Saturday, August 27, 2011

Anniversary party results, in which the knitter says 'why not?'

So, before I announce winners I want to thank everyone for entering and for all you kind comments.  I have been really enjoying reading about your favorite kind of knitting.  It's been a long weird week and this has been a fun thing for me.  Thank you for indulging my curiosity!

Second, thank you for your kind wishes on the broken yarn winder.  My foot is fine, the broken winder mainly hurt my pride... which will no doubt recover in time hehe.

Before I announce winners, I want to let folks know that I will be mailing off packages after the hurricane passes through.  My local post office has flooded in the past, so I want to make sure all threat of that has passed before I trust your goodies to their hands.  Local weather is saying Monday should be clear, so if it doesn't flood I'll be making the local post office happy Monday morning.

Anyway, back to what I intended to write about.  So, this week as interesting entry followed interesting entry, I started to feel sad that I only had 4 prizes for so many great entries.  Without really thinking about it, I started gathering a little box of nifties.  You know, little things that make knitting easier.  Just in case, sort of thing.

And as I was gathering, I had the thought that I probably had more of the paintbox yarn hanging around because I had knit a bunch of faux fair-isle bags for teacher retirements last year.  So I hunted that out, and with it found some more mochi plus set aside for projects that had already been finished.  Huh, and in my stash there was a little big more of the saucy....  an idea began to take form.

My little pile grew and grew as I gleaned through my stash looking for things that might match.

So, looking at this pile of fibery loot I thought "HUH.  Why the heck not?"

See, in my first give-away ever I had a small amount of entries and was able to give everyone a prize.  I know I won't be able to do that every time, but for this first Anniversary.... Everybody Wins!

The original 4 projects have more elaborate goodies because I planned them out way in advance, but I hope that the little goodies in the rest of the prize packs will make everyone's knitting life easier and more fun.

With the help of shorty and a magic mug (my super big coffee cup), folks have been matched up as follows:

Beki, you were the first name to be pulled, and get the original saucy yarn with the dangerous curves market bag pattern.  This is a fast project to knit, and it contains enough yarn to make a large and a small bag.  Plus, it will survive playing with your kids (my bags are still kicking strong 2 years after I made them)!

Renee Anne who shares a blogversary with me (Happy 2nd Anniversary!!!) wins the original Ionic Compass faux fair isle hat kit.  I'm hoping to introduce you to a whole new knitting addiction :)

Girlieknitwit wins the Climbing Leaves Smoke Ring project pack with the alpaca and the kid mohair yarns.  I'm sending both neutrals & greens, both are soooo textural-ly pleasing!

Rusty M.  wins the Serious Scarf One plus the Elann yarn pack in glorious moody blue.  I hope you get a kick out of the pattern!

Congrats to our first 4, the winners of the original giveaway goodie packs :)

Next up, Little Man chose the following 4 winners:

Graywolfie, you win a Dangerous Curves market bag kit.  The most basic of lace is just including yarn overs, so you definitely have your toes in the water already!  I hope that you enjoy exercising your lace skills.  :)

Pinkundine, you win an Ionic Compass tam set with a skein of Kureyon in color 188 and a skein of paintbox in color 06.  One is summer greens against a darkening sky, one is spring garden colors in full bloom.  I hope you enjoy dipping your toes in colorwork waters!

Kitten With a Whiplash!  You get a copy of the Climbing Leaves pattern plus some sexy Ultra Alpaca to knit it up.  Mmmmm, I <3 alpaca and hope you enjoy working with it!

Danielle, you win a Serious Scarf One pack containing Fishermans Wool in neutrals to make it up.  I really hope you enjoy working with it, the men in my life are in a standoff as to who gets the last one I knit up!

Yay, congrats to you guys, I hope you enjoy your projects!!

And finally, our last group of winners.

GailGodwin, you win an Ionic Compass kit with paintbox in color 01 and paintbox 11 which are subtle greys and purples and all colors of blue respectively.  Two of my favorite colorways!

Knittingdancer, you win a Climbing Leaves cowl pack and some gorgeous autumn colored worsted yarns to make it up in.  This is a toe in the lace-waters, and I hope that the project gives you enough joy and confidence to enjoy other lace projects too!

