Wednesday, December 30, 2009

They Call Me January Girl

Yes, you may not know it, but you are reading about the knitting adventures of one famous girl here. Ok, famous may not be quite the most accurate adjective, but I am the official January Girl on The Urban Sheep's site! I know I mentioned it a few posts ago but it's official! You can read about me on someone else's site! How exciting! Anything else I can write where I can use an exclamation mark? No? OK.

Moving on. I love my little shop. As I think about it, my LYS is more than just a shop it's on and see...

As a full-time mom of two toddlers, time alone is a precious commodity. When I am blessed with the chance to get out of the house, during daily business hours, without the kids, I seem to always be at a loss as to where to go. There are so many places and so little time. However, I find myself always drawn to The Urban Sheep, my quaint, adorable LYS.

As a knitter you're probably thinking, "Hello...this is not earth-shattering, mind-boggling news." We all love to go yarn shopping - ogling the lush, vibrant colors and letting our fingers slide into a ball soft, sumptuous fibers.

Seriously, sometimes I wish I was the size of the Travelocity Roaming Gnome so I could just live inside the yarn cubbies at the shop. Anyway, this incredible experience is not solely what draws me in like a mosquito to a zapper.

Community is.

There is no community like one you'd find at a beloved knitting store. I know you've seen this: lone knitter enters the store, queries streaming across her furrowed brow as if written with a sharpie, all eyes turn to her hands where she holds a mangled ball of yarn with two bamboo sticks poking out at odd angles. We all know the look because we've all come to our LYS in the same state.

What happens next is why I love our community - more than one voice will call out, "How can I help?" and then there's, "Come here, take a seat, and let's get this all sorted out." We are helpers, we are teachers, we are of a kind that doesn't want one screwed up project to ruin another's love for our beloved craft.

You pick the problem, the response at the shop is always the same. Helping hands, kind hearts, encouraging words. Bring a cup of joe and your latest project, take a seat and enjoy - I know I do as much as I can!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mixing Yarn and Beads

I'm sure you've seen the yarn with beads randomly weaved in. I salivate when I see it. I'm not your "everything frilly, gotta be stunning" sort of gal. I'm pretty classic and I like my pieces to be timeless. Beaded yarn may be a fad, but I hope it's going to last my lifetime because I think it's absolutely gorgeous. The way the iridescence catches the light, plays with colors and transforms a simple yarn into an elegant medium. Plus, usually the yarn is a sumptuous blend of fibers that practically caress the skin. However, all that gorgeousness comes with a price tag that is often quite high.

I want beads placed throughout my yarn but I don't want to buy pre-beaded work. What's the solution? Pre-bead your yarn. How? Simply buy a bead that will slide easily over your yarn and string dozens, even hundreds depending on the size of your project and how often you want to add a bead to your work. I've seen this technique used and it's becoming quite popular. So, I'm going to test it out on a design I'm working on for a Valentine's Day piece.

Thus, before I begin my next project, I'll string nearly 100 beads onto my yarn, push them down to ball and begin to knit the "Beat of My Heart" work of art. I'm not going to tell you what the finished product will be because that would just ruin the whole surprise! If you want to be notified the second I get the pattern up, just enter in your name and e-mail below - don't forget that your information is safe and secure with me, I don't like to share secrets! Once the pattern is ready for you, I'll send you a quick e-mail and it's all yours!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Exciting Steps!

Do you every look back on your life and think, "I cannot believe so much has happened in such a short amount of time!" Back in July, I was two years into dreaming about designing knit patterns. I was in a place where I loved knitting so much, that I didn't want to go to the next level out of fear that my love for my craft would be overshadowed by my own expectations and pressures. Week after week, my husband encouraged me to just try it. "Take it at your own pace, design what you want and see where it goes." Well, I've done just that and I have to admit that my fears were unfounded because now I love knitting even more!

As I began sketching out and planning my first designs, I realized how much designing fit my personality. There is the creative side where you get to play with style, fit, pattern stitch and all the little details that make a piece a work of art. Then, there's the planning, organizing, math and actual fooling which is the best part there! However, as much as knitting is my most beloved part of the process, it's exciting to put all the pieces together. Figuring out the calculations, writing it down, choosing the stitch pattens, making the dream a reality means putting together all the parts and seeing if the design works.

As I moved from project to project, sent out patterns for test knitters, received glowing feedback, and began selling patterns, my confidence in my abilities as a knit pattern designer have increased tremendously. In fact, I have exciting news - and no, for all of you moms out there, I'm not pregnant!

My Textured Simplicity Knitted Scarf is officially a show piece at our local yarn shop. Given yarn support for the project, I knit a second version specifically to display at The Urban Sheep along with copies of the pattern. Because the pattern is available free here on Monday Morning Knits and on Ravelry, I thought it most honorable to give it away at my lys as well. After a few weeks, I went back in and the stack of copies had been reduced to a few sheets. I was nervous before I walked through the door but after I saw the response to the project I went away elated.

It gets even better! They have invited me to be the honored knitter on their website for the month of January! How great is it for one's confidence as a knitter, a designer but also as a person to have others acknowledge your work, appreciate it and want to showcase you? I'm blown away! I never thought in a million years that others would seek me out for my knitting skills. As soon as Melissa Monday, January makes it on the web, I'll be sure to let you know and share the link!

I know I'm not the only one with exciting stories about our knitting adventures. What's yours? I'd love to hear about how someone else's praise of your work boosted your confidence and gave you the desire to challenge your fears and move out of your comfort zone. Don't worry, I know you're not a boaster, but we all need to toot our own horn every once in a while!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Unsticking The Stuck

Though I've been knitting for years now, I inevitably always make errors as I'm knitting a new project. I have to go through the tedious process of ripping out row upon perfect row to get to the glaring eyesore two inches down. Do you feel my pain? It happens to all of us...usually more than once on any given project. Well, I have a problem that has been stuck for nearly three years now. "What's the hold up, girlfriend?" you ask so sweetly. My simple and unabashed reply is, "I'm scared."

This isn't your ordinary problem. This is the "I'm a new knitter and I've completed my very first sweater project, seamed it all together, slipped it over my head and it's too short" problem. Last year I took a class at Stitches called "The Long and Short of Knitted Garments" specifically to learn how to fix this problem. So, why am I still stuck? Like I said above - I'm scared.

I'm scared that I'm going to fix the problem and still hate the sweater. I know we all have projects that we finish and don't like. I'm battling my perfectionism in this case. I'm scared that I'll cut my sweater in half and then not be able to fix it. This is completely unreasonable because I know how to fix it and I've practiced. I'm scared, I guess, that I'll try and fall flat.

