Monday, August 25, 2008

Ravelympics Have Ended

The Ravelympics came to a close at 8:59am last Sunday. I managed to complete 8 projects - 4 new and for UFOs. I was up until 1am Saturday night, madly sewing a zipper in to Jackson's Max Jacket while watching the final Gold Medal Basketball game. The next morning, I was up early with the baby, photographing finished items and posting them to the "finish line" forum thread. My final post was entered at 8:56am with 3 minutes to spare.

Here is the Medal count:
2- Pinwheel Blankie #1 - Gift Knits Pentathalon & Afghan Marathon
2- Pinwheel Blankie #2 - Gift Knits Pentathalon & Afghan Marathon
2- Grrlfriend Market Bag - Gift Knits Pentathalon & Bag 'n Tote Backstroke
2- Calorimetry Headband - Gift Knits Pentathalon & Hat Dash
1- Spiral Shrug (purple wool) - WIP Wrestling
1- Lacy Diamonds Scarf - WIP Wrestling
1- Spiral Circle Felted Bag - WIP Wrestling
1- Max Jacket (Red) - WIP
12 Medals Who-Hoo!

More importantly I have a ton of great gifts ready to send out, my UFO basket is half empty, and I've met a lot of fun knitaholics on the teams that I was competing with.

Final Photos and the scoop on each item:
Pinwheel Blankie #1 & #2
Here is "photo finish" proof that I actually made 2 blankies. They are identical except that I alternated stripe and tie colors between them. My mother is embroidering matching onesies and socks, then we will be sending out this gift to my new brand new baby cousins.

Grrlfriend Market Bag
I have been meaning to make a market bag, and It ended up the perfect project to work on while on a family road trip to northern California. Driving through central california was QUITE HOT, and the cotton yarn was a dream to work with. The pattern was interesting enough to keep me going, but easy enough that I didn't have to stare at my work and get car sick. I love the mitered square bottom and I love the way my ombre yarn decided to stripe perfectly for the bod and handles of the bag. I will definitely be making more of these.

Calorimetry Headband
This was a last minute entry into the Ravelympics. I needed a little brain break, and realized that I wasn't going to finish my Entrelac Pillow in time, so I chose to make this headband instead. It took about 3 hours and was really quite satisfying. I am thrilled with how the striping turned out. I am glad that I read the message boards about how if you make it according to the pattern it will be way to Big. I ended up using needles 2 sizes smaller than it called for and casting on 20 fewer stitches. It fits great and I love it. I may have enough yarn left for one more that I can keep for myself!

Spiral Shrug (purple wool)
This little purple number was to test my pattern for the original Spiral Shrug that I made for Charlotte. I was able to work out the things I was unsure of, and I'm quite happy with the end product. NOW, I need to sit down and actually WRITE the pattern and edit the photos. The other road-block that I'm struggling with is how many sizes to offer it in, and will I actually have to make a sweater in each size to make sure my directions will work?

Lacy Diamonds Scarf
I started knitting this scarf last Christmas to match some berets that I was making for gifts. I finished one skein of yarn and couldn't be bothered to dig through the next skein to find the perfect place to begin with. The self striping yarn is such a huge repeat, and I was dreading how much yarn I would waste. It ended up only taking a few minutes, and I only wasted about a yard. What was I so worried about? After a few hours of knitting, I was done. Now it's ready to give out this Christmas. Could I actually call myself ahead of the game?

Spiral Circle Felted Bag
This bag was a quick knit. I worked it up in 2 days. I had dreamed about how to do it, and I needed to get it out of my system. Then, it hibernated in my UFO basket until I got around o felting it during the Olympics. I have a front loading washer which is not friendly to felting, and I was dreading going to the laundromat. I discovered a drain setting and a no spin function on my machine that I thought I would try out. It ended up working out really well, and I may end up trusting future projects to my machine again.

