  (You know, what all Moms do before they can properly rest at night.)  Well, when I was leaning over the side of the crib, my back went out.  I really don't know exactly what's wrong, but it seems very similar to what happened last time.  Anyway, my sweet husband took me to the chiropractor and ran errands with me today. 
Needless to say, today is an impromptu "big-girl bed" day.  I wasn't sure when we would try this, but since lifting her into and out of the crib (and obviously leaning over the crib) is so hard for me and my mother-in-law, we decided that today is the day.  Cosette picked out her comforter, and had to have Tinker Bell.  This afternoon Daddy is going to put together her big-girl bed, and I hope that all of her excitement lasts and that she sleeps comfortably under Tinker Bell tonight.  Hopefully crossing one's fingers isn't bad for the back.

On the Knitting Front:  Stitches South!
There is plenty of great news to share with you about knitting!  Stitches South was G-R-E-A-T!!!  My Mom and I had a blast shopping on Saturday!  We were there all day Saturday and it was a "shop 'till you drop" day.  I was shopping right up until the last moment when it closed.  My Mom gave me a huge blessing by giving me some shopping money to add to mine, so I was able to get some really great yarn and patterns!

My favorite vendors to buy yarn were The Discontinued Brand Name Yarn (DBNY) and Webs.  My Mom and I had shopped around for a while and I took tons of notes jotting down the vendor number and what I was interested in.  I wanted to make my money stretch, and I didn't want to get carried away buying things just to find that I really wanted something else.  Well, eventually we found DBNY and I fell in love with their Henry's Attic China Beach yarn, which are thick and thin 85% merino wool/15% silk blend hanks, and specifically one color:  Amethyst.  And it was only $18 with an extra 20% taken off at the register!  Man-o-man, I was not going to let these hanks get away.  I didn't care what else I saw, I had to have these.  I got two hanks (the last two) and then kept shopping.

This is one of the Amethyst hanks:

Well, after shopping for a while, taking more notes, tallying up costs,  and figuring out what I really really wanted, I decided that I wanted to go back to DNBY to look some more.  Time was running out, and I didn't want to miss out on the wonderful yarns and deals there.  Well, to make a long story short, I ended up buying three more hanks of the exact same yarn, but in different colors:  Mint, Mulberry, and Lake Blue.  I know what I like!

Here are my beautiful hanks before and after winding.

(above picture) From left to right, two Amethyst, Mint, Mulberry, Lake Blue


 Oh, by the way, Cosette claimed two of the hanks as hers.  ;)  Here are some cute  pictures of her helping and otherwise being cute.

Do you think she has a chance but to be a yarnie and master knitter?  : D  She already wants to knit and as soon as she possibly can, I am sure she will be clicking away, knitting needles in hand. 

I have all kinds of things that I want to knit with this yarn, but I think the first thing that I will knit with it is a pattern I came across on Ravelry:  Bitty Bump.  It is so cute and the designer, Gina Bonomo, told me how to adjust the pattern so that the sweater will fit Cosette.  It is supposed to be great for beginners, and I can hardly wait to start it.  I will probably knit it up in the pink yarn that Cosette claimed (Mulberry).  ;)

Bitty Bump by Gina Bonomo

At Webs I really loved the Berroco Vintage Family pattern book, and kept thinking about it while we shopped.  It was my last purchase of the day, and one of the wonderful people working there helped me find the yarn for it at the last minute.  She was so sweet and very patient!  The yarn is luscious and was only $6 a hank!  Unbelievable!  I really want to make the sweater on the cover, but am interested in others in the book as well.  I bought the yarn it called for Berroco Vintage, color:  Breezeway.  It is 50% acrylic, 40% wool, 10% nylon.  I really love the color.

Berroco Vintage Family Book #293


Neat and Famous Folks at Stitches South

We also got to meet some really great people while we shopped at Stitches South.  The vendors were really wonderful and very helpful.  One of them even taught me how to spin!  I got to try spinning on a two different types of drop spindles.  The usual kind (not sure what it is called) and the Turkish kind, which looks kind of like an airplane propeller.  I have had an interest in spinning for a while, but just haven't had the time or money to spend on it.  I decided to wait on it for at least a little while, but I know that I will be picking it up right around the corner, and I can't wait!  You can visit this vendor here:  Upper Room Studio

I also got to meet some famous people!  The inventors/owners of Ravelry, Jess and Casey, and their team were there.  They were SO unbelievably nice, and it was so neat to get to see them in person.  They took several pictures with us and were super friendly.  All knitters, crocheters, and spinners who are a part of Ravelry know very well what a gift they have given us by inventing Ravelry and offering it to us for free.  I know my knitting life would never be the same without Ravelry!  It is an addiction all unto its own.

