Sunday, July 31, 2011

Squee Sunday: My Baby Hat

Here is the hat I worked on today, I used the same colours as my baby blanket and alternated the colours to create a stripy crazy piece. I love it! It is my first try at colour-work and a baby hat so I'm very pleased to be done.

I will definitely continue to play with colour in the future. Go here to join in.




Saturday, July 30, 2011

Shopaholic Saturdays No. 2


I suffer with my love for yarn, candles and soap. It is a burden that I gratefully carry. I have always had a soft spot for black and white home decor - from art prints to wall vinyl and of course chopsticks. Did I mention my obsession with eating with chopsticks - I've even used them for mash potatoes and endured the stares with aplomb.

Chop sitcks
I am forever looking online even when I know I shouldn't, couldn't, be buying anything. That however hardly stops me. I am a window-shopper, using my internet to browse.

On any given day and yes even today, the click - clackety - click  on my keyboard is more about looking at some items or researching prices than about writing.

Hand-made soap
Today however affair with perusing my purchasable pleasures can come together in seamless harmony with my passion for the written medium.I have recently made a trip to my post office and mail handler and returned with twelve packages.

Yes I am serious, twelve.

each filled with all manner of treats from yarn to chopsticks and paper for Anne, my faithful typewriter.

Cute Beeswax Candle
I felt so relieved that the kind Post-lady changed me not one penny in customs only the nominal 75c per package. I was flying high.


I was further chuffed because for once, at least the quarter of the packages were gifts for my best friend Dana and Anne. Buying things for others makes my addiction less menacing... doesn't it?



The items you can see peppered through-out this post are the conquests of my online war with my budget and my ability to find what I want for what I can afford to pay.

 Not always the cheapest but value for money. And best of all 100% Satisfaction when I open the package at home.



Project Bags
          I hope you have enjoyed this journey. I for one can't stop smiling. Stayed tuned for more Shopaholic moments, as long as I can, I will shop and that is just the truth of it. Though admittedly I'm getting really good at cutting out my impulsive buying.

Citronella Tea light





Friday, July 29, 2011

FO Friday - Cowl addition

I started this today and I am happy to present:

Fashion Green

Close up

Worn

Not the best pictures, but I'm really happy. It is just for fashion like a necklace and made from 100% cotton yarn. I'm going to keep experimenting with it because I finally felt like I was enjoying my knitting again.

For more lovelies visit : here and join in!

Cotton Fashion Cowl

Today I present to you the beginnings of a labor of love.


It is made from a DK weight 100% cotton yarn. I held the two colors, Wheat and Alfalfa double for the first few rows.

Now I'm knitting the middle with one strand. I am loving how it is looking so far, and I am enjoying myself more than I have been for a while.

Have great weekend!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Frustration Finger-less Gloves

I have recently taken on the challenge of making a pair of finger-less gloves for one of my co-workers. More fool me.

It has been a mojo-stealing, heart-breaking, technique-learning exercise in pure, unfiltered frustration. I have succeeded in finding and understanding several free patterns. I have managed so far to cast-on, and finish as far as the thumb gusset two gloves.

However I still don't feel happy. I don't know what is wrong. I haven't as yet managed to complete the thumb without holes and I am not happy with using a standard ribbing for the cuff. I simply do not enjoy how it looks.

It is daunting to think of trying to come up with a pattern all on my own for something as unfamiliar to me as gloves but increasing I feel like I have no choice.

I do have a deadline to work to, which makes me feel even more daunted but I will not give up. Here's hoping that within a few days, after some work, I have a pair of gloves to show.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WIP

Good-day to my knitting friends. Today I am a bit tired and truly my WIP are not what I would like them to be. I have been suffering from feeling a lack of crafting direction and looking at my stash with a vacant expression of wonder.


I usually get all of my drive from completing projects for others.So although I feel horribly uninspired, I have been trying to make gloves for one of my co-workers. Its not going very well but I am going to keep at it.

Also I have dabbled in dyeing with natural dyes such as tea and onion skins. That was a lot of fun and it constitutes my only work in progress as I am still trying to find more things from my pantry that can be used.