On that note, I think it's time to face our fears. I was talking with a girlfriend a while ago and we discussed how fear can really paralyze us from moving on, growing, succeeding and doing what we never believed possible. It's time to take a dose of my own medicine. If I fail, so what. It's a knitted sweater. I've knit it once, I can knit it again...and probably do a much better job! If I never try to tackle the problem, I'm always going to see it, folded and stored high up in my closet and wonder, "Ooh, what if...?" As I venture forward and begin to unstick the stuck, I'll keep you updated on my victories, big and small.

I'm sure you have some knitted project that has been stowed out of sight. I encourage you to embark upon this journey with me. Take the challenge. Let's take the big girl medicine together, take that problem by the horns and kick some knitted butt! Pardon the messy mix of idioms, I get a little excited sometimes and tend to go a tad overboard. Anyway, don't let your fear keep you down. Share your trials and your successes below to help encourage others who may be stuck to rise up, go forth and conquer that yarn.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snug-as-a-Bug Knit Loafers

I finally finished my sister-in-laws birthday gift. Granted her birthday was in August, but life was busy and I knew these would be the perfect gift for her...even if they came really late. Now, it didn't take me 3 months to actually knit them. However, I did a bit of procrastinating on actually ordering the yarn. Once I got the yarn in though, it took me only a week or two to draft the pattern and knit up the loafers. When I presented them to her on Thanksgiving she was ecstatic and wore them all day...the best thank you a hand knitter could ever receive, don't you think!

You've probably noticed that they're an adult-sized version of the Goody Two Shoes Knit Baby Loafers. Response to that pattern was so great that I decided babies shouldn't get all the goods. I contemplated various names and landed on Snug-as-a-bug Knit Loafers because when you wear them, you feel comfy, cozy and ready to snuggle up. I'm so excited to get the pattern out to you because these are sure to be the perfect match for your bare tootsies so stay tuned!

Shown is a set created for a woman's size 7-8 foot. The charcoal black sole is double knit for extra durability and the bulky weight yarn lends itself to a sturdy wall yet still soft enough to flex easily with the foot and conform to each individual foot's curves. These comfortable, cozy, secure-fitting loafers are made with comfort in mind without forgoing the need for practicality.

Especially now that it's winter time, curling up in a blanket is the number one activity during the winter time and rainy, cold afternoons. However, have you ever tried to curl up with stiff soled slippers on? Doesn't quite work, does it? I always end up marching right back down to my bedroom for a pair of socks but then a sock is just a sock.

One of my favorite details about these slippers is the button. With all the fantastic choices to be had out there, the button is the place to add that splash of color, touch of sparkle or even a throw back to old memories of good times. If you're like me, you have already begun to think of the different color combinations you'd like a pair in. Personally, I think I'm going to knit myself some dark brown with cream loafers with a wooden carved button.

As I work on editing the pattern, I'd love to get your feedback on the finished product as seen above. What do you like? What would you change? Tell me what you think and what color combinations you want to see on your feet!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Santa Has To Knit

Why do I ever think Santa pictures are going to go off without a hitch? With all the fuss and the chaos, all I want to do is grab my knitting needles...whether to knit or to stick in my ears is entirely up in the air.

Today, two of my girlfriends and I decided to take our children (totaling 6) to the mall to get Santa pictures. This is year three of our tradition and each year we actually look forward to the insanity of long lines, screaming kids and grumpy "elves". This year there was a bonus: we could buy a USB with the photos on them to make our own copies instead of paying the outrageous price for 1 5x7. Anyway, my son, who's 3 1/2, is past his freak-out-over-Santa phase (whew!) but my daughter, 15 months, is just entering it. I love the picture because it captures both of them in there natural states - happy-go-lucky and tantrum-central.

Next up, we had the three older children sit all together with Santa. It's a wonder that we even were able to get a picture with all three of them looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. Check the sky for UFOs and all sorts of other paranormal activity. The last batch, however, was the most classic. Three little ones on Santa's lap and poor Santa trying to maintain his joyful smile! My friend's 11 month old son weighs more than my daughter (who's 4 months older) and Taylor refused to let go of her Ritz. Meanwhile, my other friend's daughter (9 months) is taking it all in and wondering what the fuss is...she's found the most comfy pillow in the world!

I feel for Santa, I really do. Who else has to grin and bear screaming kid after screaming kid. (Hmmm, should I look in the mirror?) That's why I know Santa must knit. There's no other thing in the world more relaxing (except maybe a foot massage). I can just see him up there at the North Pole. Elves scurrying about, Mrs. Claus mending his suspenders, Santa, knitting yet another pair of red, green and white striped socks.

So, I've got a plan that's sure to work. I'll buy Santa a new pair of needles to go with his cookies and milk this year. Maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll find some in my stocking too!

What other knitting gadgets are great stocking stuffers? What's on your wish list? Make your mark below and be sure to send hubby the link!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Timing Is Never Right

I've been hearing over and over again lately, "The timing is just not right for..." You fill in the blank. Sometimes it's making an awkward phone call, sometimes it's losing something valuable (or even not so valuable), sometimes it's a broken dish or a burnt meal. For our family, it was the loss of a beloved aunt just before Thanksgiving. Susan, my husband's aunt, and I had become quite close, especially since I've been able to lunch with her often now that I'm home with my kids.

She was the kind of person that never forgot a birthday(even her great-nephew's and great-niece's), always was excited to see you, always loved a great laugh, always took the time to talk, always told you how much she loved you. She was a person I always knew I could count on, always knew I could get an honest opinion, always wanted in my corner, and always wanted to see.

She's the kind of person that if I said "the timing just wasn't right" she would have responded, "Yes, that may be true. But what's done is done, what are you going to do about it now?" Instead of finding the lemons in a glass of lemonade, she always tried to help me make lemonade out of life's lemons. For her, timing was all perspective. For Susan, God's timing was perfect, even though she couldn't always make heads or tails of it.

Now, I've come to realize that though her death was too early (she was just 59) and the timing wasn't perfect, in God's great plan the timing was more than perfect. Every future Thanksgiving will come with some sadness but with great thanks for the family we are still able to celebrate with. Every Thanksgiving will remind me that those around me are each unique, each special, and put in my life to love. God has shown me that tomorrow may not look the same as today, so make some lemonade, share it with friends and family, love and enjoy it, and give thanks for those whom we are blessed to live life with.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I've Found My Knitting Muse

Do you ever go in waves where sometimes you're knitting like Armageddon is tomorrow and other times you can hardly look at your stash let alone pick up some needles? If you don't, well, you're the envy of all knitters and your LYS should thank their lucky stars they receive your constant support!