Check out our cool picture:

We also met Lily Chin (she was about to leave, so sorry, no picture).  She was really nice, but I honestly didn't know much about her at first.  (Remember,  I am fairly new to the whole knitting world.)  My Mom told me a little bit about her while we were there, and that she did magnificent fine gauge knitting.  Well, after I got home and looked through a few knitting magazines, I found a whole article about her.  You can also read about her here.  She is amazing!  I only wish I could have known before meeting her.  Then I would have taken my magazine for her to sign.  She is really cool and superbly talented!

If you are ever even considering going to a Stitches event (I heard about Stitches West while I was there), I would highly recommend going!  My Mom and I really had a wonderful day!  At one point I leaned over to her and said, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if this was a store that you could go to anytime you wanted?"  Be still my heart!

I have much more to write, but really ought to go knit!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Walking Pneumonia: It zaps energy both physical and knit-ical. ;)

 "The Knitting Basket" by Nora Kasten

Wow, I can't believe it has only been a month since I have posted.  It seems like it has been forever!  Let's just say walking pneumonia is harder to get over than one would think.  I have been dealing with it off and on since November, and I thought I was over it...then I started getting sick again the weekend of Easter.  That Monday I had to go to the doctor and found out it was still walking pneumonia.  Sheesh!  I could hardly belive it!  Well,  more meds and lots of rest...Yesterday I went forward at church for prayer and now today I have more energy than I have had in a long time.  Thank you Jesus!!!

Well, I would like to say that I have been making tons of wonderful knitting garments during this time, but unfortunately, that is not the case.  Most of the time, all I have felt like doing is resting, and I had to kind of ration my energy for the most essential tasks of the day.  (Taking care of Cosette, cooking, cleaning up our dishes, and watering the garden.)  Other than that, I slept and, you guessed it,  rested.  I did occasionally knit a little, specifically while waiting for hours in the doctors' offices. I knitted on the neck warmer that I still haven't gotten to tell you about (but will soon) and at home I knitted a dishcloth.

Conversation about Knitting
While knitting at the doctor's office, I got into a really neat conversation about knitting with a man, about my age, which was surprising.  We were sitting there for a while when he finally said that he was intrigued, couldn't take it any longer, and had to ask what I was knitting.  Apparently his family likes to knit stockings,  and he was trying to figure out if that is what I was knitting.  I told him about the neck warmer that I was knitting, and about the one that I knitted for my husband.  We talked for a while about knitting, sewing, and being creative in general.  He had asked his girl friend to get him a sewing machine for Christmas, which he got, and he is now using it for his current project, which is re-upholstering his boat seats.  It was a nice conversation.

I miss Knitting!
All in all, I have mostly started to re-forge a desire to knit again,  and I have been thinking of all the luscious yarn in my stash, just waiting to be unearthed and knitted into beautiful garments and luxurious textiles.  The beautiful hues of teal, fuschia, purple, creme, and vintage sea foam green are beckoning me, calling me, to twirl them into the wondrous fabric that we all know so well.  Ahh, stretchy garter stitch, and Ooh, silky smooth stockinette...The patterns that I have thumbed through, and dreamed over, now flip through my head, as I make mental notes and plans for my future projects.  I also have been thinking about the projects that I have already started, and have been building my desire to finish them, as well.  Soon,  my needles shall be clicking full speed ahead once again! 

Stitches South-This weekend!!!
I think it will all come to a wonderful apex this weekend,  when my Mom and I will make our first pilgrimage to Stitches South!  Wow!  It will be my first knitting festival, and I plan to indulge in the vast array of fiber that will surround me, delighting my sixths sense, (you know, the knitting sense). I can just see myself picking up hanks of wool, alpaca, and angora, and enjoying their soft plys as I dream more and more about what I will knit.  I will be using my $20 birthday gift from my husband there this weekend, so I will definitely have to be picky and choosy, but I can hardly wait!  Just taking it all in will be a wonderful experience, one that will be a first for both my Mom and Me.  Of course,  I will tell you how it goes.  But for now...I must go and rest!  :)

Have a great night,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Blessed Birthday

Wow! do I have a lot to talk about!  I don't know where to start.  I have all kinds of news to share with you, including  what I would call Winning the Knitting Lottery for my birthday!  (No gambling was involved!) 