Madeline, you also win a copy of the Climbing Leaves cowl pack.  You are getting a lovely coral kid-mohair and a lovely deep red to go with it to make the Smoke Ring version.  I hope you enjoy the project, and that it tempts you to even more lace :)

So thank you.  Thank you all.  This last year has been indescribable.  I am terrible about replying to comments (mainly because I'm still a bit shy), but I read them all and treasure every one.  When I'm having a terrible day, I know that my friends in knitting are there and it takes the sting out of whatever craziness is going on.  So thank you again.  For enriching my knitting, for enriching my life.

Happy Knitting!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Victory.... no wait.... Average! I'll take it!

So, being all gleeful in replacing the ball-winder of dubious distinction I was 100% set to declare Total Victory.

See, here's my victory shot:

With 12 oz teacup (2/3 full of tea) for size comparison.  That's 500 yds of Aran weight yarn in one ball.

I was happy dancing around, when I took a second look at my yarn receipt for the project I'm currently working on (as opposed to the Aran project which I'm only flirting with.  Cmon baby, I don't love the Aran the way I love the worsted already on the needles.   What kind of girl do you think I.... yeah, better not to finish that one.).

It said 4 skeins.  Uh-oh.  I looked at my notes and it said purchased 5.  Clearly one of them is wrong, and since Our Deb from the Woolery is awesome (and far better at math than myself) I have to conclude that I still can't count.

The inescapable reality is that knitting is my Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.
Me & King Arthur... 1, 2, 5.  Indeed.

So, one complete victory plus one utter defeat means average.  Especially since it means my accidental casting on with Aran weight yarn is totally not infidelity!  I mean, since I have to drive out to pick up another skein anyway, I shouldn't waste the knitting time until I can leave, right?  Right?

Happy Knitting!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

holy broken ball winder batman

I have made a discovery.  

The last thing any knitter wants to hear while in the middle of a 2500 meter aran-weight winding marathon is "crack."

The second to last thing said knitter wants to hear is the sound of the weighty ball-winder going "thock" into their unsuspecting and unprotected foot.

Me & my foot are going to buy a new ball-winder... so if you see a harried, limping, slightly fuzzy knitter mumbling under her breath.... just look the other way lest you be dragged back to her lair to wind the 'stinking yarn what did me in.'

best love,
crazed knitter

Monday, August 22, 2011

onna needles

Hello, hello, hello!
I thought today I'd share the direction that knitting has gone the last few weeks.  Cables + holes= texture galore!

I actually have 2 of these on the needles but wanted to show the color of this one.  Sadly, my camera is showing the color it wants to show instead of the accurate color.  This is Berroco's Ultra Alpaca in color 6285, and is actually almost teal in person in certain light.  Or green in others, or even a gorgeous dark blue in others.  This particular knit is not for the blog, but it's farther along than the one that IS for the blog so I thought I'd pop it out there.

I'm thinking about stuff for winter.  This winter while my arm was immobile, I wrote up a number of long stoles/shawls for really cold weather.  I craved texture, and I wrote it wishing I could knit it.  August is not a great time to be knitting heavy stuff, but the texture in the knit and the gorgeous feel of the alpaca/wool combination are something I know I'll be wanting to wear very soon.

I'm really interested in the answers to the Anniversary post!  It's interesting to see how many different styles people enjoy, and to see that (although there are some favorites) it still comes down to a love of knitting in any form.  The joy of creation, in a nutshell.

I'm looking forward to the 27th, and am also looking forward to a few more sneaky-peeks over the next week until the first 2 patterns of this 2nd year will be finished, blocked, and revealed.

Happy knitting all!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

First off, I want to thank all of you for your kind words and support.  Once again, I am stunned at the open hearts and minds of the knitting community.  Thank you, with all my heart.

Now, last year on this date I started this blog.  I didn't know what it would become or the things that would happen in the last year.  I didn't know how many wonderful people I would meet through the blog, or how much life would change.

So welcome to our paper anniversary!

In celebration of every step of the way so far, I'm giving away some full projects.  I've got patterns, I've got yarns, and I've got some secret goodies to go with them!

Without further ado, here are the details.
First up is a weekend project.  Something you can finish in a weekend, and that will be useful.  I use this myself all the time, and I knit them up for friends as well.