Here is what I have managed so far. The mini-skein of Alpaca, Wool and Acrylic in the middle is the original yarn, shown for reference.

The left show-cases the result of an onion and carrot skin bath mixed with lime vinegar. I love the colour. I am eager to try again to see if I can get a darker shade of mustard yellow.

The skein to the far right, is the tea-dyed skein. It is an ecru and again, I love it and am ready to see what other colours I can get from using tea.

I have bought some peppermint tea to see what tones I can get from it. In the future  plan to buy from black walnut shells as well as some cherries to try for a different family of shades. Wish me luck.

To join the knitting circle go to here, and join in. Don't be shy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dropping Stitches

I'm learning that life can be an exercise in frustration, quite like dropping a stitch and only realizing several rows after or placing the yarn-over the wrong place in a lace pattern.

A seasoned knitter or crafter knows that these things will happen and as you continue to craft you build up your arsenal of  tricks, techniques and tools to fix them. As a human with emotions you also learn a new range of colourful curse-words to compliment this process.

I would like to think that I've gotten better at bravely facing problems in my knitting; that my tolerance for mistakes raises in tandem with my love for knitting. Further, I originally picked up knitting as a way to relax and learn some patience.

As an odd smile filters across my lips, I can only consider myself blissfully naive. As I immersed myself in knitting it has brought me joy but also despair. It tugs me around like a kite in the wind and often I don't think my skill or my temper is up to its vagaries.

Writing for me is much the same. I get filled with a want to create and the end result is something I think is only fit to be placed under a rock. Being part of a society whose focus seems solely on success and or monetary viability; the things floating through my mind don't seem worth the time it would take to lasso them and put them down on paper.


Unlike the calming feeling of making lists on Anne, seeing the poor representation of my dreams in text does little to lift my morale. Writing is the only artistic medium I have to bring my much beloved characters to life; I'm not going to suddenly realise that I am very good at drawing or painting - and those would also have moments when you are up against a wall.

In the same way, knitting is my craft of choice. If I fail there, it feels as if all hope is lost.

But then I ask myself, what am I doing? How can failure seep into it when I started this for myself with no expectations. I have hopes of designing that seem increasingly unreachable. I want to finish a novel and that seems like a sick joke with my ego as the butt of it.


I hardly believe this as I'm writing it but I will continue to press on. You can't craft in a vacuum but you can't let other people supply all of your confidence. Some of it has to come from with-in.

I'm not going to give in because of a few dropped stitches. I can do better than that. And when they happen I've got my crochet hook ready to put them back in the proper place.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Squee Sunday: My Desk

    Today I bring you happiness. I wanted a desk for my work-space and was all set to buy one when my dad said he would repurpose one in the yard for me.  He's a part-time joiner so his workshop is filled with things and so full of things that he hardly remembers what he has half the time. 

     Now I'll show you what's been happening with my desk.


Here is it on the table all in pieces...

A close up of the leg, I love it!

Apparently the desk of mostly mahogany! Lucky! here is my Dad preparing to sand the legs.

And here is a video of him hard at work, sanding them down. I can't wait to see it in the next stages! Excuse my horrid voice over!

video


And find more reasons to squee here!

Sunday Snaps

                                                               








Disclaimer: That chicken is still very much alive. Here he is with his family.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mega Mini Update

I decided to stop the pin-wheel blanket and add a very small hood. I also left the St.St to curl around the edges as I think its looks like a flower petal.

Here's it on my bear as I don't have a baby prop.

Baby Nate is so Adorable!

Excuse the clutter, hehe. I love how it curls!

That's all from me for now.

Friday, July 22, 2011

FO: Showing of the Swatches 1

Today, I have to show off several swatches which I have knitted up. This is a great achievement for me because like many new knitters, the thought of swatch making is not a very appetizing one. However after several mishaps and a few disappointments, including a skull-cap which was big enough for only big Bird's head. I gave up my lazy stance and have gone at it with gusto.

