Sunday, 31 January 2010

Shower gifts

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: handmade gifts are the best! Who doesn't like getting something someone took the time to make them? And all babies need an afghan in my opinion. Even if you live somewhere that blankets are TOTALLY not necessary, somehow kids just need 'em.
That's why I made this set for friend of mine from the gym.

Originally I was going to just make the afghan, but then I had left over yarn and figured I could make a cute hat pretty quickly too. Yup!

I think it's a nice set. I hope they like it!
The only thing I don't like about it is the yellow stripes in the afghan. Yuck! What was I thinking? It would have been a lot cuter with just the pink and blue. But, all in all, I'm happy with this gift.
Now I just have to make another afghan. This one for my yet-to-be-born niece. But I got a little while yet for that...

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Did I really say that?

They say rules are made to be broken... The same is true for New Year's resolutions, right? That is why we make resolutions, isn't it? So that we can break them!! Who's with me? Someone...? Anyone...?
So I haven't broken it yet, but I think I'm on the verge of breaking one of my NY resolutions. And I mean, it's not like it was a crazy resolution. It's not like I promised myself I'd never eat another cookie or bake another cake (both of which would be impossible for me to keep). This resolution seemed totally harmless, easy, doable... But looking back, it was a pretty foolish thing to resolve to not do.
I resolved to: "Stop making so many damn hats! I will try to limit myself to 5 for the whole year!"
Yeah... Um... it's the second last day in January and I've already made two.

So much for my resolutions...
But both are for gifts! They aren't for me. Does that count for anything? And one is a baby hat. It took me maybe 1.5hrs. With having to make modifications!!
And it's just that hats are just such convenient gifts!! They are cute and useful and can be individualized to who you are giving it to, yet they don't take forever to make. The top one (the first hat I've ever made from the top down. Interesting!) is for a friend on my soccer team and the bottom one is to go with the baby blanket for a baby shower gift.
So I think these shouldn't count towards my total. Cause otherwise that would leave me with 3 more for the year!

Not happening. I'm definitely making more than 3 more hats this year. Actually, I already have plans to make at lest one more. And soon!
I want a new hat/mitten set for camping in NZ in March. It will be fall Down Under (Err - is New Zealand Down Beside?) there by then, and I think a cute new set of woolen items would be fun. I was thinking about a blue hat with red stars in honour of the vacation country. Or I found this cute pattern for a hat with frogs all over it. Either way, there will be a new hat for NZ. Maybe I'll even knit it on the plane. It is a 12hr+ plane ride after all...

Friday, 22 January 2010

Baby blankets: a love story

I had an epiphany the other day when I was crocheting away, watching last year's season finale of Lost. Soo excited about the upcoming and final season! I'd forgotten so many fun little plot points and conspiracy theories. Oh. Love the show.
Anyways... Back to my epiphany.
It was simply this: Making an afghan is sort of like a love story.
At least, for me they are. Especially when the pattern has you start in the center and work your way out. This is what happens:

Girl Meets Pattern
(Girl Meets Boy)
Maybe you aren't on the look out, or maybe you are. Perhaps you are minding your own business when a pattern for a baby afghan (that boy) catches your eye. It's(he's) so cute. Wouldn't that pattern look great in blue yarn(boy look great in a blue shirt)? You can't stop thinking about it(him). You're infatuated. The only thing you can do is give in.

Starting the Pattern (the first date):
So, you give in and start crocheting (go out on a date). And familiarize yourself with the pattern(learn some cool stuff about the boy). And that's it - you're hooked. (Crocheting pun not intended.)

Things are going so well! The pattern(dating) is great! You are whipping through the rows. And things seem great!

The Middle (Conflict):
Then the worst happens. After a while... something happens. Maybe you have find out you actually hate the pattern (hate the boy). Or you make a mistake and don't want to correct it (get into a fight). Or maybe things just get monotonous.

Unfortunately, that is where I am right now. Afghans that start at the center are great to start! Not so great to finish. When you start, finishing a row is SOOO fast. You see it grow quickly and you feel so great about how well it's going! But as times go on, as the afghan gets bigger, and the rows get longer it take progressively more and more time to finish! Like, right now it takes me about 20min+ to finish a round. It makes me wonder how long it will take once I have a few more rows on this sucker! (Um... Can I get a consensus on how big baby blankets should be?)