Max Jacket (Red)
I worked feverishly on this sweater a few months ago, and stalled out when I couldn't find a zipper. I ended up ordering one online, but never had the drive to actually sew the dang thing in. It is actually quite torturous sewing a zipper into a sweater. I'll keep that in mind with future projects. The sweater is quite big on Jackson right now, so at least he will be able to wear it for a few seasons. Now if I could only get up the nerve to pull Mikey's green one out again!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pinwheel Blankie Pattern Adaptation

My first Ravelympics finished object, the Pinwheel Blankie is complete. It is an adaptation of Genia Planck's Pinwheel Baby Blanket pattern.

Here is the pattern for my version:

  1. Main Color: 1 cone Peaches & Creme yarn in "faded denim"
  2. Stripe Color: 150 yards of Peaches & Creme cotton yarn in "chocolate,"
  3. Tie Color: 35 yards of a contrasting color for the ties. (I used Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Charcoal, since it wasn't available in Peaches & Creme cotton)

  1. US size 11 circular needle in at least a 32" length. I used Knit Picks Harmony needles.
  2. Yarn Needle to weave in ends
  3. Size H crochet hook
Note: Entire blankie is worked using 2 strands of yarn at once. If you are working off of a cone, pop out the cardboard cone and work with the inside and outside end of yarn. To help eliminate tangling, thread the inner end of yarn through the small hole at the top of the cone of yarn, and re-insert the cardboard cone back into place.
  • Round 1: Cast on 5 stitches using 2 strands of the main color.
  • Round 2: Knit around using magic loop method (see Knit Picks tutorial). Place a marker to mark the beginning of the round.
  • Round 3: (m1, k1) x 5 around to marker [10 stitches].
  • Round 4: knit
  • Round 5: (yo, k1) x 10 around to marker. [20 stitches].
  • Round 6: knit
  • Round 7: (yo, k2) x 10 [30 stitches]
  • Round 8: knit
  • Round 9: (yo, k3) x 10 [40 stitches]
  • Round 10: knit
  • Round 11: (yo, k4) x 10 [50 stitches]
Continue this pattern of adding a stitch with a yarn over in each section until there are 230 stitches on your needle at the end of round 46. There are 10 sections, 10 more stitches are added on each yo round. At some point it will no longer be necessary to work in magic loop, and you will be able to extend your needle fully.

  • Rounds 47: Change to contrasting stripe color leaving at least 8" tails, and knit around.
  • Round 48: (yo, k23) x 10 [240 stitches]
  • Round 49: knit
  • Rounds 50: Change back to main color. (yo, k24) x 10 [250 stitches]
  • Round 51: knit
  • Round 52 - Eyelet round: yo, k1, (yo, k2tog) x 12 [260 stitches]
  • Round 53: knit
  • Round 54: Change to contrasting stripe color. (yo, k26) x 10 [270 stitches]
  • Round 55: knit
  • Round 56: (yo, k27) x 10 [280 stitches]
  • Round 57: Change to main color, knit around.
  • Round 58: Purl
  • Round 59: (yo, k28) x 10 [290 stitches]
  • Round 60: Purl
  • Round 61: Bind off in Knit
Weave in ends. If you are using cotton, weave them in 3 or 4 more stitches than you normally would, since cotton ends tend to poke out especially after washing.

With 2 strands of contrasting tie color and crochet hook, chain a lenth of cord that is the circumference of your blankie at the point of the eyelet row plus 12." Do not cut your yarn yet! Using the beginning end of the cord, weave it in and out of the eyelet holes. Be careful not to twist the cord as you work, and keep a nice even tension, so that it doesn't gather up the blankie (too tight) or look too loopy (too loose). Leave about a 6" tail of cord at the end. Chain more cord or unravel some to adjust length to 6" on working end. Cut yarn, weave in ends, and tie a bow.