I, on the other hand, am not so blessed (and I like to believe I'm normal in this respect). I have these knitting bipolar moments quite frequently - one minute I'm hot and the next I'm not. But, I think I've finally found a cure to my knitting doldrums. I've discovered my knitting muse. No, I'm not pulling your leg. I'm being completely serious.

However, my muse doesn't look like a Greek goddess...oh, it's far from that. My muse is not even a living being, sorry hubby. My muse, oh, sweet muse, is the mall. Every time I go shopping I wander the pathways of Macy's, Banana Republic, Express, GAP, whatever and every scarf or glove or hat or sweater I see I think, "They want how much for that! You've got to be kidding me! I could totally knit that no sweat." So, after a few hours of perusing, I'm inspired to go home and get my needles movin'! Have you noticed how you go to the mall and they want $70 for a cable sweater that feels like it was knit with yarn one would give to their cat as a toy? Then, you go to Target and they want $10 for a scarf and I get all angry because that kind of low-balling completely destroys the hand knit market. Well, that's another topic for another day.

Back to my muse. I'm so lucky I don't shop with my eyes closed or else I'd spend a fortune because after a while, us knitters can feel the minute differences between quality yarn and cheap, mass-produced fibers that are only out there to make a yearly profit, not to last 4 seasons. The only good thing about going sweater shopping at the mall instead my favorite knitting magazine is that I can get some fabulous inspirations for stitch patterns, pattern combinations and style and fit. Since I've been home (less than 36 hours) I've finished one project, tentatively designed my next project and have begun the new design. It's amazing what I can accomplish after a few hours at my local Macy's.

Do you have a knitting muse? I know you do. Don't lie. If you're feeling "out of the mood" to knit, what do you do to snap yourself back to reality? Come on, share know you want to!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Do You Remember When...?

Do you remember who taught you to knit? I do and I can see the scene like it was this morning (don't ask me about yesterday because anything longer than 24 hours ago is a foggy haze). Before I divulge the juicy details, you've gotta hear about my most recent experience.

I recently finished a series called "Learn to Knit!" (I know, -1 points for creativity, don't shoot me) on a website geared towards moms called The site itself is run through The Modesto Bee and covers any topic moms could wish to learn about. From breastfeeding to home organizing to hobbies, if you're a mom it's a hot place to be.

Each week I would write a guest blog post describing in detail where and how to hold your needles and wrap your yarn to achieve all the great techniques that make up the foundation of knitting...the slip knot, casting on, knitting and purling, slipping stitches, increasing and decreasing, specialty stitches and simple stitch patterns. In fact, my Textured Simplicity Knit Scarf was a project designed specifically with this series in mind as I taught all the techniques used in it and I designed it with the beginner in mind.

So, every Monday (makes since I would blog on Mondays, huh?) I would quickly put my children to bed and, half-running, make my way to my living room/knitting studio. There I would sit criss-cross, applesauce, my camera afixed to a tri-pod and positioned "just so," needles and yarn expertly held in my deft fingers. Then, I'd gently remove a finger to hit the timer button and frantically try to put the needles and yarn back into place before the shutter released. Needless to say, at the end of a 1/2 hour photo shoot (hey, throw a a bone! I like to use professional lingo because it makes me feel more professional), my back ached, my fingers felt frozen in a crooked, twisted mess and my eyebrows were wrenched together as I peered intently at the LCD screen to make sure the shots were clear and precise.

After the shoot, videos were recorded and it was all uploaded. The blog was painstakingly written in step-by-step detail. Still shots were imbedded and links to my video tutorials were created. That said, after 2-3 hours, my posts were published. I would arch back, stretch my arms up, think to myself, "Aah, now I can relax!" and then it would happen...a little voice from down the hall, "Mom, may I please get up, now!" Well, so much for relaxing.

Each week, as I prepped and wrote, shot photos and videos and published my hard work, I'd think how easy I had it when I learned to knit. I was sitting in my sister-in-laws house at a family celebration and my other sister-in-law had just learned to knit and was working on a scarf. I didn't have to ask her twice to show me how to make the knit stitch. She planted a seed in my life and with a little watering, it has blossomed into a gorgeous bloom that brings me lasting enjoyment. For me, it was so easy because I had someone in my life who taught me. I wonder how many women in our lives need something like knitting and they don't even know it. Have you offered to teach anyone lately? Don't try to discard the notion with horrible ideas like, "I couldn't teach anyone to knit!" or "She'd never want to learn." You never know if you don't ask.

I know each of us has a story. Someone taught us to knit. Some of us have had the pleasure to teach someone to knit. Comment below and share your inspiring stories. Encourage us with your experience!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yarntasting Success!

Have you ever heard of a Yarntasting? If you haven't, check it out! Artfibers, an LYS in Pinole, CA offers a program called Yarntasting where they send you over 170 samples of their yarn with enough of each sample to knit multiple swatches. You invite a bunch of people over, knit with tons of gorgeous yarns and then buy what you want! Plus, when you buy, you don't buy skeins or hanks or balls, just the amount of yardage you need!

So, I just co-hosted a Yarntasting at my friend's house and it was great. We ended up with less people than expected (drat, it's flu season again!) but that meant more yarn for the rest of us! The sample kits were gorgeous with silks, synthetics, wools and cottons ranging from solid primary colors to incredible painted yarns in an array of dazzling colors that was like seeing a rainbow up close.

My friends (new and old), cozied up with a glass of wine or a cup of cider and had a great time working with the yarn, watching others swatches, comparing colorways and laughing all the while! Being able to handle yarn before you buy is an ingenious way of marketing product. Now, instead of relying on someone else's word, I know first hand how their different weights knit up. I know how their yarn feels on my needles and in my hands. This program is exactly the yarn-shopping solution I was searching for when I wrote Spend Your Money Where It Counts...On Yarn!

Bravo to Rox and Artfibers for creating this program for those of us who live too far to easily come to your store! Thank you to all the gals that came to the event...knitting with friends is infinitely more enjoyable than knitting alone. Thank you to my hubby who supports my addiction to yarn with a smile on his face!