Dangerous Curves Market Bag!
This is a good project for a beginning knitters.  It uses slipped stitches, knitting back and forth, picking up stitches, knitting in the round, and the most basic of lace.  It's designed to allow you to carry back your goodies without breaking your long breads and it is washable to boot.

The yarn to make this is in blue rather than red, and I'm including enough to make a 2nd smaller bag.  Here are the skeins in question:
blue cottons, cable construction
Our small project is something a little different.  Colorwork.  Shown below as a tam

And here on my model (bribed with hot chocolate) shown as the slouchy version.

This is a small project that uses faux-fair isle techniques.  The yarn for the giveaway includes enough to knit both hats.

Next up, our medium project.  This is a smoke ring, a loose lace cowl knit using 2 strands of lace-weight yarn to make up a heavier weight.  First, my increasingly antsy model wearing it:
And now the yarns
This project actually has 3 different sizes/patterns in it and the winner has a choice of greens or the neutrals shown on little man above.

And finally, the large project.  I'm going to send the winner of this project a fully written out version of the serious scarf pattern.  A copy of this pattern will be offered for free on the original page within the next week, but in .pdf format instead of just the recipe instructions.  I'm hoping to encourage more masculine lace!

And to create your scarf (or lap blanket, etc), I have 10 skeins of Elann's peruvian highland bulky
In a gorgeous almost-navy color.

I know my modeled shots of the other items are not fabulous, but I will be putting up better ones soon.  I have a date with a friend who has agreed to model.  I won't have to chase her around the house begging, "please just let me take the picture."  I know, very novel!

Giveaway details!  To enter, simply leave a comment telling me what your favorite kind of knitting is.  Is it fair-isle?  Is it lace?  Is it cables?  Inquiring minds want to know.  Please include some contact information so I can contact you to get you your goodies.  This will be open until August 26 at 11PM Eastern.  Winners will be announced on the 27th.

Thank all of you for your support and encouragement!  You've made this last year a delight, and I hope to harass you with posts for many many years to come.

Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I have a dream.

So, I don't know if anyone realizes this but I'm actually filled with a lot of doubt and indecision.  I suppose it's not uncommon.

Where is today's post coming from?

I know that folks know why I originally started this blog.  I wanted to use the talent I have to make my in-laws lives better, while taking care of them.  (And let me assure you, I'm still not positive that talent is the right word here.)  We all know how that turned out, and this post isn't to dwell on it.

Unsurprisingly, the folks who visit here on a semi-regular basis (and really, I only post on a semi-regular basis, so I'm just thrilled that people enjoy my insanity enough to keep visiting) are knitters.  I know, shocking!  Knitters would rather make their own stuff than buy something someone else knit... after all, knitters are enterprising and intelligent people who can also do stuff with string.  *wink*  Again, shock and awe!

So, the original purpose of this is not being terribly well served.  And this is okay, I'm enjoying the ride and the excuse to knit my brains (what little still survive) out!

But, there are still things I'd like to do around the house to make it nicer.  Fencing the yard so shorty has a safe place to play would be a start.  We live on a numbered road that the great State of NH cares for, so we get a lot of faster-than-it-should-be traffic as you can well imagine.

Add to that, I want so very much to be in a position to give space to my folks when they're ready for it.  And overtime or chances for extra work at work are far and few between in my current position.  Not that I don't have to work overtime to get the job done, but it's not approved overtime... just what is necessary.  So, yeah.

This is completely inappropriate, but I keep flashing on the "I had a dream" section of Rose's Turn (done really well by this actor in Glee):

So, completely inappropriate given that I hate being in the lime-light and have horrible foot-in-mouth when in person.  (So bad, it should be illegal!)  In fact, those 2 things may be an effect + cause kind of thing.  And also completely inappropriate given that I am not attempting to shove my family into the lime-light either.  Also?  Not good to watch while working, because it always makes me cry.  Ah well.

But what all this rambling boils down to is, while I had my broken arm I spent a lot of time designing.  I even have a shawl design that I'm afraid to cast on for, although that's another post in the making (Orenburg meets Japanese Stitch-Dictionary... what was I thinking??).  I didn't just design lace.  I did a lot of lace thinking, but I also did some sweater thinking, some colorwork thinking, some small-but-useful-project thinking...  and I've been writing them up.