I generally don't block my cotton blankies, but you are welcome to if yours needs it.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ravelympics Update

After 2 days of furious knitting, I am 95% finished with blankie #1 and 20% finished with blankie #2. Since they are for twins, I wanted the blankies to be almost identical, but not quite. I was undecided how to do this, and figured something would come to me while I knit.
The first blankie has 2 chocolate colored stripes running around the border. I was going to weave in a chain of chocolate yarn into the border eyelets, and then thought, maybe a different color there would help change things up. I have decided to use navy for the outer stripes of blankie #2 and weave in a chain of chocolate, then weave in a chain of navy into blankie #1. I can't believe I don't have ANY navy blue cotton in my house. I may need to run to the store within the next day or so, so that I can keep up my momentum.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Charlotte's First Spiral Baby Shrug is Complete

After a few weeks of knitting and frogging, knittig and frogging, I have finally finished Charlotte's first Spiral Baby Shrug. Why "first" you ask? There are still one or two kinks that I'm trying to work out in the pattern before I publish it, so I'm making another one, in purple (of course) to test it out.I think Charlotte really likes this sweater, although she wasn't too thrilled with having to try it on over and over again in 85 degree heat. The soy yarn is super soft, and my guess is it breathes really well.
The body of the sweater is basically a circle with sleeves. It is completely seamless. The only sewing involved weaving in ends and sewing on a button. I started out in the center back making a spiraling circle, added sleeves and shifting to 2/2 rib for the collar and cuffs.
I am really happy with how the spiraling extends from the back and around the sleeves and to the front. I need to try this on a few sizes of kids, because I'm not really sure what size to label it. I think this will end up fitting Charlotte for a while. I made cuffs that can fold back when their arms are shorter and extend as they grow. It is also quite stretchy and only has to stretch across the chest to button. My boys chests stayed about the same size as they got older, they just grew upwards.
Here is the purple combo. I am knitting it out of Knit Picks worsted weight Swish superwash wool yarn in "wisteria." This yarn is a little heavier than the soy, so I'm working it on size 7 needles. I should be a slightly bigger sweater that way that can fit a larger range of kids. I am hoping that the pattern can just be a one size fits most toddlers kind of thing. I am happy to say this version is going much faster, since the pattern is 98% figured out, and there has been a lot less reworking necessary. I am hoping to have this one done by Thursday night, so I can jump into the Ravelympics full force on Friday.

Courtney and Jeff have thrown the challenge out to me to adapt it for women's sizing. Ahh - I love a good challenge.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

New Entrelac Hand Towel Pattern Available

I have NOT been as vigilant as I would have liked about my pattern a week goal for the rest of the summer. I stalled out during my birthday, then I stalled out again when my back went out a few days ago. I have been too busy working and re-working my Spiral Baby Shrug design (oh, and raising 3 kids) to sit for very long at the computer.

I have finally finished the Entrelac Hand Towel Pattern, and posted it to Etsy and Ravelry. The crazy thing is the pattern itself has been finished for a week, it was just waiting for me to fine tune the photos and layout.

I am very happy with how it turned out. It matches my guest bathroom quite well. I may just have to make a few more!


Yeah! We now have a Los Angelus team pulled together for the Ravelympics. Rosemary from the west side of LA, jumped in created Team LA LA LAND before the team sign-up cutoff time. Thankfully she will be taking the lead as Captain.

Nora from West Hollywood put together this great team logo.

I have decided to dedicate the twin pinwheel blankies to Team Overly Ambitious Yet Plausibly Possible and everything els I can conceivably complete to Team LA LA Land. This will be great incentive to finish a bunch of my hibernating WIPs. I am actually looking forward to blocking, weaving in ends, sewing seams, zippers and buttons now.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Team Overly Ambitious Yet Plausibly Possible

Ravelry is having their own Olympics, the Ravelympics, during the 17 days of the summer Olympics in Bejing. While rooting around trying to find a Team L.A. to join, I found this team, which seemed to fit my particular fetish well.

There are now 24 members of the team lead by Carolyn at Two Cables and a Frap
This should be interesting. There are different events to compete in. I am signed up to compete in the "Afghan Marathon" and "WIP Wrestling." I may sign up for a few other events, just in case I happen to finish sooner than I think and have a little extra time.