My Birthday
My birthday came around the other day, and got all kinds of wonderful knitting-related and non-knitting related gifts!  It was great. 

From my Mom (my knitting pusher)  ;)
I had told my Mom about the Knit Picks 40% off book sale (or maybe she told me), and that there were several things that I would love to have that I put on my wish list.  She remembered that and gave me a gift certificate a little early so that I could take advantage of the sale.  You will never believe what I was able to get for $50!  I got three books (Amigurumi Knits, Color Sense, and Knitting Lingerie Style), two skeins of beautiful sock yarn (Imagination:  Damsel), a stitch holder, two cable needles, and a packet of Knit Picks stitch markers (plus free shipping).  So exciting!  Thanks Mom!

This was my first Knit Picks order, and it was so fun to order and receive such wonderful knitting goodies.  I have heard that it takes a long time to get a Knit Picks order, but this one didn't take too long.  I highly recommend checking them out.  My Mom says that they have sales pretty often, and actually their prices are already so great.  You can check them out here:

Mom's Visit
Alright, while the Knit Picks order was extremely awesome, it doesn't end there.  When my actual birthday weekend came around, my Mom came to see me.  We had a lot of fun!  We hung out, went to the salon (I had a hair appointment), and went to an auction with my husband's parents.  Well, my Mom also brought me some more wonderful gifts from her personal knitting stash.  Okay, this is what I mean by winning the knitting lottery.  My Mom didn't just bring me a few skeins of yarn that she didn't want anymore, she brought me bags of luxury yarn that she didn't want anymore!  She also brought me several books and patterns, including all of her Jean Greenhowe books (more about that in an other post)!!!  Shock, awe, speechlessness... 

This is the yarn that she gave me:

9 skeins of Cascade Pastaza (50% llama, 50% wool) in a beautiful teal color.  (She had seen me drooling over it when I visited her and remembered.);

9 skeins of Classic Yarns Cashsoft DK in red (It looks kind of orangy in this picture, but it isn't.)
(57% extra fine merino wool, 33% microfibre, and 10% cshmere).  Wow!  Cashmere?  Need I say more?;

10 skeins of the same Classic Yarns Cashsoft DK, but in ecru (more cashmere and merino!);

9 skeins of Plymouth Yarn Dreambaby DK (50% acrylic, 50% nylon) in a pretty, light yellow shade (perfect for charity knitting, gifts, or future babies!);

and 5 skeins of Classic Yarns Silk Wool DK (50% merino wool, 50% silk) in a pretty muted seafoam green/mint green color (I am loving vintage colors lately!).

It is so exciting to be such a new knitter, and to have so much wonderful yarn in my stash.  My Mom knows that I have little money, and she sees how much I love knitting and blesses me so!  Now my mind is trying to figure out what things to knit with this beautiful yarn, in addition to the other beautiful yarn my Mom has given me in the past.  I can't knit quick enough!  This was such an amazing birthday present!

Birthday Present from my Husband
My husband is so great, and he really pays attention to "those little nuggets about me" (comedian Kevin James quote).  :)  He remembers what I like, and usually gets me very thoughtful gifts.  Well, this year money is really tight, so he made me a gift certificate that I can cash in a few weeks from now.  It is for $20 of Knit Picks merchandise!  Yay!  More Knit Picks!  I already know what I want to get:  the "Andrea Shawl" pattern and the suggested yarn.  When I saw the shawl, I instantly wanted it.  [I am really starting to think that I may be a product knitter.  I have to really love the item or it has to be something that the recipient would really love for me to have the desire to make it.  Practicality works, too (as in dishcloths for example).  Of course, I love the process too...]  Anyway, "I want that!"  :D  (I must watch "Napolean Dynamite" again really soon!)