I have a small collection of the first year of 200 shawls.  I have a handful of discrete 'other' patterns that just kind of happen when you think about what to wear the shawl over.  Or what kinds of things would be fast and loved by recipients.

But is this something people would even be interested in?  I'm wordy.  Each of the patterns I've written has a techniques section, and a little bit about the how and why the idea came about.  They're not short, either.  Although I've come up with a 'clever idea' to get around that.

But am I being presumptuous?  I'm a kook who knits on her front porch in the middle of summer, and who wants everyone to love knitting as much as she does.  I'm not a great knitter.  I'm not a wise knitter.  I'm not a visionary, or a pioneer... I'm just me.  There are so many great designers, and great Knitters out there.  Is there room for a Just Me?

It's funny, but the ideas don't stop.  I was worried that I'd run out of ideas (although my problem seems to be that I need to knit them about 7 times apiece before I'm satisfied with them).  Instead I find that the more I come up with, the deeper the well goes.  Simple things, complex things, crazy things that make me faint-hearted to think about knitting.  Some days, I'm writing seeds of ideas down on napkins in the middle of writing emails just trying to keep ahead of them.

But (said to the tune of the video above) all this work, and would people like it?  All that time, and would people buy it?  Am I nuts, or should I go for it?

Blah blah blah...

So, if you've read this far through my fears and my indecision, I thank you.  I know today is a bit of a heavy post and I apologize.  I'm a weird mixture of excited and maudlin today.  But on the other hand, I do have some sneaky-peek shots to share.

That last one is for you texture lovers out there.  You know who you are ;)

I think I'm going to put up a poll.  Is anyone interested in the stuff I'm writing?  Would you buy it?  Am I smokin' crack?  Hahaha.  Anyway, if folks who visit would take the time to vote in the poll I'd be really grateful.

Happy knitting, and may you find your dreams.

Monday, August 8, 2011

BABIES are taking over the world

An old friend just reached out from out of the blue!
And they have a BABY!

You know what this means, right??

Baby knits!


I finally got the camera battery situation sorted out just in time to be steamrolled by work.  Joy.

I've got some pictures, some things blocking so I can take pictures, and some plans for more pictures.

Did I mention pictures?  I might have forgotten it in all the BABY excitement.

Now, if only I was an LDAP expert today would go smoothly.  Alas, my field of work lays elsewhere.  Onward, to programmatic battle.

Plus, I have knits, pictures, and pictures of knits to savor soon!

PS, did I mention recently that I <3 you guys? 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

bad battery h-e-double hockey sticks

Ok, so here I am again.  I have not been posting because I don't want to put up *another* pictureless post when I've been doing photo-worthy stuff.  Even if it's not knitting, it's been photo-worthy stuff.  So, I am attempting to take pictures and I get low battery warning.

Three days later, the battery still hasn't finished charging?  In fact hasn't gotten more charge at all? 

Time for a new battery.  Tonight?  Tomorrow night?  Soon, my precious, soon...

In this next 15 short days, I'm feverishly preparing for our one year celebration.  This has been a wild ride so far, and I want to do something special to mark it.  I'm not a great blogger or a great mind, but this has been very rewarding.  Not even counting just being able to put things out there knowing that "this is what I did" and this is how I was feeling, I got to meet a bunch of really fantastic people in the past year directly because of this blog.  I never thought it would happen, and it's totally worth celebrating.

I'd love to give you sneaky-peeks on the stuff that is debuting on the 17th, and am frustrated that my technology turns itself into a brick around me.  On the other hand... if I can't be online or playing with the camera... I do have a lot of knitting time left over.

Speaking of which;  in the middle of this unholy heat we lost power for a few hours.  The guy from the electric company who was running around trying to figure out how far down the line the outage went actually stopped to stare at me for a few minutes while I knit on the front porch.  I heard him telling the guys on the radio "I think the locals are starting to get heat stroke, there's some weird stuff going on" as he pulled away.  I guess my laughter (maniacal, with tears streaming down my face) didn't help.  But seriously dude, it's linen.  I'm not as crazy as you think.... and what do you think the folks down the street were doing that he got really weird-ed out by knitting?  The world may never know.