My uncle Matt (who is my age - long story) and his wife Carol, just had twin boys a couple of weeks ago. I ordered some yarn to make Pinwheel Blankets for both of them. The yarn should be arriving on 8/8 - just in time for opening ceremonies. I would also like to finish some hibernating goodies, and am itching to start some socks and felted entrelac pillows. My focus will be on the blankies though, and they WILL get finished by the time the flame goes out. Sound "overly ambitious?" I hope my plan is "plausibly possible."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Teaching Entrelac

Two of the ladies in my class at the Senior Center have been begging me to teach them entrelac. One of them wants to make a bag like the suede entrelac bag that I have been brining to class, and one of them wants to make entrelac hand towels to travel with. She doesn't like to use hotel towels on her face or hair. We only had one class left in the summer session and that was today. I knew if I got them started during their last class, then I would need to hand them some very detailed directions, or they would be stuck until September.
I decided to write the pattern for the hand towel, and make one for my downstairs bathroom at the same time. The towel ring is often empty, and I thought if there was a dedicate towel for that bathroom, maybe it would stay there!

I photographed my work step by step for their directions. It took a while, but I am happy with how the pattern turned out. I didn't finish my sample in time to have a "real" finished photo for the first page, so I doctored the above photo in Photoshop to create a filler photo. Once I finish, and put a real photo in, I'll make the pattern available. Maybe that can be my pattern for the week.

The ladies both did very well today. They finished the base row of triangles and half of the first tier. Neither one of them could read a pattern 6 weeks ago, and today they both told me that they thought it made sense and they would be OK to continue on their own. I'm curious to see how much they finish by the time we start up again in September!

New Zeland Hand-dyed Yarn

My parents spent last February in New Zealand for business. When they came back, they brought my brothers both beautiful hand-knit throws. I, of course got 600 grams of hand-spun bulky weight wool yarn, so that I could dye (or leave natural), and knit my own. I am thinking of knitting an Aran throw out of it, and leaving it natural colored.

Well, my parents had more surprises up their sleeve. They came with us Saturday night to see a play that my dear friend Courtney was starring in. After the play, they came back to our place with an amazing chocolate lovers cake and a bag full of MORE New Zealand yarn.

This is hand painted worsted weight wool yarn from JJ's Specialty Yarns. It matches my living room PERFECTLY. I think it is begging to become felted entrelac throw pillows for my red leather sofa. It was hand painted by a woman named Jan Gilray. Apparently she stopped doing it commercially and these were the last 2 skeins in the shop that my mother went to. What an extra special find.
This is hand-dyed worsted weight raw silk yarn in the exact colors of the quilt that I made for my bedroom. She was thinking that I may want to make a throw for the chair in my bedroom, but I already have one that is about 75% finished in these exact colors. I want to find something very special to make with this yarn. I wear these colors a lot as well, so it may need to become a cardigan or something. It is itching to become something in entrelac as well - so maybe a handbag with a matching scarf?? We'll see. . .

This was produced by a woman in New Zealand named Anna Gratton who raises sheep, spins, and dyes her own yarn. My mother has been to her (farm? workshop? mill? - what do you call it?) a few times and worships the woman. I would love to meet her, and maybe BE her one day.

This colorway is called “Paua” is named after a native mother-of-pearl type shell that has these same rich jewel-toned colors.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Jeff asked me the other day what I wanted for my birthday. I said "You know those interchangeable needles from Knit Picks that I have been talking about for the last 2 months? Those. . . and some sock yarn." His response: "Really? I had no idea! Why don't you go order what you want and give me a hint about something I can get you to surprise you with." How can he not have had any idea?? I've only brought them up whenever I can slip them into conversation. Well, hopefully I'll be opening up some new novels tomorrow for my birthday from him. He studdied English at Columbia, so he's great at picking out books that I'll love. I guess I can't expect him to be on my same wavelength, he's not a psycho-obsessed designer/knitter like me!

I finally placed my order today. Too bad I'll have to wait 2 weeks to play! Maybe that will give me an incentive to finish a few more things.
These are the Options Interchangeable Harmony Wood needles that I ordered. They only go down to size 4, so I ordered some size 1 nickel plated fixed circulars for some magic loop socks.

I also ordered some Gloss Sock Yarn in what looks to be an indigo color called "dusk" so I can start these Clessidra socks. I can't wait. These are going to be time consuming, but I figure if I'm going to spend time making any socks for myself, they better be merino and silk, and they better be from an amazing pattern.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Spiral Baby Shrug in Development

I have been dreaming about circles over the last week. Strange huh? It's what happens when I don't read before I go to bed, I dream about future projects. Unfortunately I finished reading "The Queen's Fool" a few days ago, and without a new book readily available to pick up, I've started obsessing about trying to figure out how to make a baby sweater out of a circle.

