Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My first handknit

I finished my first real hand knit item.
I'm not counting my washcloth or two that were made for practice.
I really feel like I have the hang of it and am so pleased. 
 I'm trying not to be overly confident and take on a bigger project than I can handle.  That's difficult because I see so many patterns that I would like to make.  I browsed through 5 or 6 knitting magazines at the bookstore this evening and resisted the urge to bring any of them home.
I'm slightly obsessive, I think that has been established here.

Totally off subject, but look how green my eyes look next to this teal scarf.
Hand knit scarf

I had seen scarves like this around, and there are quite a few patterns.  Pattern and details are here on my ravelry page.  I think the pattern I chose is pretty vague and I'm all the more impressed that I pulled this off!

Hand knit scarf

Even as a beginning knitter I think it is faster than crochet.  I actually had this finished last week, but couldn't find a yarn needle to weave in the ends. I could have been done much faster but just worked on it here and there. There are also tons more patterns available for knitting and it uses less yarn that crochet. I am not saying that I won't crochet anymore, I will. 

Yay me for conquering my fear of knitting and sticking to my resolution to learn. 
I will be knitting for years to come, I'm sure of it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter Walks

We have been on only two Winter Walks.  Days with sunny, warm weather and both Frank and I being off work have not coincided enough.  It has been a typical Texas winter so far, switching rapidly from highs in the 40's to the 70's.  You know what they say, if you don't like it just wait a minute.  Two days ago I woke up to morning temps in the 60's and thought, oh it's a perfect day for a walk.  Within an hour the wind blew in from the North and the temps dropped into the 40's.  Oh well, there is always another day, and this coming Sunday is supposed to be warm so hopefully we will get out and explore again.

Walking on the trinity trail.
First winter walk

First winter walk

First winter walk

Our first visit to Sansom Park on Lake Worth
Sansom Park

Sansom Park

Sansom Park

Sansom Park

Sansom Park

Sansom Park

I grew up exploring in the woods and always feel better when I'm out in nature. 
In fact, just looking at these pictures makes me feel good. 
The sun being out makes me happy too.
I hope we get to take a lot more walks this winter. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Learning to Knit

I'm doing it, I'm really doing it!
My mom's best friend Kathy had taught me the basics of knitting a couple of years ago.
I made a washcloth or two and practiced on big needles and yarn but just never felt comfortable with it.
One of my New Years resolutions was to finally learn to knit.  I think I've made great strides in just four days of practice.  That's really what it's all about is practice.

I decided to follow a simple pattern for my first project. 
Learning to knit

I have seen these scarves around and always thought they were cute.

I was inspired by Angry Chicken's recent post about knitting small projects that are not overwhelming.  She also talks about how she always felt like a knitter who didn't knit.  I can relate to that.  I have felt for a while that I should be able to knit and was quite frustrated that it wasn't coming naturally to me.  Of course I just wanted to pick up needles and make something complicated.  Washclothes weren't doing it for me.

Well, I'm starting smallish but this project is interesting enough to keep my attention.
I'll be honest, all I really want to do is sit on the couch and knit all....day....long.
I can't do that, there are too many other things to get done. 
Bun I'm so excited that I'm knitting!
Don't get me wrong, I'm still not completely comfortable.  Knit is easier than purl at this point and I'm totally winging it at some spots, but I'm doing it and I'm thrilled.

* One thing that has helped me as a crocheter, is switching from English to Continental knitting.  Do you other Crocheters find Continental style easier?  I was taught English, with the thread in my right hand but it never felt right.  Continental is the way to go for me.

I have the instructions (which are vague) and a knitting book at the ready.
Learning to knit

I'm off the couch now and doing my chores.

Friday, January 13, 2012

In my absence

In my absence from this space I have been working and spending time with my niece Karlie on my days off. She, mom and I went to the Japanese Gardens to feed the "fishies" last Friday and this week Frank and I had her overnight Wednesday night (for the first time) and I kept her yesterday for the day. We had lots of fun, our primary activity was making sugar cookies. She loves to help and was involved with every step of the process. She really is a great helper.

Last Friday at our beautiful Fort Worth Japanese Gardens
Feeding the fishies

at the Japanese gardens

at the Japanese gardens

We had done the sugar cookies at Christmas, rolling the dough that I had previously made and cutting with cookie cutters.  They were my favorite Sugar Cookies I had ever made and I will continue to use this recipe from Glorious Treats again and again.  We topped the cookies with this frosting and then sprinkles. 
Christmas 2011 197

This time Karlie helped me make the dough.  I measured, and she poured.
Karlie helping make cookies

This time I rolled the dough into balls and flattened prior to baking. 
As I expected, they weren't quite as good as the Christmas batch as this dough is meant to be rolled, creating an even thickness.

She loves sprinkles.
We made sugar cookies

We made sugar cookies

She also loves Lucy. 
Unfortunately it was too cold to play outside yesterday.
lucy and Karlie

I'm so thankful for such a loving, sweet, and fun little niece.  Frank and I both adore her and cherish the time we spend with her.  We are lucky that she loves us back.

Today I caught up on jewelry, temporarily hooked up my new flex shaft and used it for the first time weeeeeeee!  I have to figure out the best spot for it to live on my workbench and rig up a deeper ledge for the stand to attach to.  I'm so excited to really see what it can do. 

We have been staying on track with meal planning and grocery shopping and it is nice to not have to stress about what to cook and eat.  It never made sense to stress about that since we both love to cook, but it happens to everyone at times I suppose. 

I have no lack of ideas for things to talk about here, just a lack of time.  I have been sewing a little and am almost finished with a dress that I started in the fall.  I took an Indian cooking class on Tuesday and plan to share recipes soon.  I will try to post more regularly.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gretchen and Eric's Blanket

I've given you a couple of sneak peaks of this project, but I didn't want to give much away to the recipients.  This was the only Christmas gift that I started early, I actually started it in July and then put it aside because it was too hot on my lap as it grew. 

Christmas 2011 148

Christmas 2011 149

Christmas 2011 143

This is the Granny Stripe Crochet pattern, more details on my Ravelry page.  I've used this pattern before and love it, it's easy, fast and the results are lovely.  The yarn is a new favorite, Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Washable Ewe (available at Joann stores).  It dyes up beautifully and all of this yarn is hand dyed with Kool Aid.  Some are overdyes of gray, purple and yellow yarn, but most are on white.  This was my first time really trying out overdying with Kool Aid and it really expanded my color palette. Purples are quite limited with Kool Aid, but overdying really helped to solve that problem!  Gretchen had told me that her favorite colors to decorate with were Yellow, Purple and Orange, so I created this palette based on her preference.  I love the results, and it was actually really hard to gift this gorgeous blanket. 


I suppose one of my New Years resolutions should be to finally crochet a blanket for us. I have some of this yarn left over and might just start on something for us. I really need a scale so that I can weigh my yarn and know how much each stripe takes and I'm not running out of a hard to match color mid stripe.