Tell me your thoughts on Yarntastings. Have you been to one? Would you go to one? What would make or break an event for you?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fall, Fireplaces, Falling Leaves and Knitting

I love the fall season. First, my birthday happens to be in the fall so of course I think it's the ultimate best time of year. More than my birthday...especially now that I'm in my last year of being in my 20's, I love fall for its colors, its vibrancy, the feel of anticipation of the upcoming holiday season. I love watching my children play in the leaves and carve pumpkins! I salivate, seriously, at the thought of delicious soups, roasts, pies and potatos! Have you noticed that everyone seems to be in a good mood in the fall? Where I live, we've finally moved on from 105 F days and nights where your air conditioning is on for 8 of 9 hours. People are beginning new school years, new soccer teams, there's a atmosphere of new beginnings that permeates the air.

In the mornings, I feel so snuggly in bed with my beloved beagle curled up next to me, his head on my husbands pillow, snoring softly. I just don't want to get up! I love that crispness that you can see and smell and feel when you step out to get the paper. I love that my hot coffee warms my body instead of making me sweat. But most of all, I love the fall because I can finally curl up in front of a real fire (sorry, not a fan of fake fire inserts), my dog snuggling against my legs, and knit away. Add a glass of wine and a foot-massage by dear hubby and I will swear that I've died and gone to heaven!

If you could envision your knitting heaven on earth, what would it be? Is it taking your yarn and sticks and enjoying the fresh, spring sunshine under a newly-blossoming tree? Is it sitting by the pool with a cool glass of iced tea while your kids laugh and splash? Is it curling up in rocking chair while snow falls gently to the ground outside and the Christmas ham is filling the home with its sweet honey-glazed aroma? Do tell!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How do we get it all done? Is it possible?

I've been following a recent discussion thread on Ravelry about how stay at home moms have time to get all their domestic duties done and find time for designing and knitting, not to mention some quiet time to themselves w/o an agenda attached. It got me thinking about my weeks and how I organize my time. I pondered the answer to that eternal question, "How can I do it all?" and found that the answer is a big fat, "I can't." Now before you dismiss me completely and write me off, hear me out. I'm writing this post because right now, I feel like I've piled on so much to each day that I wake up at night worrying over tomorrow's schedule. Are you there too?

In today's world, we've been inundated with the sentiment that if we just work a little bit harder we can do it all and have it all. I absolutely believe this is a lie we've been fed and even though we may say we don't believe it, our actions tend to prove otherwise. We try to pack so much into every hour that we get to a point in our lives where everyday is a rush, then a blur and soon we can't even remember what we did 30 minutes ago. How do we stop? How do we slow down? How do we get done what we need to get done and still have time to do what we most want to? Here's a strategy that, when implemented consistently, has done a lot for me because it helps me be proactive and in control of my week instead of reacting to whatever life throws at me.

I honestly believe God didn't make a day with 25 hours in it, a month with 40 days and a year with 55 weeks for one very big reason: we aren't Him! We can't do everything but we think we can! We can't be everyone to everyone because we are unique. We have limits. We have strengths and weaknesses. We have to learn to prioritize - and that can be really difficult.

Whenever I get into a funk, my husband always reminds me that I don't have to be everything for everyone every week. "Prioritize," I can hear him say to me in my thoughts. He shared with me a plan that he uses to map out his week so he's using his time for the priorities, not for the non-priorities. It's based on the book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." Wanna hear it? You may say, "Ugh...I hate living by a schedule!" I do too, but that doesn't mean that a general routine doesn't do wonders for my life.

Ok, first things first: Identify the roles you have to play during the upcoming week. Whether it's mom, wife, knitting designer, PTA member, etc, write them down. At the beginning of the list, write Sharpen the Saw - this refers to time for you to take care of you mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Second: Write one or two goals for each role you will play which, if completed, you will have seen the week as being successful.

Third: Plug into your calendar reoccurring events (e.g. Work on knitting patterns, lean house, Bible Study, date w/ hubby, library time, etc). Then, plug in sections of time to do the activities necessary to meet all the goals you've set out. Make sure you have plugged in time for some exercise, a quiet time or a coffee date with a friend - taking care of yourself helps you better take care of others.

Be sure to allow at least 15 minutes between each activity. I always add an extra 15 minutes to each activity because something will always happen to delay me. Blown-out diapers, unanticipated phone calls, a friend stopping by. We want to anticipate that nothing will go exactly to plan and allot extra time to deal w/ special circumstances.

Last: Take a look at all the blank spaces. These are your times where you can sit and close your eyes, knit, read, talk on the phone, putter around on the internet. If every minute of the day is taken up with a chore, it's time to re-evaluate your work ethic. It shouldn't take 12 hours a day to keep up the house and cook the food. Take some time to see how you can shift your work style to help you get things done more efficiently. For example, if it takes 15 minutes to clean the toilet because you're talking on phone, maybe it's time to hang up the phone and just "get 'er done!"

There's one important equation to remember in all this - your schedule is a guideline for your week. If an extraordinary circumstance comes up and something doesn't get done, don't worry! There are very few things that have to happen. Be flexible. Knowing that there's extra time tomorrow in the afternoon or on Wednesday means that if the kids get sick on Monday, there's a time when we can play a little catch up without ruining the rest of the week's plans.

All in all, if at the end of the week your to-do list still has items on it that aren't crossed off, give yourself a break, go take a hot bath (don't forget the soothing salts!) and recharge your batteries. In the morning, take a fresh look at your week, prioritize and then go and live life to the fullest!

What tips do you have for prioritizing and laying out your week? How do you find time to relax and "sharpen your saw"? Share your thought below. Who knows - you may have the answer to someone else's problem!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Knitting Thrills

I go in cycles of what I love most about knitting. Sometimes it's casting on a beginning a new project. There's excitement in embarking on a new adventure. Granted sometimes I feel like I'm on the USS Enterprise and I've no idea where the next journey will take me or what challenges I might face (Good thing I can always look to Cpt. Picard for revolutionary advice!). Most of the time, though, I've got a good idea of what lays ahead and it's a rush to see the project unfold row by row.

Other times, I get so excited over finishing a project that I'll stay up until 1am just get my piece bound off. I always try to wait to seam when my eyes and head are clear...otherwise the results may not be so great. When I'm just a few inches away from finishing an object, my heart begins to race, I bounce around in my seat, and my palms get sweaty. I just can't handle the anticipation. Go, fingers, go! Make those needles fly! If a stranger just walked in, they may think I'm about to go on my first date. Thank goodness that awkward stage is long past and I'm happily married now with kids in tow. Whew! My latest finished project, Reve by Stephanie Rothshild, was completed on my recent family vacation. This was great because I had lots of time to relax and knit. Plus, I didn't have to worry about waking up at the crack of dawn with the kids (hooray for hubby!) so I could stay up as late as I wanted!