I am proud to say that I've completed FOUR projects this week, so I am allowing myself to start a new one. I've had 4 balls of Bernat soy yarn in a bag under my sewing table for the last 5 months waiting for an idea to strike. This seemed like the perfect project to use it.

I had made 3 spiraling berets for Christmas presents and was happy with the inside out technique of knitting a circle, so I'm starting the same way. I am hoping that the rest of the details gel as I get large enough for armholes and ribbing.

I am loving how silky smooth and glossy this yarn is. It is super soft, knits easily, and is washable. If all goes well, Charlotte will be happy with her baby soft Spiral Shrug.

Poppy Bookmark - July 7th KAL

The July 7th KAL was a fun one. I had a good idea from the beginning that this would be a flower, since the suggested yarn was green plus another bright color. I started this a few days before my house was going to be tented for termites. My plan was to finish it while on a forced "vacation" up in Big Bear. Alas, in the rush to get out of the house while they were setting up the tent, I left my green floss on my desk. I was excited to get back on Monday to finish it.
I love the idea of faux pressed flowers as bookmarks. It has opened up a lot of possibilities in my mind. I may have to come up with a few variations of my own. Thanks Brian for a great KAL!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Green Sheldon's Surgery was a Success

Green Sheldon's shell surgery and leg sutures were a successful. Blue Sheldon is quite happy to have a brother in the house. Mikey is happy that he now has a "feen one" like Jackson.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Zipper Trauma Over

I found a site called Zipper Stop where you can custom order zippers from the YKK color card in any color and any length that you need for reasonable prices. I needed zippers for my boys sweaters and couldn't find them locally. They were only $2.50 or so each online plus shipping, so I figure why not try them out? If my money disappeared or if I got the wrong color/length zipper, it wouldn't be a huge loss.

Well, I got a confermation e-mail from them quickly including a tracking number for my package. The zippers arrived 3 days later (from NY) and were exactly what I had ordered!! These guys will get all of my business from now on. I think shipping ended up being $3, but I would have spent that on gas going to JoAnn or the Fabric District.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sheldon is Born

I had a 2 hour car ride up to Big Bear on Friday, and a 2 hour return trip today. I was finally able to finish a Sheldon!

No - I didn't finish the green one that I started a few weeks ago, I finished the blue one that I started last week. Why you ask? Even though the missing green leg did show up in the mail in time for my trip, I ended up leaving the turquoise yarn at home. Why would I need turquoise yarn if all I had to do was sew on the legs? While knitting the blue Sheldon, I realized I had misread the pattern when making the underside of the green Sheldon's shell. I am so ridiculously anal, that I ripped apart the shell pieces, frogged the underside and re-knit it. Now I have to go through the extremely slow process of sewing them back together complete with a new attached I-cord. I did learn something though. I made the new under piece with the smaller size 5 needles. I think it will help the shell to keep it's domed shape better than the size 6 knitting is doing with the blue version.

Jackson loves his new pet. He started playing with him as soon as the pictures were taken. He is happy with the name "Sheldon" and has already started pretending that he is a prehistoric Ice Age turtle.

I am still quite tickled that Sheldon has a removable shell!

What To Do When Stuck on the 5

My car broke down on the highway the other day, and I had to wait for almost an hour before AAA showed up to tow me. I was very lucky to find 3/4 of a ball of cotton (leftover from Sheldon) and a spare pair of size 7 needles at the bottom of my bag. I had dumped most of my knitting out of it as I ran out the door to sing with my quartet at a friend's party. Needless to say, I missed the party. This Checkerboard Washcloth is the only washcloth pattern that I have committed to memory. It certainly helped keep me from going crazy as the semi trucks blew by me. I really like it in a solid color, and will be replacing the picture on the pattern with this one.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Pattern A Week

I have a new goal. I am going to sit down and write and post one pattern a week until the end of the summer. I have so many little projects kicking around that I have patterns written on sticky notes, or planner pages, or the backs of envelopes, and I am going to make them all pretty so that I can get organized, and maybe recoup a few bucks for all of my time.