So far much to my surprise, I have found that it is not at all tedious and is very rewarding. i touched and examined and finally used yarn from my stash that have sitting lonely with vague promises of one day being used. I have decided to attack my stash, I talked about in my post Stash Boss Battle lvl 100, and this is one of the key steps. Further, if anyone reading this post is interested in getting a few free balls of Ice Cotton Lycra in the colours: White, Baby Blue, Denim Blue, Rose, Burgundy or Baby Pink. Drop me a line on Ravelry.

And to start off my swatch showcase. Here is a the Ice Baby Blue in St St on size 6 needles.

It is a very stretchy yarn good for tube-tops I think because it really bounces back well.
Gauge: 23.5 Stitches x 30 rows = 4" x 4" (un-stretched)

Next in line is Relax yarn. I really adore this yarn! Knitted up on size 6 needles n St.St.

Really smooth with a lovely drape and soft too! Perfect for clothes.
Gauge: 18 Stitches x 24 rows = 4" x 4"



Then we have this colourful wool. Also St. St on size 8 needles.

Not my Favorite but not bad! Gauge: 16 Stitches x 19 rows = 4" x 4"


And lastly. Spray yarn from Berlini also on size 8 in you guessed it St. St. I'm knitting up a Pinwheel Baby Blanket in this yarn. So soft!

Oh so soft! Love it! Guage: 14 Stitches x 19 rows = 4" x 4"



Don't forget drop my a line at sadodosah on ravelry if you would like some of the stretching yarn. Take care and see you on Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Cushy Love

One of my dear long distance friends is having a baby and I am taking this as an opportunity to finally knit some baby items. She has requested a pillow with her daughter's name on it but I haven't started that as yet as she has not chosen a name for the child.

In the meanwhile, I have started a Pin-wheel blanket in Berlini Spray as worsted Wool and Acrylic Blend.


Here is the yarn, a lovely peach and purple

Using the two colours to alternate, and following the simple pattern. Here is what I have accomplished so far:

I call it cushy love because it is soft
So far I have about 250 stitches on my circular needle and I would estimate that I am about half-way through. I really love the way that it is looking and I think that if I am diligent she should have it and the matching baby hat and (hopefully) booties by the end of September.

I took the decision not to use pink for the blanket to give it more interest. I think as creative people we try to keep things fresh by moving past stereotypes and while I am not quite ready to send her baby blue clothing for her little girl I really love this colour combination.

I don't estimate being able to finish this by this Friday, perhaps the next one. Then it is on to fingerless gloves for a work colleague of mine with rather small hands and a couple of other things. I am considering putting up a project board in my workspace to keep me focused and motivated as well as a dry-erase board or chalkboard to brainstorm ideas and generally keep my mind organized.

The more I do the more I want to do. With knitting my life is never dull.

Also today is my best friend's birthday and I have to say a special thank you to her. She is always there for me when I need encouragement and she is always interested in my projects - even when her own crochet/knooking endeavours are not going well. I am really lucky to have my Squirrel.

She one year older and we spent the day together, talking about our story and crafting. It was a great day, we even had a nap.

I owe her for my joy in knitting as it was she who introduced me to it and helped me with my first cast on, knit and purl. She encouraged me to keep trying even though I was cursing and wanting to toss it all out the window.

 She let me keep her Debbie Bliss book and kidnap her needles and then her yarn. I will be forever in her debt. As I continue down this road of knitting heroism, I will never forget that she was the one that got me started. She will always be my knight in shining armour. Even though she is short.

I love you Dana!

Later guys.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Shopaholic Saturday; Stash Boss Battle Lvl 100

I have decided to be studious and knit swatches of all of my stash yarn. This is to help me to meet my goal of not becoming a hoarder of yarn. I think I am in the same position as several knitters who bought a lot of yarn early on that now that we know what we really love to knit or what a true bargain is, realise we have tons of yarn we wouldn't buy now even if it only cost 1c.

This dilemma can be solved by giving away the yarn or just ignoring it, valiantly convincing ourselves that maybe later or some time soon or who knows when it'll come in handy. As optimistic as these questions are they don't sit well with me.

I can admit it gals and guys, I am a yarn addict. When I see a lovely variegated yarn in an absolutely yummy colour-way the adrenaline is released and I start convincing myself that if I don't get it, my knitting will forever more suffer.

