Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Rare Book Review

I am not in the habit of writing book reviews but this one is absolutely necessary.  Last night I stumbled across Nicky Epstein's Knitting on Top of the World while perusing my local library shelves.

I am also not one to call books "gems" but this one is.  An absolute diamond of a find.

What makes this book so wonderful?  It is a collection of knitting history from around the world, complete with fantastic patterns that exemplify the cultural styles and techniques.  Gorgeous full length photos show off the garments in all of their dazzling colors.  I often tease my sister because she likes to pick out what she wants to wear from pattern books, rather than what she wants to knit. With this book, however, I am doing both.  I want to knit and wear just about everything!  Right now!

As I have started to design more, I've realized that many patterns in the knitting books I find can be easily duplicated, changed, or knit patternless.  Sometimes I wonder, pessimistically, if there are any new designs to be made at all.  Nicky's book, though, is exceptionally unique.  Her patterns are challenging, glamorous, steeped in cultural history AND could be see strutting down the runway.  She is, undoubtably, a master knitter and designer.  I feel inspired, challenged, and excited to knit this book cover to cover!

No worries, friends.  I will definitely be bringing it to knitting group this Saturday.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Morning After

After an excellent weekend with Alicia, I am quite exhausted.

The Oscar party last night was fabulous!  I am talking all out glam and bling.  Although I was too busy tabulating votes to knit, Kat and Jane held down the fort, knitting wise.  Now, true to morning-after-a-big-party tradition, my thoughts are muddled and I am finding this typing challenging.  Solution?  Pictures!

Jane being a busy bee with her lovely silk hankies (from Briar Rose Fibers)!

Kat succumbs to exhaustion and caffeine.  Being a glam queen is hard work!

I may not have been knitting but I was tap dancing!  Or trying to.  It's on my to do list:
1. Learn to tap dance
2. Have a superhero birthday party
3. Find some burlap sacks and make things out of them

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Madness Begins

Hexipuff madness, that is.  Started last night and now has consumed my thoughts.  I am like a character in a Nora Roberts book.  Only instead of mooning over a guy, I am mooning over little hexagons of yarn with some wool stuffed in them.

The promised pictures:

Some ducks chilling in the Boardman river.  Literally.  It was chilly.

Kat and her very first Hexi puff!  Yes, they are very teeny tiny.  Thus the cute factor.

My first puffs!  Per Jane's recommendation, I believe googley eyes and fangs will be added somewhere down the road.  

My fair isle hat in its current state of affairs.  Another obsession.  It's a wonder I get anything else done.  Which I don't, actually...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sleepy Monday

After a long weekend of family adventures, I am ready for a sleepy Monday.  My sister is working quietly away at her endless Algebra homework as she listens to her favorite celtic music.  I must say that Irish ballads are, in general, serious sob fests.

Tonight will be the start of the long awaited hexipuff madness!  Pictures to follow.  Also I have lots of pictures of some ducks that I took this weekend.  And some embarrassing ones of the family.  We went to dinner at the restaurant where my sister works and when she came over to take our orders, my aunt and I started wildly snapping pictures of her.  She thinks I will not share them but I made no such promises.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Fair Isle

I have gotten  a surprising amount of knitting done, in relation to my lack of blogging.  For the past two days I have been chauffeuring my mother to births.  In the wait for the baby to be born, there is a lot of time to knit.  My latest obsession?  Fair isle.  
Last week I knit a hat with a couple of small color work designs.  I loved it.  Now I have upgraded to a delicate fair isle hat, knit with alpaca and bamboo fingering weight yarn.  If I wasn’t battling exhaustion and the lace tank top, I would be able to post a finished photo.  It’ll be here soon.  
In the meantime, here are a few pictures from the fabulous Wool & Honey Yarn & Chocolate event last friday!  It seems like years ago now, but it was a great night, filled with delicious chocolate, breath-taking yarns, and fabulous people!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Snow Day!