Currently, my most favorite part of knitting is dreaming up the design. I use the Stitch 'n' Bitch Knitter's Design Journal to plan my projects - sorry for the language but it's the name. I'm not the greatest artist in the world. I've no formal schooling, my attempts at people are eye-gouging and my inability to draw anything multi-dimensional is truly embarrassing. All that aside, I don't think you need to be an artist to dream up a gorgeous knit. Granted, it helps, but it's not necessary. I dream in real life - not life-like sketches and so often write the pattern based on a very basic outline with descriptions for the different sections. Right now, I'm working on a throw based off the fantastically simple Textured Simplicity Knit Scarf. Working with simpler stitch patterns, throwing in intarsia and picking up so the sections are multi-directional will give the Textured Simplicity Knit Throw a gorgeous feel, intricate appearance and easy-on-the-needles appeal! I'm so excited to nail down my pattern and knit my sample...a gift for my cousin Jen's newly adopted little boy!

What part of knitting thrills you? Is is beginning a new project? Finishing one? Showing it off? Dreaming up a new design? Writing out the pattern? What makes your palms sweat?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Vacation's becoming an obsession

Ok. I've been gone a while. I know. You're probably sitting there thinking, "Geez, I thought this girl had no life! I mean, she's been blogging all the time, which means she's on the computer all the time, which means she has no where to go. Well...contrary to popular opinion, I do have a life outside of kids and knitting. This week, Mr. Monday and I took the kids on a week long trip to Coronado (an island off San Diego).

I'm sitting here on our last day pondering over the past 6 days worth of activity. We've done the zoo, the USS Midway, the ferry, the beach, dinners and lunches out, ice cream, playing by the bay, ordering in, movies, people watching from the balcony, walks to the park, and through it all is one consistent thread, or should I say strand...of yarn...from my knitting. I've completed my Reve tank top, taken new pictures, designed a new pattern (which will come soon!), and gotten half way through a project to be on display at my LYS with my Textured Simplicity Knit Scarf pattern.

All in all, it's been a great week. Sure, there have been the mishaps. My sweet relatives just got the carpet cleaned in their condo so we've been trying to be extra careful. But does that really work with two toddlers? Little Man knocked his super saucy pizza on the floor. Sweet Pea literally peed on the floor. I dropped my new camera in the ocean and so now take pictures with my mind through my fingers as they're forming the outline of a camera. Needless to say, I had a minor breakdown about half way through thinking that something really big was going to come and completely ruin a wonderful week.

Then, Mr. Monday Morning sat me down and gave me a good talking too. He got my mind wrapped back around the good things and off the bad things. He reminded me of all the fun things we've done and how stupid things happen all the time. I'm not cursed, just normal. "Forget about the camera. Forget about all the spills and stupid mistakes," he tells me. Then he goes and cooks me dinner while I knit. Afterward, he and the kids sing Happy Birthday, Mom while I blow out Tigger and Pooh candles.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Teaching Myself to Knit Continental

So I decided last week that instead of spending lots of money to learn to knit Continental (w/ yarn in the left hand), I'd teach myself. I was sitting at Knitting Club watching a friend knit continentally and I thought, "Gosh. I taught myself to knit English (w/ yarn in the right hand), I bet I could teach myself to knit Continental." Ok. I admit. it's harder to retrain my hands than I thought.

Attempt 1: I tried just wrapping my yarn around my left forefinger. Failure. I couldn't keep my tension right nor could I even keep the yarn on my finger. It kept sliding off and I think it took me 20 minutes to knit one row. Ugh. Attempt 2: I wrapped the yarn around my ring finger like I do when I knit English. Similar problems. The yarn doesn't want to stay on my fingers! I'm much better at maintaining gauge but it's still not flowing quite right. Estimated time to knit one row was reduced by 1/2. Whew! "Maybe," I thought, "just maybe, I'm on the right track." People say this way is supposed to reduce pain in the wrist and be faster. I was finding it to be a pain in the neck. (BTW, the picture is not me knitting...these are just examples of the correct way...obviously I found this after my many failed attempts).

Eventually, after 3 inches of knitting Continental, it finally started to move along at a clip that I was happy with. I truly felt like I was making progress. "Now, I'm ready for purling!" Wrong!
Repeat Attempts 1 and 2 above plus add about 50 more and you can guess the state of my sanity! I felt like I'd just been through the ringer and I certainly didn't come out the victor! Twisted stitches. Dropped stitches. Tight stitches. Loose stitches. You name it, I did it. It was grueling. It was frustrating. It was mind-boggling. How can this yarn make me go so crazy?!?! It's just yarn!

Every mistake I made I could hear failure knocking at my door. But I refused to give up and after 3 days of intense self-torment, I think I've finally got it down. Well, at least I can purl a whole row! Maybe I'll just fork out the money and save what's left of my brain!

Comment below and share your frustrating knitting experiences...who knows, someone may read yours and know the solution!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Learning to Knit? Here's some video support!

I've begun my guest blogging series called "Learn to Knit and Start Relaxing" on a mom-oriented site called! I have to say that each time I sit down to write my next post I actually get giddy!

The site has such a great audience with the potential for big impact. I just know that there are women out there who need something to help them take a break and give themselves a little "me time" each day. As moms, we give all our time and energy to our children and often forget to save some for ourselves. There have been times where, at the end of the day, I have looked in the mirror and wondered who that shell of a woman staring back at me is. I began to knit and have not seen that shell in a long time. I want the same for all those other women out there who just haven't found that activity that truly helps to calm them down, relaxes their body and rejuvinates their mind.

I encourage you to check out the blog, let me know what you think of the series and tell your friends about it...who knows, they may need a break and want to learn to knit! Below, you'll find videos on Making a Slip Knot, Casting On and The Knit Stitch. These videos support the written instructions and video found at Next week I'll be adding The Purl Stitch and Slipping Stitches. My goal is to provide a video library easily accessible on the sidebar to assist new knitters and advanced knitters alike in learning new skills and honing old ones! Stay tuned!

One quick note, Blogger only allows 100mb videos to be uploaded so the color is not the best. I'm working on a new video format to allow for better color and clarity. It's soon to come!

Making a Slip Knot - This video shows two methods to make a slip knot. One method uses the needle as a base for our yarn and the other method, which I like to call the pretzel method, uses a flat surface. Be sure to measure out enough yarn for your tail end. The general rule is that it takes 3x the length of your piece in yarn to make one row. So, look at your schematics, if your cast on edge is to measure 10 inches, you'll need 30 inches of yarn to make one row (10 inches x 3= 30 inches).