Sometimes I don't fight it but I've had enough. Yes, I will always want to buy that yarn and now that I know I prefer certain fibres, colours and styles, I am a more informed buyer. The power is now in my hands. As a knitter I am ever-evolving but I feel like I have reached plateau of potential where I can choose yarns on-line and just know I'm going to enjoy them.

This of course is a wonderful joyous thing. It means value for dollar and no more of that annoying.. what the hell did I buy this for again? Or worse yet that sinking feeling when you just finished buying one set of yarn and run into that other set that was just a little more perfect.

I have learned to always keep searching even when you feel you've found what you wanted. Check everywhere and anywhere and even this place and that place. Don't stop looking until you've exhausted all the possible search results. Hit the forums, the boards and the blogs! Search high, low, across and around until you discover that secret dungeon filled with yarn that has your name stamped all over the label, even though it doesn't know it yet.

And when you've found that yarn. Wait. Sleep on it. Keep searching tomorrow but bookmark that treasure. Even if is on sale, at a close out price.. keep looking. Why you ask.. this is why. There will always be more yarn. 


Yes knitters, crocheters and yarn-aholics-alike, it is amazing and awesome but true. No matter how good the yarn you have in mind to buy is, there is always going to be more. Give yourself time to miss it, to think about it. Stop just short of getting obsessed and look for other options.

And meanwhile, look at what you've got and make at least one solid attempt at using some of your stash yarn while you browse. We all think we've got that yarn for the perfect project, but life isn't always about perfection. Yarn has about as much potential as you force it to have.

So today, my family in needles and hooks, I challenge you to stitch up at least two of your stash yarn for every one that you are looking purchase. And whenever you feel the impulse, step away from the yarn, look out the window at the world and remember that although it seems like the only way to be happy is to get that yarn right now, there more out there! Lots more!

Go look at it... and knit, stitch, weave, paint, sing, dance, live and eventually buy yarn and smoosh it on your cheek and squee.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Looking in the Looking Glass

Today is FO Friday or just Friday to most of us.

On this glorious day in Barbados,  I have accomplished a lot of things. Most of which I don't think about because they are so small.

I have decided to focus on those things along with a few knitting triumphs as a way to remind myself how lucky I am and how far I've come from being a baby only able to cry. Perhaps you should stop to do the same.

Today I:

I opened bottle of Sprite today - all by myself!

I cleaned my glasses.

I cleared a few planes to land.

I walked down and stairs and then back up the stairs again.

I knit four to five rows of Garter Stitch on my size 5 knitting needles.

I asked a guy on a date for the first time. And he said yes.

I stretched out my Carnival Cotton hat so it fit better and the eyelets were more defined.

I used chopsticks to eat Chicken Noodles.

I opened a door to a van and sat down.

I laughed.

I sighed.

I told a very lame joke.

I got a hug from my best friend.

I wrote a list of things I am going to buy for myself with my own money.

I came home to warmth, shelter and food... and my computer!

I sang out of tune with one of favourite songs while I danced wildly.

Looked at my messy room and stuck my tongue out at it.

Read a comment on my blog that was very interesting!

There this is my Fo Friday. Maybe not what was expected, but what I needed! Good night.. hope this date works out!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Adding A Ruffled Edge

Tonight I'm just going to do a quick post about my experiences today with learning this technique.

 I decided I wanted to add a ruffled edge to my Carnival Cotton Hat. I chose Relax Cotton yarn in a beige colour and switched to this yarn after my hat body was the desired length. I thought that it would be difficult but it is a simple matter of increasing the number of stitches that you have and then knitting in garter.

So for any hat pattern you have, (Top Down) and really perhaps for any fabric or project a simple pattern for a Ruffled Edge would be.

Row 1:  K1, M1(make one or Increase one)* Repeat to end

If working in the round;

Row 2: Purl All

Row 3 Knit all

Repeat Row 2 & 3 until the brim is the desired length ending with a Knit row.

Bind off loosely.

If not working in the round Row 2 & 3 would simple be Knit all creating the Garter Stitch.

I like the effect that ruffles creates as it is playful and chic.