Happily Ever After:
But the middle doesn't have to be the end of the story.
Yes. You can give up (break up). But you can persevere. You work through the hard stuff, and as you keep going you remember just what made you fall in love with this project (boy). And everyone lives happily ever after.
Luckily I think this project and I will live happily ever after.
Other than the fact I'm not so sure about the colours I chose... I thought I liked the yellow, but really I don't.

(Actually, I'm really liking this project. It's is 1000000x better than the star baby afghan I made last year. This pattern is easy to understand and sort of fun to do. It just takes so freaking long!)

Monday, 18 January 2010

Leftover necks

You know what? I think I'm getting a lot better at using up yarn! Look at this:

It's my 2nd project that is made up of leftover yarn. And it's a project I'm happy with! Not only did it use up the 3/4 a ball of yarn leftover from the bolero I made earlier this month, but it also let me practice continental knitting - one of my new years knitting resolutions from this year! (and last year...).
That's one good thing about doing a simple project like this. It knits up fast, and I can try out different techniques without getting frustrated.

Look at me pretending it's cold enough outside to warrant this. Ha. It's not necessary now, but I think the next time I'm in a winter climate, something like this will be a) cute with a winter jacket and b) useful.
Until then, I'm just happy I used up the yarn. I recently found out I got that yarn on sale because it's actually been discontinued. Good thing I didn't start a project and then find out I needed more yarn! So all in all, although it's sort of a boring project, I'd call it a success.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Leftover leggies

Leftover yarn.
Sometimes it's nice. Sometimes it's annoying. I have half a ball of yarn left over from the Chunky Bolero I just finished, and I have NO IDEA what to do with it. It's still a good amount of yarn and it was expensive... so I want to use it for something. I just have to find the right project.
I had leftover yarn from the Christmas Sweater I made. Luckily, it was easy to find a project to use up some of this bright red yarn.

Baby leg warmers!
Who knows if my niece will wear them, but I hope she will. From the photos on the pattern, they are super, super cute. The stripped ones are cuter... but I didn't have any yarn that would have worked well with the red. Still cute.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Chunky Bolero

I am the first to admit it: I seriously have no sense of style. Generally, I have no clue what's in fashion and what isn't. And you know what? I'm okay with that. Who wants to look like everyone else?
So maybe boleros are in style. Maybe they aren't. Either way, I've decided that I love 'em and I'm gonna wear 'em. So while looking through my stash of yarn two balls of chunky jumped out at me and I decided that they were going to be use for my first new project of 2010.
A chunky bolero just for me.
It's a new year, and it's time for some new options in the wardrobe department. And this bolero gives me two choices:
A button on the top and one on the bottom give me two simple ways to wear this cute little number. I'm not sure which option I like better, but I think I'm leaning toward done up at the neck.
Because it's knit with chunky yarn it knit up super quickly. Just a few days. So, all in all, a pretty good first project of 2010. I think it's gonna be a good year for knitting. :)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Two letters

Be forewarned, this blog post containing two letters has nothing to do with knitting, but something just happened to me and I wanted to write this and I figured this was my best spot to express these thoughts.

Dear Mr. Army Dude Rodriguez,
(aka my knight in green fatigues and army boots)
Thank you for coming to my rescue when I was stranded at the side of the highway. Well... on the highway off ramp. I don't know what I would have done without you. ... Okay I know what I would have done - I would have sat there for another 30 minutes wondering what I should do. And then I would have called roadside assistance.
Thank you for stopping and offering aid and coolant and oil. Thank you for saying - "Don't worry. This happens to everyone." Thank you for taking the time out of you busy night to follow me to the gas station to get more of said coolant and oil. Thank you for being so kind and helpful.
People like you are few and far between and I would like to express my gratitude. If I knew how to find you again, I'd knit you something really manly. (I wonder what you knit for an army dude...) But since I can't find you, I'll just say: Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
I am, yours sincerely,
-the girl from the side of the road.