Not Knitting Related, but Really Cool
Well, I got another amazing gift for my birthday and I love it!  My mother-in-law has been letting me use her antique vanity for a while.  I think it is so neat, and it is so practical too.  Well, the other day she told me it is my birthday present!  :D  I love antiques and vintage things, and this vanity matches our antique bedroom suite very well and is so neat.  What an amazing birthday gift!  Unconventionality is grand!  :)  I love it!

I got other presents, cards, meals, and cakes from my family and friends, too.  It has been so great getting these gifts, but it is the feeling of love that was given to me that was truly wonderful.  The thought and sentiment behind every card, gift, greeting and hug meant so much to me.  It is nice to feel like people really notice you, notice things about you, and want to show you love and make you happy.  It is not the nice gifts that make the difference, it is the people in your life that make you truly rich.  I hope all of you can experience that kind of true wealth.

Be blessed!

PS  I have much more exciting news to share with you soon...:)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Warm and Cozy

Warm and cozy, that is how I feel after finishing my first knitted article of clothing.  It was also my first design, which makes me feel good too.  I am going to wait to give you more details about this because it is a gift for my husband, and he is in the room as I am typing this.  But it is driving me nuts not to be able to talk more in depth about it!  It was so wonderful to put it on and feel how cozy and warm it is.  I finally get to feel the luxury of knitting something myself, and wearing it.

I think it will be a great Valentine's gift for him, and I have the feeling that I will be making more of these in the future.  More details to come...; D

I <3 Amigurumi

I found out about Amigurumi recently, which opened up another little world of knitted toys to me.  Amigurumi is knitted or crocheted, Japanese dolls.  It can be any little knitted or crocheted doll, really.  A lot of them are very stylized, but some of them are very realistic. Some of Jean Greenhowe or Alan Dart's work would qualify.  In fact, I found several great Amigurumi groups on Ravelry, and entered a contest with the most recent doll that I made (Jean Greenhowe's Winefred)

I also found a neat blog called  She has wonderful patterns that you can buy, as well as some that are free.  The designer's name is Anna, and I encourage you to find her on Ravelry and look at her blog if you are interested in knitting little, adorable Amigurumi dolls.

I was looking for a pattern for little knitted hearts and found her pattern.  Her hearts are so cute!!!  They are super easy to make, also.  (They are not knitted in the round, which is something I am just learning and can't do well yet.)  I made two in one day.  If I can do that while taking care of a 2 year old all day, you know that it is a really easy and quick knit.  (I knit a row here and there.)

Here are two of the three hearts I have made so far (I gave one away before I could photograph it):

I also found a really great Amigurumi knitting book that I really want to get.  I have looked all over for the best deals, and here is the best deal:  Knit Picks!  They are are having a 40% Sale on their books until February 22.  I have two books that I really want to get:  Amigurumi Knits and The Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman.  (I actually have a really long list of books that I want on Knit Picks and Amazon, but getting just those two on sale is a little more realistic for me.)
Please share with me your Valentine's projects.  I would love to see them!

I hope you all have a Splended Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Well, I turned in my submission for the Vanna's Choice Contest in time, but by the skin of my teeth.  : D  I was knitting up until the last minute, quite literally.  If you remember, I found out about the contest only about 3 weeks before the deadline, so I was on a very tight deadline.  (Being somewhat new to the amazing world of knitting sometimes has its disadvantages.)  Anyway, I thought it would be fun to at least try to turn something in, and, it was!  While I don't anticipate winning, I am very excited that I did this and entered the contest.  It was a really neat experience.

Step 1:  Shopping for Vanna's Choice Yarn

I shopped for Vanna's Choice Yarn at Michael's,  and bought a lot of yarn!  I decided to come up with my own color combinations, and this proved more challenging than I had anticipated.  I ended up picking a lot of different colors, thinking that I would return whatever I didn't use.  After picking out my yarn, I had to look around at a few more things (who can resist browsing at a craft store?)  I ran into a family friend and talked to a couple of shoppers.  Everyone commented on how much yarn I was buying.  I finally realized that because both mine and my daughter's coats, as well as the diaper bag, were filling up the entire bottom of the itsy bitsy, teeny weeny shopping cart, that it made my 10 or 15 skeins look like the entire shopping cart was filled and packed to the brim with yarn.  No wonder they thought I was buying a ton of yarn!  (Michael's, knitters and crafters everywhere emplore you to bring in some bigger carts.) 