I'll post pics in the day time when the hat is dry and I can get a better shot of the colours. I will also put the pattern up so it can be used by anyone as I really like how it turned out and think it is a great Summer Hat. And further I will put up some pics of Garter Stitch and begin an on-line Stitch Library.


Til then.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Gail's Prayer Shawl

Here I will chronicle my making of a shawl.

Let's start with a brief history. Gail, my co-worker, asked me if I could make a prayer shawl. Honestly I had never made a shawl before but when it comes to doing things for my friends, I'll take on any challenge. We looked at patterns on-line a bit and then a few days later when we were back on shift together I showed her photos of my yarn stash.

She picked Epicurus Magenta Cactus Bud.  A worsted weight 100% Merino Yarn. This was slightly a problem as the pattern she had liked was bulky and I didn't have a lot of this hand-painted yarn. I searched some more and found a workable pattern from which I borrowed the method of increases. You can find that pattern here. It is basic and good for novelty yarns.

I set to work it immediately, even though it was 1 am. What can I say, I really like helping out my friends. I changed the pattern up quite a bit and here is the result.

Here it is drying on my dining table


As you can see I used several Eyelets and added in beads as well. I used embroidery floss strung with the beads,  held double with the main worsted-weight yarn to get the beads into the fabric since the holes were really small.

This video below though silent was very helpful!



My best friend also helped me with bead selection and I got some input from my Dad who was replacing the flooring in our front house but didn't mind pitching in. Love you Dad!

I washed it and it opened up really nicely, looking somewhat akin to a spider-web. I'm  considering adding tassels but I'm wavering. I think it just needs a nice shawl pin and it is good to go!

I am very happy with the result and it was a good experience. I just hope she loves it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Salt Scrub Experiment

Hi there. I recently decided that I loved the sound of Dead Sea Salt bars. At first I was rearing to go and buy them up from every available source and then I rescinded that and decided to get an ex-foliating Soap cozy made by my best friend (see below) and buy salt scrub for myself to apply.

Then I further re-thought that and decided I would purchase dead-sea salt and try to make my own scrub. Yes that was the plan...

Then today as I ground Sea-salt into my chicken soup I had one of those...I wonder moments. Sure, Dead Sea salt is fancy and everything but isn't this sea salt too? I looked up a recipe on ehow.com but honestly I ignored it for the most part. But I'll post it anyhow in case you all have more recipe following patience than me. You can find that here.

I was off like a flash into the pantry where I unearthed: -

Sugar
Vanilla, Mixed essence
Sunflower

   

                     All to pair with the:


 Sea-Salt
                
                     Then they all went into this little dish!


Into my little dish

                     Then a good set of arm movement!


Stir Stir Stir




 It was smelling yummy and seemed to be okay... I had no idea what I was doing but I had fun. Into the bath I went armed with my scrub and my Soap Cozy filled with Imperial Leather!



Here it is!

A few minutes later, emerging clean and smooth I had a few thoughts and plans.

1) Less Oil, More salt. I was suffering from the ache of grinding but my ratio was way off

2) In aid of the above, perhaps some store-bought ready-ground sea salt.

3) Might be quirky but I live really close to the sea, thinking of catching some water and letting it dry out. Might not yield a lot but worth a try!

4) Bath then Salt scrub and then a light soap down. It cuts the greasiness and acts like a buff.

5) I will be doing this again!

I had so much fun, I simply can't explain it. I also have thoughts of melting down a bar of Imperial Leather, stirring in the salt and oil and letting it reset. Sounds messy and fun! Looking forward to further bath adventures!

A Rant: Etsy Economical?

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore Etsy, and I understand that Handmade objects tend to carry a higher price because you are paying for skill and time. However with out drawing attention to any particular seller or item, I have to wonder if there is really value for money.

As someone who hopes one day to proudly open an Etsy store and display my items, the price of things is rather of importance to me. I think everyone wants to recoup the price of their materials and if you are serious about profit put a price tag on your labour.

No one wants to be undervalued, I understand that but I also believe and maybe this makes me silly that as a person who has a steady job, I don't want to make a living from my crafting; I want that gratifying feeling of sharing my work and having it honestly enjoyed.