I kid you not, this is LITERALLY my favorite kind of day!  It is a gorgeous, snowy, winter wonderland outside and I could not be happier.  I have my knitting, my trashy movies, my trashy romance novel, and my best pal Sorcha.  Could this get any better?

Last night Hannah and I discovered that Sorcha's new favorite movie is How to Train Your Dragon.  She sat in front of the TV and pawed at the dragons for a good half an hour!  It was the longest she sat in one place all day yesterday.

This may not be snow related but it is beautiful and I took it!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I got my pictures uploaded from my new camera!  So here is a photo-blog post to commemorate the occasion.
Melvin 2 taking a romp through some African Violets.

My inspiration board.  Thanks Anna for the idea!

My Aunt Keri's big mean cat Peace.  

Some of my pickled beets.

Aww.  Sorcha loves Harry.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lazy Sunday

My family members have been rather surprised at my enthusiasm for Superbowl Sunday.  Then I explained, 3 hours of football (or more, who knows!) = 3 hours of uninterrupted knitting.  It's a win-win.

I have to start cleaning up from my messy startitis attack.  In my project starting frenzy I threw some old projects on waste yarn, tossed bags all over my room, and chucked any yarn I couldn't use right then into a large pile in the corner.  Kinda scary potatoes.

In other news, I bought a new camera!  A fancy new camera!  I knew it was coming for some weeks now. Then yesterday I took a romp down to the Camera Shop, clutching my dear friend Natalie's recommendations in one hand and my credit card in the other.  A half hour later I left with a used Canon D20, lense, camera bag, memory card, and lots of ideas!  As soon as I figure out how to upload pics I'll be sure to pass them along.  And yes, most of them are of Sorcha.

I have been really fascinated with pictures of winter wonderlands lately.  Thought I'd share a few.  Get excited about the pics I'm gonna post!

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Bad Case of Startitis

That, dear friends, is what I am currently suffering from.  Last night I started nine new projects and would have started a tenth if I could find my size 4 circulars.  It was utter madness at the old homestead.  There were needles and yarn flying everywhere!

I generally love catching startitis.  The problem is when, in the cold light of morning, I begin to panic about how I am going to get all these new projects done!  I still have a few leftover from the last attack, actually.  Which I should prioritize...

On the plus side, I have now finished two of the four pillow covers.  Here's one:

And this is also when I promise to stop posting pictures that I took on my computer camera.  They are truly terrible in the resolution department.  I am currently shopping for a new camera.  Get prepared for magic to happen when that arrives!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lace in the Face

For the past few days I have been trying to avoid struggling with my sister's commissioned lace tank top, knit on the largest needles with the tiniest yarn.  Normally I am up to the challenge of lace knitting.  I love the intricate patterns that require my whole concentration.  I love the delicate colors of the yarns.  I particularly love how impressive the piece looks once it's blocked.  Starting out lace projects?  That I do not love.

Today, however, I had a breakthrough.  I have finally become used to the silk/alpaca lace yarn, the needles are cooperating, and I have the stitch markers in the right place!  I may even be seeing some semblance of a pattern!  Either that or it's a mistake.  Can you tell I have a love/hate relationship with knitting lace?

Despite my personal emotions, I think every knitter should try a lace pattern at least once.  To ensure that it is a fruitful test, I have a few tips to share.

Celia's Tips on Knitting Lace
1. Write the pattern out on index cards or develop your own method of breaking it down row by row.  That way you can keep track of where you are.

2. Place a stitch marker after each pattern repeat.  That way, if you make a mistake, you can catch it quickly.

3. Remember that lace is bunchy and lumpy until its been blocked.  There is a HUGE difference between blocked and unblocked projects.

Now, as a treat for me and you, I will share the project that I have been ogling for over a month.

It's the Beekeeper's Quilt by tiny owl knits.  There's really no way around it.  I must knit it.