Casting On (CO) - The gun or slingshot method is also known as a two-fingered or German method of casting on. Be sure to keep the yarn as taut as you can and as close to the needle as possible. Loose yarn makes for difficult casting on!

The Knit Stitch (K) - The knit stitch is the foundational stitch in knitting. All other stitches are variations of the knit stitch. Commonly called the garter stitch, we use a simple rhyme to remember the 4 steps: Through the loop, around the back; Pull it through, off pops Jack! When putting your right needle through the loop, check to see that the front of the loop rests just to the right of the back of the loop. Then, slide your needle through the front of the loop and follow the rest of the rhyme! Be sure to keep your yarn behind your knitting as you work each row!

The Purl Stitch
Super simple. To make the purl stitch, commonly abbreviated "P" or "p," first you bring the yarn to the front of the work by slipping the yarn thread between your needles. Next, you'll slip the point of your right needle through the first loop on the left needle by going through the back. Now, wrap that yarn around the back of the right needle, push it through the loop and "off pops Jack," as the rhyme goes!
Here's a video link to my families site where I was fortunate to have uploaded some video a few months back. It'll have to suffice till I get back home and can get some better video up on MMK.

Slipping Stitches
Even easier than the knit a purl stitch. To slip a stitch knitwise (aka sl 1 kwise), simply insert the tip of the right needle into the first loop on the left needle as if you are going to knit it. Stop! Don't wrap the yarn. Slide the loop off the left needle and onto the right. Done! To slip a stitch purlwise (aka sl 1 pwise), simply slide that right needle into the first loop on the left needle as if to purl. Stop! Don't wrap the yarn! Slide the stitch off the left needle and onto the right. Done!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I love Stitches!

I will repeat that again...I love Stitches. I just signed up for Stitches West 2010 and I'm already trying to plan my route in my head of how I'll go through the vendors. I'm making up my list in my head of yarns I've got to see and touch. I always love the Socks That Rock booth. It's got to be the smallest on the floor and the most popular. People are grabbing for this, reaching for that, oohing and aahing over lush yarns in incredible colorways.

Next, I always hit Webs. Their selection is incredible and their prices are fantastic for budget knitters like myself. I love to shop here especially when I'm knitting for my kids because I don't want to buy super expensive yarn that takes all my mental capacities to figure out how to wash it without ruining it. My kids are just not ready to care for a handknitted garment the way I want them to. Granted they are 3 and 1 so maybe in a few years they'll be able to handle a nice scarf. For right now, I'm sticking with easy care, economical, long-lasting yarns that my kids can't ruin unless they try really hard.

There are so many booths and vendors that offer incredible hand-dyed yarns that I just don't have access to here in Modesto that Stitches is like a carnival. I want to do and see everything right now! My eyes are wide with anticipation, my palms start to sweat and I think, "Quick, Melissa! Race because someone just might get the last skein of the perfect yarn and you'll miss out!"

Good thing my dear sister-in-law is there to keep me in check. This is what I love most about Stitches. I get to spend time with one of my best friends in a place where we are surrounded by our shared passion. We can't wait to see Rick Mondragon and the Fashion's always a highlight. During dinner afterward we sit and watch all the people around us and are always amazed at the fact that we are in the midst of hundreds and thousands of people who are at a knitting convention. For some reason, that phrase always doubles my friends over in laughter. I chuckle outloud but in my head I'm thinking, "You may think it's funny now, but when you need that knitted blanket for your neices birth, I know who you're not getting one out of!" Ok, so (Here we are with my daughter at Stitches
I wouldn't really withhold knitted items but still, West 2009 in line for the Fashion Show)
it's nice to imagine I've got that kind of control.

Back to Stitches and my sister-in-law. She makes me go slowly through the marketplace and enjoy each vendor for the opportunities they offer. We always come with one specific goal: she keeps me from buying yet more green yarn (I'm obsessed) and I help her add any color but black (she's obsessed) to her wardrobe. We know each others style of knitting and spot yarns that would be great for the other's next project. We critique, we compare, ponder, we crunch numbers, we dream. We laugh, we enjoy the fashion show, we share room service. We spend time together strengthening our relationship and relaxing in each other's company.

Some say that home is where the heart is. Then I say that for me, there is a time every year where my home is at the Hyatt Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. I'll see you there!

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Pattern! Sweet Lil Thing Toddler Knit Dress

Hooray! It's finally done!

I'm so excited to finally present the Sweet Lil Thing Toddler Knit Dress. Knitted in a worsted weight yarn and only needing about 400 yards for the main color and 100 yards of the accent color, it's the perfect project for your daughter, niece, granddaughter or for a friend's little girl. Knitted on US 6, the project is a quick knit with great options for customization. Paired with sandals, it's a wonderful spring and summer dress. Worn over tights and a sweet, ruffled top it's also a perfect addition to the winter wardrobe! I used Valley Yarns Springfield in Pale Lilac and Pale Olive for my daughter's dress but imagine the wonderful color combinations to make it fit any season you desire! The pattern is written for 12months, 24 months and 36 months so get those needles ready and have fun knitting!

To purchase, click the "Buy Now" button below. After processing payment via Paypal, be sure to click the orange "Complete Purchase" button. A link to the pattern pdf will be emailed to you...

Buy Now

...or, feel free to use the E-junkie cart option for multiple pattern purchases. Simply click "Add To Cart" below and continue shopping on! When you're done shopping, click "View Cart" from any page to complete your order and get knitting!

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Life is a Textured Simplicity Knit Scarf

Over the course of an evening back in June spent at a gal's home who I didn't know with other gals I didn't know well , it came to be know that I knit. Immediately the four other wives decided then and there that we would start a knitting club and that I would be the teacher. So, for the past few months, I've been getting to know some gals through teaching them to knit.

Each month, we set the date and our excitement grows. When the evening comes, we arrive sans kids and toting goodies, we boast about what we've accomplished on our projects since the last meeting. We share frustrations and joys, failures and successes, knitting and life. It's a group of girls that I had originally known as acquaintances because of our husbands and as the months have passed they have become a great group of friends. We come from different walks of life, different stages of marriage and familyhood, but we all have one thing in common...a passion for knitting, sharing life and building relationships.