Today, I managed to finish and post 2 more patterns. The Checkerboard Baby Blankie and the Checkerboard Washcloth patterns. The are both VERY EASY patterns and have been the designs that I have most of the beginners that I teach start with. Now I have something pretty to hand my students, instead of quickly scribbling notes on the back of a photo for them.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cable Knit Baby Leggies update

I finally had a little photoshoot with Charlotte yesterday in her leggies. She was having so much fun in them. I am glad it isn't 100 degrees anymore, so that she can wear them more often. I think they really help protect her knees and the top of her feet when she crawls.

I posted the pattern in my ravelry shop and on Etsy. We'll see how it does. They have already been favorited and queued quite a few times.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Frogs in my Future

I was browsing the toy patterns on Ravelry and found this darling frog pattern called Frog Prince by Emily Stoneking. After seeing this picture with frogs in every possible gauge stacked on top of each other, I decided I needed to make on (or two) for the kids. I especially love the ones where the eyes are giant in proportion to the frog.

I wanted to see what else this designer was offering and was completely shocked to find this Biology 101 pattern. What a crazy idea! I kept wondering what occasion I would ever have to make one of these guys. Incidentally she also has a lab rat pattern that is similarly disected. Anyway, I was showing these patterns to Jeff, and in walks my 5-year-old Jackson. He immediately fell in love. I showed him the picture of Sheldon the Turtle and the Frog Prince, and he said that he wanted the frog that he could see inside of more. Later, he told me that he wanted "a turtle, and a regular frog, and 10 dead frogs that he can see inside of so that he could see the heart and the blood and the other stuff, and a lab rat too please." I told him that I would make the turtle first, and maybe later I would make him a dead frog, but certainly not 10 of them. He gladly came with me to dig through my stash to find the green yarn that we could make all of these creatures with. The crazy thing is, If I end up making Jackson one dissected creature, chances are Mikey will want one in "feen" too. Maybe I can get them to share, since this guy will be "feen"

I thought it would be a while before I would start making Sheldon, but it seems I got the chance to start him sooner than later! I'm dreading the day when Jackson decides to bring his dead frog to pre-school for show and tell. . .

Cable Knit Baby Leggies

I've finally gotten around to writing the pattern for the Cable Knit Baby Leggies that I made for Charlotte last fall. Once I take a few new photos of her in them, I can post the pattern. Her thighs are so gigantic now, I hope they still fit her!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Slithers Bookmark - Pattern complete!

I finally finished Mikey's "Slithers" in "feen" and finished writing the pattern. I am very happy with the result. I used larger beads this time, and a different way of knitting them in, so the rattle is much more obvious. I have posted the pattern in my Etsy shop, and I'll be offering it for sale on Ravelry too.

Jackson was very interested in why I was taking pictures of Slithers on the Lemony Snicket "Reptile Room" book and wanted to be involved in the photoshoot. This may be the next book we read together. The giant snake on his shoulder is his one of his favorite playmate's and inspiration for this bookmark - "Basil Isk." Basil is a 20 foot long rattle snake that I made for Jackson for Christmas. Mikey got one with "feen" eyes named "Boe Constrictor."

Friday, June 20, 2008

Designer on Ravelry

I finally got around to submitting my first pattern as a "Designer" on Ravelry. I am finally all hooked up and ready to list more patterns.

The first one that I listed was my Entrelac Bookmark. I noticed that quite a few of the other KAL patterns that I have seen online are for sale, so I figured, why not list this one too. I put it in my Etsy shop while I wait to be signed up to sell in the Ravelry shop. We'll see how it goes!

In the mean time, it's been 100 degrees around here, and I haven't been able to knit very much. It's killing me! My hands are too sweaty and it messes with my yarn tension and the friction on my needles. Maybe I'll finish sewing Jackson's sweater together, so that I can check something off my list.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

First Seniors Class Today!

