Prepping for Christmas (in April!)

One of the things I love about Christmas is making gifts. I love to plan ahead and try to make people the perfect gifts. Hand knit sweaters for the younger nieces and nephews, boot cuffs for the teens, etc. Unfortunately, I usually wait until November to make half of  my gifts! I would say that I am 80% successful for the hand made holidays.

This year will be different! Instead of getting overwhelmed with gift making, my family is starting a new tradition. Instead of having to make (or get gifts) for all adults, we have joined the name drawing crowd. To make it more personal, you aren’t just drawing a person’s name but you also have to make them a gift.

I think this will result in a great holiday tradition, one where we learn more about each other. Hopefully this will result in a closer, tight knit family.

I have drawn my name, planned my gift, and am already prepping for the holidays! (And yes, I am that annoying person who starts waayy to early!).  I have started writing my list! This year will be a Christmas to remember!

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Garter Stitch perceptions

I remember when I was first starting to knit and I would do rows and rows of the knit stitch, resulting in garter bands. At the time, I found purling to be incredibly difficult and knitting was all I could manage. Heck, even that was very difficult! Let’s just say, that when it came to knitting, I was not a natural.

On one hand, the garter stitch was the most amazing thing to me because of the fact that I created it out of thin air. I was a magician with my two needles and yarn. On the other hand, I found garter stitch to be ugly and unflattering. All I wanted to do was make stockinette stitch, with its beautiful Vs and smooth surface. As far as I was concerned, until I could do stockinette, I would not be a real knitter. The garter stitch would tell everyone I was a beginner.

Once I got purling down, I was well on my way to knitting stockinette stitch, then ribbing, lace, etc. For a long time, I tried to stay away from patterns that involved using large amounts of garter stitch as I still considered it the “beginner” stitch and nothing more. I wanted to be an advanced knitter and garter stitch would just not do.

And then I went onto shawls and the idea of purling 200 to 400 stitches left something to be desired! I all of a sudden fell back in love with garter stitch and the ease of knitting every row. Instead of thinking garter stitch was bulky, bumpy, and ugly, I loved the result, especially on fingering weight yarns. Was it the yarn, the pattern, or was it me? Was I finally ready to give garter stitch the attention and spotlight it deserved?

It is amazing how our perceptions change over time. I am now once again in love with garter stitch and the beautiful bumps. I no longer look at it as being only for beginners but a powerful tool in my knitting bag.

I wonder if other knitters go through the same mind set when it comes to garter stitch or other stitches?

The photo for this project is the Lilly Cardigan.

Yarn Bowl!

I love knitting and I love ceramics. And one of my favorite things is to combine both hobbies! In this case, I created a hand painted ceramic yarn bowl.

I purchased the yarn bowl from my local ceramics shop but there are multiple variations online. For example, here are options from Bisque Imports. For the colors, I used a mix of Duncan and Mayco glazes. I used the Duncan Shimmer for the bottom and the inside, using three coats. I then used the Mayco Jungle Gems for the outside. For the Jungle Gems and the first two coats, I tried to minimize the amount of crystals, waiting  until the third coat to stir the paint and add them.

I am thinking about using the Yarn Bowl as a give-away for Amanda Banana Knits at the end of May. My plan is to go “public” with the blog at the beginning of the month and then choose a winner. Look for a blog post in May with more details! (One caveat: That I am smart enough to figure this out!)

Ceramic Faces (aka Faces of Doom)

While knitting is my main hobby, I also like to paint ceramics. I joined a small ceramic studio about nine months ago. I have painted anything ranging from the practical (coffee cups to stoneware pizza stones to trivets) to the impractical. Lately I have been focused on the impractical, mainly painting ceramic faces to place in my back yard. The faces have become my obsession.

Where to begin? I saw a ceramic face at the end of last summer and decided to paint it on a whim. My ceramics teacher and I decided it would be the perfect raku project, a ceramic process that involves using a paint that has metals in it and using fire instead of a kiln to bake it. I loved the end result and felt the beginning of a new hobby.

Four completed

The raku face is the one on the right side.

Unfortunately work has gotten in the way of both my knitting and ceramics! I have started painting at home in the evenings, since I cannot always get to the painting studio. I think this will help me meet my summer ceramics goal- 10 faces to places in the backyard. With painting at home, I think this goal is a reality. As of now, I have the four completed faces and 3 more that are 80-90% done.

There is only one small fly in my brilliant plan. The husband…. For some reason he is not too fond of my obsession with painting faces, he calls them “Faces of Doom” and says they remind him of cadavers. Hopefully he doesn’t look in the backyard come June!

 

Cloud Man

One of my current projects in the beginning stages.

 

 

 

 

2017 Knitting Resolution #1

In a previous post  from the beginning of the year, I mentioned I had three knitting resolutions for 2017. These were to be completed in the following order-

  1. Use 20 balls of yarn before purchasing more
  2. Make a cowichan style sweater for me
  3. Make my husband a sweater (not sure on the order of the last two)

I figured I could easily get through 20 balls of yarn in two months but here it is at the beginning of April and I am on Ball 18. If I had just stuck with worsted weight or thicker yarn, that goal would have been surpassed a long time ago, but no! I went on a sock yarn binge! Between size one needles and work, my first goal is taking longer than anticipated.

It also doesn’t help that I have been given 10 balls of yarn by two different family members. However, those were gifts that I felt obligated to take and were not my own purchases. Therefore, they do not count! Even though 3 of the balls were some of my go-to yarn for kids clothes! (Again they do not count, they were leftover Premier Encore from a crocheted aphgan, leftovers I tell you!)

I wasn’t planning on starting resolution #2 until June so I still have plenty of time but I was hoping I would be much further along. I had day dreamed of having minimal yarn stash by June! In my head, I would have 40+ balls done by then. This may still be possible if I stay away from sock yarn! 

Ball 18…. I really wish it was ball 20. We are going to Roseburg this weekend and I was hoping to visit the Knotty Lady and buy two balls of yarn for all my hard work! Then I would fondle my new purchases, use them up, and start using up more stash. But alas, that isn’t the case.

I will have to see what will happen. Should I splurge even though I have two balls to go? Should I buy knitting related items instead? Should I just bypass the Knotty Lady to make sure I stay on track? Eek! Too many choices!!!!!