Step 2:  Knitting, err, uh....Picking out Colors

A few days after buying the yarn, I finally got down to knitting.  Then I realized that if I was going to use my own color choices, that I was going to have to make sure that they all went together well.  There was not only clothing, but also shoes, hair, accessories,  a pet, etc.  Man, this was harder than it seemed.  

Step 3:  Knitting

After choosing pink to start the doll's stockings, I started knitting away on the Jean Greenhowe pattern that I had picked out:  Winefred's Wool Shop from the Little Dumpling Dolls, Part 1.  Now I was into the knitting part of the project, and the real fun began.  I had a deadline, and I was going to make it!  But not without some distractions.

Step 4:  Attempting to Dodge Distractions...

During this mad dash for the finish line, I also decided that I had to have the Dumpling Dolls, Part 2 knitting booklet.  I searched on Ebay and found several, however, they were going for absorbitent prices.  One sold for about $45!  These are wonderful booklets, and one could argue that Jean Greenhowe booklets are more than worth $45,  especially this one since it is out of print.  However, for one on a tight budget,  what something is worth and how much you want it doesn't always win out over the pocket book and how much is in it.  So, I kept looking.  

While I was looking for the Dumpling Dolls book, I found some other neat books on Ebay for great prices!  One of the pattern books contains knitting patterns for Care Bear dolls and matching sweaters.  I really loved the Care Bears when I was little, so this was nastalgic for me.  I watched the shows and movies, and my best friend and I had fun playing with her Care Bear house and little figures.  (We also loved Barbies, My Little Ponies, and Strawberry Shortcake.) I found several other booklets,which I won't go into now, but I have had a blast finding the most unique patterns, and most of them at extremely low prices. 

Well, it seemed like I could find anything at a decent price, except the main booklet that I was looking for.  I decided to post something in a Ravelry forum for Jean Greenhowe fans.  I promptly got a reply from someone in Scotland who had several copies.  She had found them in a dress shop in the Outer Hebrides Islands off the west coast of Scotland.  The store stocks a small amount of yarn.  The books were tucked away in a little box and seemed to have been from a previous owner, as the current owner didn't have any information about them.  I am so thankful to her, as I was able to pay her 6 pounds, including shipping!  (This was only about $9.50 in U.S. dollars!)  It is on it's way, and I will be able to knit little vegetables and food for the Dumpling Dolls, as well as the little men.  This definitely beats $45!   

Step 5:  Getting Back on Track

Well, my little booklet hunting detour was fun, but was a little distracting.  It didn't keep me from knitting my doll, but did take away some of my time.  (I am sure some of you Ravelholics out there can relate to something knitting-related taking away your knitting time.)  Anyway, I continued to knit the doll, her shop counter, the yarn balls, etc.  I decided not to knit the little dog, but to knit a little cat that I had seen in another Jean Greenhowe booklet.  

It was a lot of fun knitting all these pieces and sewing it all together.  My husband and I recently started the first season of "Lost,"  so I did a lot of the knitting while watching the show.  (Please don't tell me anything!)  My husband was very helpful, especially when I was stumped with color choices.  He was the one to suggest I make Winefred's hair blonde, which I love!  It goes well with her outfit.

Step 6:  Crossing the Finish Line  

I was knitting the little sweater that goes on the shop counter up until the last minute.  I was knitting as quickly as I could and sewing it together.  I was really disappointed in the construction of the shop counter, but there was no turning back.  My time was getting away with me and midnight drew near.  I had to fill out my application online, take and upload pictures, and get it all in on time.  After all this,  would I be able to complete my mission?  The clock was ticking.  I took pictures, uploaded, filled out the form, and submitted 11:57 pm!  Whewhh! I made it!  So relieving. 

Step 7:  Incomplete?   

I decided that I should check my email to see if they emailed me a confirmation, and they did.  It was delivered at 11:57 pm, so that was confirmation for me that I got it in on time by their standards.  In fact, the email actually gave me a confirmation number.  It also told me,  however, that my four photographs had not uploaded correctly, and that my submission couldn't be considered without a photo.  Oh no!  I was so upset!  What went wrong?  

I logged into the Lion Brand website and uploaded the pictures again.  Now it said that I had submitted it on February 2.  That is no good!  The deadline was February 1.  So I promptly emailed the company to find out if everything was okay with my submission.  I would have to wait until the next day to find out for sure. 