Surely there is some medium between making money and giving your customer a true value for their money? I can understand that as a designer who perhaps went to school to get to your current level of design acumen you believe that it is time to recoup the cost of your tuition and I am sure that there are lots of people out there who can very well afford a 340 dollar pair of shoes or a scarf for 120 dollars. However, my feeling is that craft is for the people, the everyday person who saved and wants to buy something nice that will last.

Now there are lots of things on Etsy that you can find to get a good deal.. not everything but some things and finding them may be a challenge but it feels good to support artists with sensible prices and a great attitude.

I'm not knocking anyone, but that's just my opinion.

Showing off my Typewriter

As requested and as if I could resist, Here is my sweet Anne. Had to name her, I'm very sentimental like that.

The case, a bit dinged up but super sturdy

Here Anne is in the sunlight, getting a tan?

 
Inside on the cushion, breezing by the window

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Shopaholic Saturdays

I have caught the meme fever and decided to make one for myself. Introducing: Shopaholic Saturday. I am always shopping online and constantly looking for new places to buy yarn, candles, hand-pressed soaps, books…. the list goes on and on.

It is a true scavenger hunt and nothing makes me happier than finding a good deal. A good deal is not always cheap. It is value for money and reasonable shipping paired with a feeling in my spirit that I love working with this seller or shop because when I get my products I feel great inside.

This Saturday I am going to highlight one or two of my recent purchases and then show you what I am planning to buy or still trying to decide.

First up is my darling typewriter. I was looking around one day on Etsy and saw that there was a typewriter as one of the featured items. The price was a shocking 30 dollars.

This is the start of an impetus inside of me. I remembered when I was a young girl there was an old typewriter in the backyard and I used to play on it, imaging myself as a writer.

It was one of the few happy memories of my childhood and I was determined to crystalize it by buying one. I didn’t manage to get the one of the front page but after some concentrated window shopping, I found one that was one sale, a lovely blue and came with a ribbon.

I knew that it was meant for me and though shipping to Barbados was bound to be expensive, 100US to be exact. I had to have it. Life is too short to let go of dreams, and too full of badness at times to allow goodness to slip through our fingers.

I have it now and I simply could not be happier. I have used it to writer shopping and want list and I find that my thoughts are clearer. I hope it and I have a long time together. I plan to read as much as I can about keeping her in good condition and I have found some nice paper for her.

A set of vintage Eaton paper and some recycled paper from a store on Etsy.  I blog about those and the ribbons when I have received the packages.

My final word; Money can’t buy happiness, but sometimes spending money can make you happy. You need to learn not to confuse the two.

Friday, July 8, 2011

FO Friday

I sew in the ends of my cowl and hat from Winter Fat today you can see the pictures here. I wanted to get the Carnival Hat up as well but that was not to be. After I added in some eyelets the stitches kept falling off of the needles which was really frustrating.

I don't have point protectors and so I was very close to pulling my hair out. Finally when I got them back on I realized that my marker had fallen off...Uh oh!

So, I tossed the whole thing one-side feeling utterly disappointed and went to bed. This morning at work, I restarted and managed to make a good headway. Hopefully I have it done by Monday.

The Estonia wool one looks scratchy but it feels so soft I am thinking of felting it. Knitting is filling my time even with sadness, leading me onward. I can't wait to knit!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hato Numero Uno Finito

Drum-roll please. My Winter Fat Hat is done. It has a slight slouch but I find that charming and the lady it is made for does have longer hair than me so that should help with fitting. It still needs the ends sown in so its not done but it'll be ready for Friday. I'm going to try to push on the Carnival Cotton.

The pattern I used for the body of the Winter Fat Hat is a simple knit and purl variant, that I call stepping up. Have a look!

Here it is paired with the cowl. 

The 'Stepping up' Pattern
Showing the slouchyness

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Camera! Oh For Joy!

You never know what you have unless you look. And given that what I wanted was a camera that came home to me with much force. I was all set to order one online when I remembered that my Father had one some years back.

A quick check and it was still here. I was worried it wasn't working but got it to flash with a new set of batteries.

I am hoping that this the a step in a great direction for me. I feel happy today because of my camera!

Here she is!