Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where have you been?

Hopefully some of you die hard fans of mine have been asking yourselves just that.  Where are my entertaining blog posts to get you through your day?

Well my dears, I have been occupied with other projects than my knitting (!!!)  Shocking.  My friends from Ann Arbor came to visit and boy are they distracting in the best way possible!  We had lots of romping adventures and I got to practice my photography.  Here's our best shot:

Yesterday I pickled some beets.  We ran out of sugar so they are VERY vinegary.  I am considering making warning labels. 

Now that everyone's gone and the beets are pickling, I have pulled on my plaid pj shorts over my pink sweatpants and have just sat down to start some new projects.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It's WHAT Time?

That, friends, is how I feel every time I look at the clock.  I spent quite a long time this morning changing the whole layout of my blog, only to decide in the end that I liked it better how I had it in the first place!  So much craziness is happening right now, it's a wonder I can remember to do anything.  I flipped out for a while earlier because I thought I had missed my dental appointment only to discover that it's actually tomorrow.  Those are the kind of odds I'm up against as I struggle to be productive.

On a happier note, my spinning is going very well indeed!  I hand-dyed some wool on Monday night with my two knitting gals, Kat and Kelly!  Fun night, good company, and, of course, crazy cats!  Don't worry, I've included a picture.

I have also almost finished spinning up some lovely silk and merino fiber that I got at the Ann Arbor Fiber Expo last fall.  I have plans for it but they're secret.

The key to this spinning success?  Some KnitPicks podcasts and PG Wodehouse books on tape.  I love the podcasts because they are inspirational and educational.  Kinda like the PBS of knitting.  As for Mr. Wodehouse, well...he's just my favorite.  I love the tales of the cavorting Wooster who's always getting himself engaged to ridiculous women and his gentleman's personal gentleman, Jeeves, who then has to get him out of the situation.  Never hear of either?  Check them out.  You won't regret it.  Or you might but that's not really my fault now is it?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Names 'n' Things

I am on a mission to come up with a name for my knitting and my eventual event consulting businesses.  Yesterday I had a rhythm going.  I would come up with a name, write it down, think about it, and finally ask my father about it.  All good stuff.  We made it through about ten ideas before my father decided to google all the names and see if they'd been used already.  Turns out ALL of my ideas had been.  I'm stumped!!!  Any ideas friends?

Apart from a bit of creative inspiration failure, today was an excellent knitting day.  I sent out my very first submission to a knitting magazine for one of their upcoming issues!  I designed a pattern AND wrote an article!  I am beyond excited.  I have been working on this for weeks and now it's finally out of my hands.  No matter what happens, I'll let you all know more details when I find out.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Appreciation? I'm not so sure.

Anna wanted to know if Sorcha appreciated her Christmas mice that I knit for her.  Here's the surviving one:

The other one had been reduced to a pile of stuffing.  This one, though it is mostly in tact, has lost quite a bit of it's tail and stuffing.

I do believe that somewhere in her cat brain, Sorcha is telling me she loves her presents.  However, if one of you ever ripped apart one of my knitted gifts with your teeth, I'd probably cry.  And then have you committed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Finishing School

I have SO many projects lying around that are knit but not sewn together.  Thus today I have opened my finishing school in an effort to tidy up the masses.  I have a lot of loose ends going on in my life right now (that sounds dramatic doesn't it?) and I'd like to do something about them.  Perhaps some inspirations will come to me while I'm knitting.

My dear kitty Sorcha decided she wanted to be a part of the knitting today.  Only, per usual, her method of helping was to steal my yarn and bite my needles.  She has since been confined to my room.  Not that she minds since she sleeps on my pillow everyday anyways.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Got your attention, didn't I?  Yes, I have found a picture of a knitted brain, which you can see to the right.  Awesome right?  It's from this site called The Museum of Anatomically Correct Fabric Brian Art.  Check it out here:

On another note, does anyone want to do the 2012 Knitting Olympics?  Basically you cast on a challenging (but not impossibly hard) knitting project as the torch is lit and you have to finish before the torch is extinguished!  The information for this Knitting Olympics isn't up yet (since the real Olympics are still about 7 months away).  Just something to keep in the back of your mind.

Friday, January 13, 2012

1 Down, Many To Go

I finished my first commissioned project today!  It was for my mother... but still, that counts right?  Anyways, here's a picture:
It is a head wrap with a knitted/beaded flower!  I am on a roll making these flower head wraps so if anyone wants one... well you know where to find me.

