For the first time in over 30 years…

I’m doing my laundry in a laundromat. Such captivating entertainment!

And it is expensive. Wow. Takes me back to the last time I did this. I was active duty stationed in England. And so young! 

I am also going to take advantage of this down time to update my readers (hi mom!) of what’s going on. 

St. Patrick’s day hat – incomplete

I have been in a strange mood. I should be whipping out bunnies for the upcoming Easter season, but I just don’t have the heart.  Same for St. Patrick’s day. ūüėē I understand life goes on, and I also understand that sometimes, you need to sit back and watch it go by, even though it rankles the hell out of me. 

But I don’t understand what I did to highlight these paragraphs!

I must say all is not lost. I am making headway on my Hawaiian shirt that I attempted last year. 

Wave action!

 I’m not using the same cotton yarn I tried last time, but a more user friendly acrylic. I’m very excited about it and will post the pattern as soon as it’s finished – assuming it makes the cut. 

So, dear readers, I hope you’re enjoying your Tuesday, or as in my case, reliving an experience – and making the most of it!!

Sad News

Necessary mittens

Necessary mittens

It’s February and this winter has gone on forever. ¬†Normally, I’m a real fan of cold weather. ¬†I look forward to having a crackling fire going in our stove or playing outside in the snow and having an¬†excuse to knit or crochet almost nonstop. ¬†Of course, this month is generally when the blahs kick¬†in and I can’t get excited about anything, but this year the constant rain and darkness and worry is creating a different feel to my usually scheduled February lassitude.

On Sunday, my mother-in-law passed away (see Of Flooding and Exploding Dryers). ¬† That was way ahead of schedule. ¬†My husband was shocked, naturally, but also because he had just talked to his mother only a few days ago and she hadn’t indicated things were any worse. ¬†As to the why my husband and I had this erroneous notion that her death was in some mid-long distant future, I can’t really say. ¬†Maybe because she appeared to be relatively healthy and mobile when we saw her last month, or maybe, truly, we just didn’t want her to go. ¬†Since this notion created a warped sense of of time, preparations that should have been made earlier were all of a sudden upon us. ¬†We’ve spent the last several days making travel arrangements, funeral arrangements, buying clothes and so much more that I can’t think straight – and there’s still a lot more to do. ¬†As I lie here in bed, typing this entry in the dark, I hear the wind whipping up the trees and hope this won’t delay any travel plans for tomorrow because I am ready for this to be over.

Our new fur baby, Nicky, playing with his recently adopted brother, the chocolate lab, Mario.

Our new fur baby, Nicky, playing with his recently adopted brother, the chocolate lab, Mario.

In the meantime, life goes on. ¬†I’ve managed to make a few more hats for sell, make our¬†new little rescue fur baby a doggie vest and I’m working, slowly, on a pair of mittens.

What are you working on?  I need some good news, dear readers!

*Name changed for privacy.

Ain't he a little stinker?

Ain’t he a little stinker?

Natural Knitter or Crocheter

Now this is something I could use some help with!

Now this is something I could use some help with!

While perusing the abysmally small selection of knit and crochet books at Barnes and Noble, I realized something about myself. ¬†I was focused solely on the knitting books. ¬†I thought to myself, Hang on. ¬†Why no crochet? ¬†I did a double take on the crochet offerings and noticed titles about cowls and scarves. ¬†I smiled to myself. ¬†Yea. ¬†Don’t need instruction on that. ¬†I revisited the knitting titles. ¬†There were a lot of subjects that I felt didn’t need further instruction, but conversely, there were so many more that I felt totally lacking.

I have had an on again, off again romance with stranding, and in this most recent flare, Scandinavian designs. ¬†I have made a few stranded items, and I’m still not happy with the results. ¬†I’ve read books, I’ve watched instructional videos and I’ve even asked advice. ¬†Still not happy. ¬†But I’ll follow my own advice, and persevere. ¬†Sooner or later, I’ll get it!

Now let’s talk gloves. ¬†I’m not talking mittens or fingerless mittens. ¬†I’m talking gloves with four fingers and a thumb. ¬†Haven’t made them. ¬†Scared. ¬†Yes, I said it. ¬†Scared of spending a lot of time and effort and getting a sub-par result (reference the above stranding).