Today was my first class at the downtown senior center. It was supposed to begin at 9:30 and end at 11:30. The coordinator told me that I could bring my kids if I wanted to, but I thought I'd teach the first class without the kids, so I could have a better idea of what to expect and how to prepare the kids. Jeff's parents were in town, so they were able to watch the kids for the morning.

I got there at 9:15 and there were 2 ladies waiting for me already. One of them didn't live in the complex, and heard about the class and just showed up. The other lady had a man with her that looked like he could have been 40 or so, but was dressed like a red-neck teenager, and was carrying a large Chucky doll (from the horror film). I couldn't figure out who he was, but some of the ladies recognized him and chatted with him a bit. He settled in working on a yarn loom, and didn't say anything for the rest of the time. I wonder if he is living with his mom.

I was glad that I brought extra materials, because not everyone brought their own. The coordinator said that 9 people signed up, and she wanted to sit-in too. So we should have had 11 people including the coordinator and the walk-in. By 10am we only had 4 people, then more showed up. It turns out, the coordinator had listed the start time as 10am! In the end, I had 8 students (3 no-shows). 3 - beginners who spoke English, 2 - intermediates who spoke English, 1 - intermediate that didn't speak English, but was eager to learn, and 2 ladies who didn't speak any English at all, and I have no idea what they are able to do. One of them brought a scarf in and after a while, I realized she forgot how to cast on. The other lady wouldn't even pick up needles, she just watched and asked for a pattern.

I had baked cookies for a snack and set out all of my washcloth samples and a basket full of spare yarn and needles. I got the 3 beginners gong on the Grandma's Favorite washcloth. One of the intermediates started the ball-band cloth and the other intermediate just wanted copies of all of my patterns. The non-English speaker, just went over and started knitting with my own yarn that I brought to demo with. I don't know if she was using her own needles or mine from my case. She mimed that she was making a sweater. I had to explain that it was my yarn, and if she needed some, then she needed to buy a ball. She wanted 10 balls in green. I told her I only had 1 green ball because we were making washcloths today. She settled in on making the Every Day, Any Day cloth, and had me start her off on each row, and she'd finish it. I don't know if she could read the pattern at all or not, or how much of my English she understood, but she did well.

Then, people just started to leave around 11. I guess most of the classes are 1 hour. The beginners stuck around until we got kicked out at 11:30 for the next meeting. I have a feeling that one of them will be able to finish the cloth this week, but the other two will be stuck. It is HARD to teach older women how to do something new!

I feel like most of the people enjoyed themselves, but I couldn't give too much attention to everyone because of the 3 beginners and the tough time communicating with the non-English speakers. I guess that is to be expected. I had planned on showing everyone how to finish and get everyone excited about picking their next project, but we were still working on learning how to hold the yarn by the end of the class, so I guess next week will be washcloths too!

Washcloth Mania

I rarely wash dishes (thanks Jeff) and I rarely wash my face properly (I usually let the shower do whatever it can), so it's a wonder that I am getting addicted to knitting washcloths!

I started teaching a knitting course at a senior center downtown today. I was told that everyone would be at different skill levels and want to do different things. I wanted to start the class off making the same or similar projects, and I figured washcloths would be the way to go. The materials are inexpensive and available anywhere, and unlike a scarf, everyone can use them, even in the summer. Inexperienced knitters could work on garter stitch cloths while more experienced knitters could experiment with lace or cables, or colorwork or whatever.

So - I started making as many washcloth samples as I could find the time for. I pulled together my dishcloth of the month samples and went back into the archives to find some more patterns. I think I came up with a decent assortment of beginner/intermediate projects.

I overheard one of the ladies today saying "When I heard we were going to make washcloths, I thought - oh no, how boring, but THIS IS FUN!"

I've settled on teal ombre and lime for my washcloths going forward, that way I can have a pile in each bathroom, and even though the pattern will change, the colors will coordinate. Here are some pictures of the latest cloths. . .

These 3 lime green ones are all more intermediate. The first one is the Every Day, Any Day cloth. Based on the directions, I was surprised (in a good way) by the way the texture came out. It is nice and nubby. This is one that I would make again.

The second one is the Diamond Drop lace. I wasn't as thrilled with the way this made up. There is some lace-work on the wrong side and I like when working lace, to have the wrong side of purling be a break from counting.