As I prepared my guest blogging series on Learn to Knit, I kept thinking of my knitting club friends. Our relationships are complex yet simple. We discuss the mundane and the deep. We share and intertwine our lives. I kept coming back to this idea that no matter how complex a relationship becomes, it's always built upon the simple things: a phone call, an e-mail, a letter, a coffee date, a knitting club get-together. So, I dedicate this scarf to these girls whom I've come to love. As we share something simple: learning to knit, we build something beautiful: a friendship. And like all good things in life, it comes free and holds the promise of joy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Spend Your Money Where It Counts...on Yarn! Part 3

In Lesson 1, we looked at the fact that to be a good knitter, you don't need every expensive knitting gadget known to man. In Lesson 2, we looked at ways to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to yarn shopping. In Lesson 3, we're going to look at what you may have in your junk drawer that you can use for knitting tools.

As I was putting around in the Ravelry forums looking for info for Lesson 1, I decided to throw out a post asking other knitters what they've found around the house that they use for knitting. The responses were delightful and insightful! I'm going to share my findings below because the ideas are just too good to keep to myself! Have fun reading and then digging around in your junk drawer to see if you have any creative solutions to your knitting woes!

Stitch holders: paper clips, baby cloth diaper pins, safety pins, unwanted yarn scraps, pencil with two end-cap erasers...

Stitch markers: cut up straws, small hair bands, yarn tied in loops, bobby pins, jumprings (for jewelry making)

Swift: lamp shade with the finial nut unscrewed, chair back, weights,

Ball winder: variable-speed electric drill with a dowel to tape the yarn onto, fishing reel

Yarn holders/Knitting bags: plastic bags with a corner cut off to feed the yarn through, knit your own, large plastic cup w/ domed lid (think blended coffee w/ whip), clean pot turned over so yarn can be fed through the hole on the bottom, multi-pocket tote or purse works as a great bag

Yarn: go to a thrift store and look for good quality knit sweaters with sewn (not serged) seams, unravel them and voila! you've got great yarn at a cheap price!

I found that I've begun to hunt around my house looking at things and wondering, "Hmmm, could I use this for knitting?" It's amazing how creative your mind can get once it begins thinking out of the box! The ideas above are just a starting point! If you have some great tips, share them below by adding a comment!

Lesson 3: Great Books and Resources to Add to Your Knitting Library will be up next Monday so tell your friends and think about what books you may want to add to the list!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Spend Your Money Where It Counts...on Yarn! Part 2

Ok, so in Lesson 1: You don't need every knitting gadget known to man, I discussed just one way to make the most of your knitting budget. Though there are tons of ways to cut down on unnecessary purchases, we'll go into those on a later post. Let's move on to

Lesson 2: Shop in person. Research online. Buy the best.

When it comes to buying yarn, high price doesn't always mean good quality nor does low price always mean poor quality. As you shop for your yarn, there are multiple resources available at your fingertips to make sure you are choosing the best quality yarn and getting it at the best price. Just a note before you begin reading: Whenever possible, always support your local yarn store first. Without supporting them financially, they would not be able to be there for us when we get stuck in a sticky knitting situation and provide priceless instruction. With that in mind, before you just go and buy, consider the following three steps:

Step 1: Shop in person. Go to your LYS (local yarn shop for our newbies out there!) and feel. Take yarn that appeals to your eye and check if it appeals to your skin, your fingers. Tug it, twist it, ask if you could knit a few stitches with it (it never hurts to ask). You're looking for a) strength of fibers - no splitting, breaking of strands, etc; b) physical appeal - does it make your hands sweat? does it move easily across your fingers? does it itch or scratch? does it make you sneeze?; and c) overall quality - does the color begin to stain your fingers? does it shed when it shouldn't? compare yarn of similar characteristics and their brands - do you notice a difference in quality.

Step 2: Research online. Compare prices and look at reviews of the yarns in question. You may find that what looks good in the wrapper doesn't hold up after one time through the washer or maybe it's a bear to knit with causing you to give up. We don't want wasted $$! After you've narrowed down your options. Take home the info and research the different yarns online. There are vast numbers of websites that offer great quality yarns at discount prices Here are some favorite sites among my friends at Ravelry: Elann, Webs, KnitPicks, LittleKnits, PoppyYarns (UK), FabulousYarn, the list could go on, I'm sure!

Speaking of Ravelry, it's an absolutely amazing resource that you have to check out. You can research project patterns, yarns, patterns knitted with certain yarns, ask questions on projects, connect with other knitters locally and not so local, it is an endless source of all things knitting. Set up a profile and won't be disappointed!

Step 3: Buy the best. I don't just mean best price. Whether the best is at your LYS or online is different for every project. Remember, support your LYS first, even if it means sometimes giving up a small discount of a few bucks. But let's look at a little hypothetical: You have two yarns and many people say Yarn A is good but Yarn B is great. Yarn A costs $3/ball and Yarn B is $5/ball. If you purchase solely based on price, you may only pay $18 for enough yarn to knit a sweater but if that yarn pills like there's no tomorrow you won't ever wear it. Now, that would be a waste. However, if you spent $30 and bought better quality yarn (Yarn B), and your sweater lasts you three years, that's money well spent! It's worth paying a few more bucks to get yarn that's good quality, well manufactured and will withstand whatever life throws at it.

Come back for Lesson 3: Knitting gadgets from the junk drawer

Friday, September 18, 2009

Free Baby Pattern! Boutique Baby Knit Headband

When my daughter was born, I had an arsenal of bows at the ready. Polka dots, flowers, velcro, alligator clip, barrett, big and fluffy, smooth and sleek teeny tiny. I was ready! And then came Taylor Joy: adorable, sweet, joyful, and bald. Hmmm...what does a mom do with all these bows bought and received with love and anticipation? I wanted to use them with headbands but all the headbands I had already were adorned with a bow. Plus, my girl needs a bow so that strangers don't say, "Ooh! So cute! How old is he?" It gets really old, really fast. So...

I created my own interchangeable headband. The Boutique Baby Headband is the perfect option because it allows me to customize my little girl's hair accessories to perfectly match her outfit. This serves double duty. Not only do I get to knit for my baby, but I save money as well because now I don't have to buy more and more and more, I just use and enjoy what I already have!

At just one year, my baby still hasn't grownenough hair to hold a bow steadfast. Nota problem! She received tons of adorable outfits at her birthday party but no bows to match? Not a problem! Best of all...The pattern is free! There are so many mom's out there whose little girls need a headband to adorn their sweet, little, bald heads that I couldn't imagine not giving this pattern for free! Pass it around, link to it on your site, give it to friends, post it at your LYS.

To download, simply enter your name and e-mail address below and you'll automatically receive
a link to the pdf file! Enjoy!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spend Your Money Where It Counts...on Yarn!

