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.

Grandma's Favorite Washcloth

Friday night my friend Courtney came over to "play" and brought her 3-year-old son to play with my boys. My projects that were being blocked were still covering my table. She saw this washcloth and said that she had been wanting to make a pile of white ones for her bathroom. Of course I had to pull out some needles and yarn to show her how easy this pattern is.

Now, I could have just unraveled the little demo triangle, and picked up Mikeys "feen" sweater or one of my entrelac blankies - but why waste the stitches? I am now making a variegated teal cloth, that may end up being one of many for my bathroom. I just cant decide on what the contrasting color will be - either brown or lime. We'll see!

I had received one of these cloths as a gift from my friend Alice, and improvised a pattern based off of it. I'm going to use the pattern along with a checkerboard washcloth pattern as the two "beginner" options for our first project in my knitting class that starts next week.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

May 7th Bookmark KAL - Finally Blocked!

This has been one of my favorite bookmark KAL projects. I don't know why it took me so long to block it!

I use one of the small fancy embroidery skeins of size 5 DMC perle cotton in a beautiful Teal color on size US 1 harmony DPNs. I love this thread because it has a nice gloss to it.

I started using this bookmark after wet-blocking it, but I think I may use some spray starch as well.

Blocking Bonanza

I finally decided to dedicate my dining room table for blocking Jackson's sweater on 6/5. I ended up blocking the cabled bookmark KAL, and the Palmtree Bookmark KAL, as well as one other washcloth that I had forgotten to block.

The kids have enjoyed eating all of their meals in the living room for the past couple of days, but it is wearing on Jeff. I need to give the edges a good blast of steam before I am willing to pull the sweater up though. Maybe when the kids go to bed. . .

June 1st Dishcloth Finished

I finished the June 08 dishcloth knit-along on the 5th and blocked it yesterday. For an image washcloth, this one is pretty decent. I may end up giving it to Veronica at some point, since she loves green. I really like the border stitch, but wish that it was wider on the sides to match the top and bottom border.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Entrelac Bookmark KAL Starts Saturday!

I submitted a pattern a few months ago to the MonthlyBookmarkKAL Yahoo group that I joined last January. Brian, the moderator did a call out for submissions, and accepted my design. I just found out that they will be starting my bookmark on Saturday! Instead of doling out a few rows at a time without letting people know up front what they will be making, he is planning on sharing with the group up front that we will be doing entrelac, since the directions are a little out of the ordinary. I am so excited! There are 828 members of this group! I hope my directions are clear enough!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dishcloth of the Month: CHEATING??

Do my KAL projects count as cheating on my current projects? I just printed off the first few rows of the latest KAL, and I just HAD to start!!

Mikey's "FEEN Yarn Jacket"

Mikey asked for a "Yarn Jacket like Jackson" but in "FEEN!!" (green). We checked 2 different Michaels and they were sold out of the apple green color that I wanted for his sleeves. After checking with my knitting buddies, Donna located a spare skein that she had left over from her Christmas stockings.

True to form, once I had that "feen" yarn, I had to start Mikey's jacket. EVEN THOUGH I haven't finished blocking and sewing Jackson's jacket first. EVEN THOUGH I will be using this project as the demo project for my class that starts in 2 weeks. I am justifying my early beginning as follows: I will not have time in class to do a lot of knitting, I also need to re-write the pattern for a size 3/4, I do not need to demo BOTH sleeves or BOTH fronts in class - just one of each, and my other projects aren't as portable for car rides right now.