In other knitting news, I am full of pattern designing inspiration, color work still presents a challenge, and I finished another baby hat for my mother.  Basically, if you want to talk designing, I'm in.  If you know anything about color work, please share.  And if you want to see the baby hat I just finished...um, go track down the baby who's currently wearing it?  Not sure where that one was going.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Favorite TV Knitter

Tobias Funke from Arrested Development.  Check out the size of those needles!

Knitting Blues

I confess, I developed the knitting blues Sunday afternoon and they wouldn't go away yesterday.  Instead of fun and exciting, all my projects seemed stressful and unappealing.  I couldn't bring myself to even think about lace patterns.  Anything that took longer than a few hours to knit was completely overwhelming to me.

Then, last night, I took two of the projects that were stressing me out the most and I ripped them out.  Dramatic, perhaps but I realized the patterns were overly complicated and just not very fun to work.  So I found a new pattern for the head wrap I'm making for a friend and I was able to knit it up in about two hours.

What am I trying to say here?  That there are projects out there that are not as big and intimidating as lace shawls or color work mittens and frankly, I'd forgotten to have some of those going.  I love the challenge and excitement of the knitting process but I also love the calming satisfaction of finishing a project.  It's all about the balance.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Projects

I posted some new pictures of my projects on Ravelry!  Check 'em out.

Here's a little preview:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Knitting Group

Hello dears,

Today was my first venture out to the knitting/spinning group in Cedar, MI (about 20 mins outside of TC for those of you who don't know)!  I cannot say enough good things about this day and this group.  Just 10 or so women of all ages, sitting around on some couches and chairs in a beautiful yarn shop, knitting and chatting.

I did not get much knitting done over these two and a half hours but my friend was able to re-teach me how to drop spindle!  I finally got started spinning my lovely pink and brown wool (as you can kinda see in my picture).

Now I am full of ideas and inspirations.  I do believe it is a good time to jump into the designing projects that have been bouncing around my mind...  Pillow covers for my parents are first on my list.

I have not talked about what's on my needles lately.  Mostly because there is far too much for me to go through the whole list.  However, I am getting into commissioned projects!  Besides the pillow covers and Hannah's lace wrap, I have a cape and two flower head wraps lined up!  Celia's knitting shop is finally open for business.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

So Many Projects!!!

Early this morning, my sister asked me which knitting project she should start on next.  As if I could be responsible for choosing what another person has a strong desire to create!  I don't even do that for new knitters.  Instead I give the knitter the tools to knit anything and the resources to find some lovely free patterns.  A knitting project takes time, effort, and commitment.  Thus the odds of actually completing something go up exponentially when it is a project you love.

Knitting can take many forms, like these awesome knitted
bracelets, for example.  Pattern available on Ravelry.
I find I am most excited about my knitting when I have a number of projects going; some easy, some difficult, and all interesting.  Thus for the new years I treated myself after my rush of Christmas present knitting and started 11 new projects.  I then also made a prioritized list of what I'm knitting and when I thought each project could be completed by.

If that sounds like WAY too much work and not fun at all, don't do it.  Maybe your strategy is to knit one project through to completion and then start a new one.  That's great too.  Just remember to choose something YOU are excited to knit, not what someone else (even a wise knitter) thinks you should knit.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Patience is key

Yesterday I was teaching two long time knitters some new techniques and I was struck by how patient they were, both with me and with themselves.  Usually when I teach new knitters, I have to remind the learner to be patient and keep practicing, even when you have to tear out and start again.  These women, however, had already learned that lesson and were therefore much more open to new techniques.  In no time at all my mother had embarked on her first pair of socks (after some 14 years of exclusive baby hat knitting) and our friend had remastered knits and purls after her long knitting hiatus.

As a knitter, one of the most valuable qualities you possess is the ability to teach others.  There are just some important things to keep in mind:

1. Make sure the knitter has bought their own yarn and needles.  These steps require a level of commitment that makes the person more likely to continue.  Also you can't go around handing our your hard earned needle and yarn stash!

2.  Remind your new knitter that it takes patience and practice.  Stick with them until they have the basics down but then allow the knitter to make their own mistakes.

3. If the knitter has already learned a technique that perhaps you don't use (continental knitting versus English for example), let them continue that technique.  Just because you don't understand how someone is making the stitches doesn't mean the method is wrong, provided you are both ending up with the same knits and purls in the end.

4. Don't feel like you've failed if the new knitter decides to give up on their knitting.  You are there as a supportive resource but in order to knit, the student must have the drive to continue even when the stitches get tangled.  Whatever you do, DO NOT finish the project for them.  The new knitter won't learn and you'll feel used.

With these in mind, go out and spread the joy!  One of my favorite moments was when Hannah finished her first scarf that I had taught her to knit.  Very rewarding.