The third one is the Lacy Diamond Washcloth. I liked this one better than the other diamond cloth. I was able to memorize the pattern quickly, and I was able to complete the whole thing on a short roadtrip to Santa Barbara yesterday.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Zipper Disappointment

One of the reasons I went to JoAnn Fabrics today (I HATE our local JoAnn Fabrics by the way), was that I needed a zipper for Jackson's "Yarn Jacket." I needed a 21" red separating zipper. They had tons of 22" zippers, but none in red, and a 20" red zipper, and absolutely nothing in "feen" for Mikey. I need to find a good online source that can ship quickly!

Grandma's Favorite Washcloth #1 Teal Complete

I completed this Grandma's Favorite Washcloth on Monday and started another one immediately. I am liking the idea of doing a set of them for my bathroom. I added a hanging loop for it to drip dry, and now I think I'm not going to weave in any contrast yarn. The ombre patterns seems to be interesting enough. I left-off with #2 exactly 1/2 way through the cloth, so I could demo decreasing in class next week. Now I'm wondering if I should get it closter to the end and demo decreasing and finishing at the same time. . . hmmm.

I've also finished typing up the "pretty" pattern for this washcloth for my class that starts next week. I'm also going to use it in my instructors manual that I have to put together for my teacher certification class as well, so I wanted it to look nice. It is HARD to write a GOOD pattern, even one as easy as this! I found a few renditions of it online, but I didn't like any of them as is.

Slithers is Born

Instead of knitting my Entrelac bookmark along with the group, and instead of working on one of my current projects (0f course), I decided to start something that I dreamed of the other night while on tons of cold medicine.

Jackson, my 5 year old, just started learning to read, and he is an animal fanatic. I have been wanting to make a bookmark for him. For Christmas I made him a 20 foot long stuffed snake that he drags around the house. While looking through my stash the other day, I noticed that one of my threads has the same colors as his snake, and thought I should try to make a snake or bookworm bookmark. I worked out the details during my long night coughing and trying to sleep. Here is the result.
Jackson was very excited to go to JoAnn's with me today to pick out eyes, and he wants to play with "Slithers" immediately, even though the glue isn't dry yet. My 3 year old has already put in an order for a "feen" (green) one. Slithers has bobble eyes, some face shaping to make im look dimensional, some leftover seed beads from the leaf bookmark for a rattle at the end (although you can't really see them), a couple of inches of 1/8" ribbon, 2 - 5mm googley eyes, and a bit of glue. I am happy with the result, although I'm afraid I scorched him a little bit while starching/ironing. The great thing about 5-year olds is they don't care about that kind of thing.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Yikes! Too Many New Ideas I Want to Try!

1. I have been itching to make socks, and itching to do more dying, and trying to figure out how in the world to make self-striping yarns.

I went on to Knit Picks this morning, and found these amazing sock blanks with a groovy tutorial. The best part is, you are dying 2 strands at once, so your socks will be identical, especially if knit 2 at a time.

Now I need to rally a few people to try this out with me. It looks like it would be a fun group project. I just hope the sock blanks are long enough for knee-high socks. I seem to only be wearing ankle socks and knee highs these days. Calf high socks don't seem to work on my legs.

2. The next project I want to try is this little Elephante guy. Isn't it the cutest thing?? I want to make a few of these for my kids. I saw a picture on Toni's blog of one she had made and fell in love with it. Toni is one of the ladies in the Monthly Bookmark KAL group. She sent such a sweet e-mail, so I checked out her blog and notebook on Ravelry. She's made some really fun projects.

I think this Elephante will look cute in tonal stripes too. I need to make a purple/lilac one for Charlotte, a lime/kelly one for Mikey, and a 2-tone red one for Jackson, unless he requests gray for reality sake.

3. Toni had also made this darling little Turtle, that I also must have for the kids. I am intrigued by the shell stitch pattern on the turtle's back and like the idea that the turtle shell is like a pullover vest for the turtle. The pattern is called Sheldon by Ruth Homrighaus.

I love all of the colorways in the 3rd picture. I think I need to make one or each of the kids in their favorite color.