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:  http://www.vannaschoice.com/

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 ministry...do 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,

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Look, New Project, New Knitting Resolution

Hello!  I hope everyone's New Year has been great!  I have been feeling a lot better lately, and thought I would say hello.  :)  I have spent the week doing normal chores like laundry and dishes, but trying not to over do it too much.  I have been knitting as much as I can on my projects, which has been fun (of course!).  I have also been spending time with Nathan's Mom who was off for the holidays, which was great! It was fun to do some fun things with her and Cosette, to relax, to juice some vegetables and fruit, and to spend a little extra time with my hubby. Tonight we went to the Olive Garden, (which was wonderful!), and we just talked and talked and talked. Nathan will start classes tomorrow, so my little reverie will be at and end. It sure has been nice to relax and spend time together. :) sigh!

A New Look

Well, as you can see, my blog looks a little different. I was reading a blog that I follow, (http://studentknitter.blogspot.com/), and saw a link to a free blog background page. They have beautiful graphics, so I decided to try it out. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I would love to know if you like it, or if you think it is too busy. I may try different ones out in the next few weeks, so feel free to let me know which ones you like. :)

A New Project

Right before coming back home I started a Debbie Bliss baby sweater (embroidered baby sweater) in a size 3T for Cosette.  I am using some kettle dyed, orange wool that is gorgeous!  (Thanks Mom!)  The sweater has a moss stitch pattern, which is fun to knit, and shows off the colors of the yarn beautifully.  I am using size 4 and 6 knitting needles.  I am working on the back portion of the sweater right now. 

Here is my progress so far (please excuse my photography.  I am still learning how to best photograph my knitting):

A Knitting Resolution
I am also developing an idea.  I have been wanting to get involved in the Pro-Life ministry for a while, as I am very passionate about the Right to Life, and have my own pro-life story (perhaps I will share more about that in the future).  Well, with this crazy schedule, there is not much time to volunteer.  However, I read that the crisis pregnancy center here in Huntsville gives baby showers for the women that they help; and I thought that it would be neat if I could knit baby clothes for the baby showers.  Maybe other people will want to get involved as well.  What do you think?

I posted something asking for advice on a group forum on Ravelry, and someone responded wanting to give me some baby yarn that they didn't want anymore. I thought that was so sweet! It was also very encouraging to me, as I can see that others may also be interested in helping. Thanks so much Sharon!!!

I would love any ideas that you have.  Maybe the people at my church would be interested in helping?  I have been looking at baby patterns over the last couple of days, and am considering the different variations of the 5 hour baby sweater.  It seems quick, and I tried a swatch with an acrylic yarn, but it didn't turn out too well.  It did knit quickly on size 10 needles, but it was kind of thin looking.  Do you have any advice, ideas, quick baby patterns, or yarn recommendations?  I would appreciate any help you could give me!

I will let you know how this goes...