My husband and I are frugal. Not cheap...frugal. We live on a budget and we don't like to spend our money on things just to have more things. We like to spend our money on items that we believe will improve our life. We don't have cable because we find that when we watch tv we become zombies and forget to talk to each other. He doesn't golf because 4 hours on a Saturday afternoon could be spent doing something better - like enjoying the delights that are our two children. I don't leisure shop because really, I don't need another purse or another pair of shoes. Food. Diapers and wipes. Books. Coffee. Dinner together. Zoo trips with the kids. Family trips. Mountain biking (hubby). Yarn (me). Since the last item is by far the most important of all (besides the kids, of course), I'll focus on ways to make your money count when it comes to yarn. Some of these ideas are mine, some are great tips from others but one thing is for sure: they're all great ideas for saving money on what's not necessary so we can buy more of what we love...yarn!

Lesson #1: You don't need every knitting gadget known to man.

When I first began to knit, I wanted it all. Fancy stitch markers, beautiful stitch holders, needles in all shapes and sizes with funky bobbles on the ends, handles for all the purses I'm sure I'll knit someday, the latest knitting bags and pouches plus all the yarn a girl could handle (which I've come to discover is an amount that I'll never achieve because I could have all the yarn in the world and it still wouldn't be enough!). However, as I wound ball after ball after ball of yarn, the thing I began to covet was a swift and a ball winder. As of today, I have yet to buy one. Why? Because the $70 I would spend on a ball winder and swift could be much better spent on beautiful, luxurious yarn. When one knits, you need three things: yarn, needles and hands. That's it.

Granted, I still would love to have a swift and ball winder someday, but, until my knitting budget grows substantially larger or someone gives them to me for Christmas, I've found a great alternative in the mean time. Dumbells. I have these two pink 5 lb - dumbells lying around the house that I like to tell my husband I use to "exercise." I do use them, just not for their intended purpose. Instead, I place my untwisted skein of yarn around them and use them to keep my yarn from sliding everywhere as I ball it. Balling yarn has become less tiresome because I find I'm not fighting with my yarn, I'm not holding it with my toes until they go numb, and, if my husband walks in, I can quickly change gears and act as if I've been toning my triceps for the last 15 minutes!

Stay tuned for Lesson #2: Look in person, research online, buy where the price is right! Tips for getting the most bang (or yards!) for your buck!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Which stitch to pick?

In a recent design, I came upon a problem that to me is not so bad to have. I began knitting the Picture Day Perfect Knit Vest with a vision in my head of what the finished outcome would be. Perfectly reasonable and, quite honestly, hard to not do. However, as I finished the front and then was well into the back I found that I was having a hard time deciding which was the right side (aka "RS" or the public side). By the time I finished and seamed together the front and the back I found myself in quite a conundrum...which is best? As you can see below they both look great. If you were 18 months old and your mom dressed you in this incredibly adorable (if I do say so myself) vest, what side would you want all your friends to see? Which do you think is "Picture Day Perfect"?

Option A: Horizontal Stockinette with
Reverse Stockinette Vertical Stripes

or Option B: Horizontal Reverse Stockinette with Regular Stockinette Vertical Stripes

Leave a comment below and tell me your thoughts!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Will I guest blog? Heck yes!

I feel like I'm moving up in the world! As word has gotten out about Monday Morning Knits (many thanks to all of you!), there have been so many comments, compliments, requests and questions regarding my recently-embarked-upon journey as a knitwear designer. So much so that I've actually been asked to guest blog on! WOW! My goodness! Holy guacamole! Que excelente! No way, Jose! What other cheesy exclamations can I make? Don't touch 'cuz I'm hot! (ok, so I just made that one up and it was really bad, I admit).

I'm gearing up for my first guest blogging series on "Wanna's how!" So many people have been asking me how to knit and I'm wondering, "How will I have time to do it all?". Plus, there are times when schedules don't mesh, kids don't cooperate (that's a surprise), or maybe we don't even know each other yet but you still want to learn and I still want to teach. So, I'll be posting written commentary, video tutorials, as well as still pictures to assist you on your journey.

Whether you already know how to knit or are just beginning to learn the craft, check out the blog to learn new techniques, re-learn a skill, download videos to keep on file, or just explore what knitting is!

Monday, September 7, 2009

And the winner is...Goody Two Shoes Knit Baby Loafers!

I got so many responses, both via e-mail and via blog comments, to the "Name that pattern" contest to name the baby loafers that choosing the winner was very difficult! However, the one that seemed to fit the best was Goody Two Shoes! Congrats to the lucky get the pattern for free! I hope you all enjoy knitting these adorable booties as much as I've enjoyed designing and creating them.

Knitted with a worsted weight yarn and only needing two 50g. balls (one for the main color and one for the contrasting color), the Goody Two Shoes Knit Baby Loafers pattern is a must for your collection. Ranging in sizes from Toddler 1-2 to Toddler 5-6, they're sure to be the perfect fit! You can purchase them below or on Ravelry as well!

To purchase, click the "Buy Now" button below. After processing payment via Paypal, be sure to click the orange "Complete Purchase" button. A link to the pattern pdf will be emailed to you...
Buy Now

...or, feel free to use the E-junkie cart option for multiple pattern purchases. Simply click "Add To Cart" below and continue shopping on! When you're done shopping, click "View Cart" from any page to complete your order and get knitting!
Add to Cart View Cart

Friday, September 4, 2009

Knitting and they mix?

Have you ever tried to knit while camping? I attempted this feat over the weekend hoping that I'd come back from the mountains with loads done. Hmmm...not so fast, Melissa. First things first, camping is very dirty. It's been a year and I'd forgotten just how much dirt Mother Nature has at her disposal. My knitting over the course of the weekend went something like this: sit down, take out my project, get through half a row when all of a sudden I hear, "Mom, Taylor is eating dirt!" or "Mom, I got an owie!" or, at times, "Honey, when are we eating?" So, down onto my chair the needles would go and off I'd go to the rescue.

My only saving grace was nap time. It's still light enough to work and no little fingers caked with grime are trying to see what I'm doing. No one's calling my name, wanting food or needing Dr. Mom. For two hours in the afternoon, I was in heaven. Beautiful, tall pine trees creating the perfect amount of shade, cool weather, birds chirping, squirrels scurrying and my knitting...ooh, life is good!

Tell me, what unlikely places have you found yourself knitting? The most bizarre place receives their choice of either the Baby Loafer pattern or the Sweet Lil' Thing Toddler Dress pattern for free!

(Here I am competing in the annual Jiffy Pop-off!)