Step 8:  Relaxation

The next morning the phone woke me up bright and early.  Since I didn't recognize the number, I let it go to voicemail.  When I checked it, I was shocked to find out that it was Lion Brand calling.  They were just calling to tell me that I was, "good to go" with my submission.  What a pleasant suprise! 

So, that is basically the story of my first knitting contest experience.  I am so glad I did it, despite the ups and downs (and interests) in life distracting me.  I was able to pick out a pattern and yarn, knit it up, and submit it on time, however at the last minute it was.  I would highly recommend this to every knitter out there.  

As for me, I will try to find out about these things sooner.  Does anyone out there know of another contest?  As for the yarn, do you really think I am going to take back what I didn't use?  I think you know the answer to that question.  : D

Happy Knitting!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I have so much to be excited about in my little knitting world!

Plimoth Plantation Kit and the Search for Historically Authentic Knitting Needles

Yesterday I received the knitting kit from Plimoth Plantation!  It came with a large skein of brown wool, a pattern for a flat cap, a flyer about the knitting club at Plimoth Plantation, and a note from Denise Lebica (manager of clothing and textiles at Plimoth).

I am so looking forward to knitting this up!  Historical clothing and textiles is my passion!  The only problem is that the pattern calls for #3 double point knitting needles, which I do not have yet.  (I usually knit a little loosely, so I probably need #2's.)  I would really like to get historically accurate knitting needles for this, for both the fun of it, and also because I would like the option of knitting on-site at the local museums while in period costume.

I have been doing research online regarding the types of knitting needles that people used throughout the last few centuries.  I have also been reading "A History of Hand Knitting" and asking questions on Ravelry about this.  What I have found out so far is that during the 17th and 18th centuries, people were using knitting needles, called knitting "pins," that were very thin, steel double pointed needles.  (When I say thin, I mean really thin.)  They knitted mostly in the round.  They didn't start using wooden knitting needles with balls on the end (used to keep the knitted items from falling off) until around the middle of the 19th century when they started knitting flat pieces.  So now I am looking for some thin, steel, double pointed needles in size 2, as historically accurate as possible.  This is a project all unto itself!

The hat is knitted in the round, which means that it is now time for me to learn how to knit in the round.  I have seen this done when my Mom was knitting socks, and I watched parts of a video on how to knit socks.  However, I have never attempted it myself.  I think I will just try to go by the pattern and see if I can do it.  If I have problems I can call up my Mom or go to the local yarn store.

My Pink Needles!
Something really great happened to me the other day!  I have been purging,  sorting, organizing and cleaning a lot lately.  Sunday I worked on organizing my craft supply cart and shelves.  (I converted Cosette's diaper changing table into a craft cart.  I love it!)  While going through everything I found the pink, plastic knitting needles on which my Mom taught me how to knit as a child!!!!  So exciting and cool!  I had no idea that I still had them!  I showed them to Cosette and she, of course, loved them!  Now when she is old enough, I can teach her on the same needles that my Mom taught me on!  How cool!

Pic of Winter Mouse on Ravelry
Another neat thing happened to me the other day!  A volunteer editor on Ravelry asked me to give them permission to use the picture of my Winter Mouse as the featured picture on the Jean Greenhowe pattern page (on Ravelry).  I couldn't hit the "yes" button fast enough!  How flattering and exciting!  (Of course, I think mine is one of two of those mouses on Ravelry, but hey! it is still so neat!)

Neat Patterns
Okay,  maybe this is stretching it, but I am so excited about some neat patterns that I got in the mail today.  I have been scoping out Jean Greenhowe's Little Dumpling Dolls 2 on Ebay (I am using part 1 for the Vanna White contest).  Well, while I was looking for that book, I saw a lot of others that I liked.  We are on a budget, so I have to be pretty choosy.

Today two came in the mail.   I got Alan Dart's Gnomes at Home pattern book.  It is for a little Gingerbread house and two little knomes that you knit.  SO cute!  I also got Jean Greenhowe's MacScarecrow Clan (A Scottish Scarecrow Family).  SO neat!