Dear Sue -
I hope, dear car, that you can be fixed. I'll try to find out tomorrow. If you can be fixed, we will drive together again soon. If you can't, it's been a good run. Five years. I will always remember you with fondness.
-your owner.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Last Christmas Sweater

Yup. Here's the sweater I made for my nephew. Finally! This sweater has been a long time coming. And luckily, it worked out!
Fortunately, it fits him perfectly. (Thanks to the measurement my SIL gave me! But I'm excited that I knit to the measurements pretty well.)
The 'O's on the sleeves are supposed to be X's, but it didn't really turn out that way. Oh well. that's what happens when you modify a design. What you see in your head doesn't always happen in yarn.

And, unfortunately... I didn't get a picture of my nephew in said sweater. But it looks cute on him. You'll just have to trust me. It's especially with the penguin buttons.
Doubly, especially since I got to ask him - "So are we going to see penguins on vacation?" and when he said yes, it was the truth! Unfortunately, he also said yes if I asked him if we were going to see dragons on vacation... As far as I know, NZ does have dragons. (Well... unless they are filming The Hobbit in NZ and you want to count that...)

Yup. So I'm going to NZ! Guess who is going to be buying as much yarn as will fit in her bags for the way back. Probably me. (New Zealand does have more sheep than people living in the country after all!) I'm pretty freaking excited about the trip!! (But I'm not excited about spending more hours in an airport. I spent 17hrs there yesterday.) And it's coming up soon! More on it later...

Sunday, 3 January 2010

2009's favourite hat & other favourite things

One question that everyone asks me when they find out I live in Cali but am in the land of ice and snow visiting for Christmas is "What do you think about the SNOW!?" My answer? I LOVE it!
But to be fair, it's easy to love snow when you know that you only have to deal with it for 1.5 weeks of the year. Then it's fun.
Even this is fun:

Yup. That's me being clobbered in a snow pile by my older brother and nephew. My face is totally covered in cold, cold snow. But not only do I not mind it, playing in the snow is one of my favourite things! Along with making igloos (what we did after we jumped in the snow pile), sledding, making snowmen. I loves it.

I also love this last hat of 2009. I made it for myself!
I finished it two days after Christmas, after all of my family members got their hats. I must have been asked four times: "Who is this one for!?" Um... me. And I love it! I think it is my favourite of all the hats I made in 2009. And that is saying something since I made so many this year!
I got the pattern (ETTA) off of ravelry (so no link), and it's really very easy. The hardest part was the lace pattern, and that was pretty easy. It was only slightly harder because I had to use double pointed needles (because that's all I have here).

The only change I made to the pattern was to do two rows of increases. After the brim you are supposed to increase by 25 stitches in one row. I increased by 20 stitches in the first row (knit 4, increase 1, repeat) and then by 5 stitches in the second row (knit 25 stitches, increase 1, repeat).

(FYI - another thing I love about snow? It makes knitted things cool. Everyone wears toques all of the time, so it's okay that I want to wear hats wherever I go. :) )

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy blog-iversary 2!

Subtitle: In which my blog turns two!
(Sub-subtitle: Does that mean my blog is into the terrible twos?!)

Well, Happy Blog-iversary to me! It's been a good two years of knitting. I've come a LONG way! I know so much more and I can make way better stuff. Or at least I think so. :)

Here's the round up of what I knit this year by numbers:
Hats - 23
Sweaters - 6
Scarves - 6
Headbands - 4
Socks/Slippers - 3
Mug warmers - 3
Bags - 3
Baby Afghans - 2
Mittens - 2
Dish cloths - 2

Pretty good for only one year! (In case you are curious, I did 11 crochet projects, 43 knits)

But you will notice a huge disparity in what I knit. Hats, hats and more hats...
That brings me to my New Years Knitting resolutions. I did this last year and I accomplished 2 of 3. I made socks! Yay! And I knit myself sweater(s) that I wear. Double yay! Now I just really need to learn how to do continental knitting. I *can* do it, I just don't really like it. I understand that one day it will be faster, but for some reason I just keep using the throw method.
So one of last years resolutions will also be on this year's resolution list.

1) *Really* learn how to do continental knitting.
2) Stop making so many damn hats! I will try to limit myself to 5 for the whole year! (... Um. Doubt I'll be able to stop myself, but I don't want to only knit them!!)
3) Design my own sweater pattern. (I already have ideas and yarn I want to use. I just actually have to do it!)

So again... Those goals/resolutions are achievable.

Yay for a new year. Yay for a new decade! And yay for more knitting projects to come!
All the best to y'all.