Again, I thought about crocheting. ¬†I don’t know all there is to know, and I’m happy with my current level of expertise (advanced beginner to intermediate), but I’m not afraid of anything!

So does thus mean I’m a natural crocheter, which is way easy for me, or does this mean that knitting is actually more difficult? ¬†You wouldn’t know that to look at some people whipping out impossible knit designs who claim they just can’t do crochet.

What are you?  Does one craft come easier to you than the other, or are you fortunate enough to have an innate feel for both?

 

Presenting…the Chicken Skodie!

chicken-skodie-3I do love the hood/cowl combo, so I decided to make another version of it -the chicken skodie! I don’t know about where you live, but chickens are real popular in my neck of the woods, so I thought, eh, why not? ¬†Quick and easy to make like all the others, this will be someone’s favorite winter accessory. ¬†Free for your use, if you do make to sell, just link back to me.

Enjoy!

Pattern

Knitting – machine or not?

Doesn't look like knitting

Doesn’t look like knitting

I made the mistake of signing up for a machine knitting group, thinking it was a regular knitting group. ¬†I have just unregistered, but it got me thinking. ¬†Again. ¬†Am I knit purist or snob? ¬†I don’t think using a knitting machine can be rightly considered knitting. ¬†Is it even a craft? ¬†I’m not dinging the people out there who love to do this. ¬†I know it’s a lot faster to finish a project¬†than hand knitting, but I also know it’s limiting. ¬†I had purchased a machine about three years back because I thought for a minute that I wanted to crank out my own sweaters. ¬†Then I went on YouTube and looked at some how-to videos. ¬†It doesn’t appear to require a whole bunch of…technique. ¬†Is that what a makes a craft? ¬†Practice? ¬†Discipline? ¬†Does it take any of these things to use a knitting machine? ¬†I have no idea, as my foray into the world of semi-automated knitting was short lived. ¬†I didn’t even open the box; I returned it immediately.

Ah. There it is.

Ah. There it is.

I think it depends on why you’re using the machine. ¬†My idea of making my own designs and then making the garment was valid enough; however, while waiting for the machine (I ordered it online), I realized that my passion was not for cranking out mass amounts of sweaters, but the act of knitting itself. ¬†Feeling the needles in my hand, the yarn that seems to automatically wrap around my right hand fingers for tension, holding my mouth a certain way as I fight with a particularly difficult cable, the whole throwing vs. picking technique, continental vs. English, the mobility of it while you tote around your latest pair of socks, sitting around a table with other knitters while talking about knitting! – that’s knitting.

I would like to hear from both sides! ¬†For those of you who use machines, do you use them exclusively or do you mix it up with hand knitting? ¬†For those of you who hand knit, why did you start? ¬†Was it a yarn thing, the finished product thing, a family thing…? ¬†Let me know.

Halloween Purse Pattern – Free until midnight of September 29th!

My Halloween Purse poll got such a nice response, I decided to write a pattern for it.  Be warned Рyou will need a sewing machine.  Follow this link:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/halloween-purse

and use the code “halloweenfreebie” to download the pattern for free until midnight on September 29th. ¬†Don’t forget, if you like the pattern but would like to use it past Halloween, just change the colors. ¬†It’s a versatile, sturdy tote that will get you compliments – this has been field tested!

Enjoy!

Front

Front

My First Knit Blanket

So easy to make.

So easy to make.

With the days getting shorter, the leaves turning color, and here in California the rainy season has started, it’s easier to stay productive with

One day this little strip will grow up to be a comfy throw!

One day this little strip will grow up to be a comfy throw!

the yarn. ¬†While I was making the Halloween Purse, I got a special request for some minion hats for Halloween. ¬†Didn’t have a pattern, and since it was for my niece’s daughters, I threw in the pink. ¬†Real simple. ¬†And now, I’ve taken up my very first knitted blanket project. ¬†Knitted, not crocheted. ¬†I’ve made plenty of crocheted blankets because it just goes faster, but this is thicker yarn and I’m hopeful it will be done before Thanksgiving. ¬†We’ll see.