There is also a story book that Jean's daughter wrote, and that both she and Jean signed, that is all about the MacScarecrow family.  I really want to get it some point in the future (oh, that budget!).  Anyway, the MacScarecrow Clan is very cute, though I wasn't that interested until I found out about the storybook.  I thought it was such a neat idea to be able to read Cosette stories and also knit her the characters.  The pattern book also has a story in the back, so that should hold us until we can get the storybook someday.  :D

Read more about the MacScarecrow Clan here.

Vanna Contest
Well, I am almost done with the main doll that I will be admitting into the Vanna's Choice Contest.  I still have a lot to do,  though, so I must go so that I can knit away.  I hope you will all be knitting away too!

Have fun on your knitting clouds!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vanna White, Pilgrims, and Babies...My Life is Complete

New addition to my yarn stash.

A Knitting Contest
I have yet another new project to tell you about.  I am entering a knitting contest!  :D  The other day I found out about a contest called the Vanna's Choice Contest.   To enter the contest you have to make a project using Vanna's Choice, Vanna's Choice Baby, or Vanna's Glamour Yarn.  It does not have to be your original design/pattern, but you can't violate copyright law (which basically means you have to have the designer's permission).  There are 4 categories: Afghans and Throws, Baby and Kids, Hats and Scarves, and Gifts and Crafts.  The deadline for the contest is February 1, 2010 (you have to apply to the contest with your photo by then).  So...I have exactly 18 days to finish a project and get it in on time.  :)

Here is a link to the website with more detailed information:

My Project

After looking at the winners from last year, and thinking about something that I could knit in about 3 weeks, I decided that a Jean Greenhowe design would be great for this.  While the designs I have made so far are pretty simple, some of them are very elaborate. Just the kind of thing to enter into a contest like this.Sunday night I emailed Jean Greenhowe for permission to use one of her designs in the contest.  Well, I got the reply Monday and they gave me permission!  :D  Yay!

So, last night I called my Mom and we brainstormed about what I could make to enter the contest.  I know one of her Red Nosed Gange clowns would be the best, but I wasn't really feeling it, plus, as a new knitter I wasn't sure if I could get it done in time. 

Check out a picture of the Jean Greenhowe clown, Sidney Slapstick, that my Mom made me when I was little.  Hers is the avatar for the pattern on Ravelry.  Can you tell I am a proud daughter?  :D

Well, after much discussion, we decided that the best one for me to knit was Winifred and her Wool Shop.  I will be personalizing this to Vanna's Choice Yarn.  I am so excited about this!  If I have time, I will also make one or more of the other Little Dumpling Dolls, like Lady Letitia.  You can see all of them here on Jean Greenhowe's website.  I am planning on making a little "set" to photograph the dolls in, too, since you have to send in a photo of the dolls.  This may or may not be as elaborate as Jean Greenhowe's set.  I guess that will all depend on time limits, as well.

A Trip to Michael's

Today I went to Michael's to get all the yarn.  There were so many great colors, and I decided to go with my own color scheme for the dolls, so it took me a while to pick out the colors.  I got a LOT of yarn. :) I vowed to take back whatever I didn't use, though, and that made me feel better. :)  Also, Vanna's Choice is on sale for 2 for $5.  After having visited yarn shops, learning about luxury yarn from my Mom, and receiving such luxury yarn from my Mom, this price seemed unbelievable.  Still, on my budget it is a lot.  Once again...I will take back whatever I don't use.  :D  I sure do hope I win the $1,000 first prize!!!!  :D 

The yarn in the right column was yarn that I already owned.  It makes me feel a little better to say that.  ;)

Yet another project...Plimouth Style

I also confirmed with Plimouth Plantation that I will be a volunteer knitter for them!  :D  Yay!  They will be sending me yarn and an historically accurate pattern in order to knit a hat for one of their historical interpreters.  I am so excited about this, as I have been wanting to learn more about the history of knitting.  One of my most passionate interests is historical clothing and textiles.  I am so intrigued, and very excited and humbled to get to be a part of this.  I can hardly wait to get my kit in the mail!  :D  I only wish that I lived closer to them so that I could be a part of the Knitter's Club.  Check it out:  Plimouth Plantation Knitter's Club.

Well, between our normal hectic life, knitting for a contest, knitting for Plimouth Plantation, and knitting for the pro-life you think I will be getting much sleep?  Maybe this wasn't the best week to train myself to get into bed by 10:00 pm....

Your Yawning Yarnie,