Sunday, December 24, 2006

Short Christmas Message

I know most of you are away from a computer right now and more invested in family and friends, which you should. However I would like to personally wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (and if you celebrate something else around this time, I hope that you have a Happy Holiday as well). Right now I'm in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, a city 1 hour north of Toronto. I'm with my boyfriend's family and they are so cool. I love coming by to see them. Today is Christmas Eve Day (the day before Christmas Eve) so today we're just going to see some friends, wrap some presents, and bake some cookies.

And of course knit a bit. Today we'll be working on this hat that my boyfriend finished back in September. He lost hope in it after trying it on because it was too small. I told him it was very easy to fix and that I will help him. Well that was 3 months ago. He hasn't knit anything since (he doesn't like to knit more than one thing at a time). So now that my boyfriend, who use to be an enthusiastic knitter is feeling down on his skill, I must now rescue him to ensure that he is as fanatical about knitting (if not more) than me. I'm doing this for our future, people!

Anyway, from Cananda, Season's Greetings, Happy New Year, Feliz Navidad (Espanol), Feliz Natal (Portugues), Joyeaux Noel (Francais), and Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holiday Tips

There are only 5 days left before Christmas. Are you ready? I know many of you are knitting Christmas presents this year (or Chanukah or Kwanzaa or whatever holiday you celebrate this year) and maybe the pressure is getting to you. Here are my knitting holiday tips.

1) Instead of giving everyone you know a handknit item, reserve them for special individuals or for someone you know would appreciate it. Nothing is more of an ego booster to a knitter than a receipient of their knitted goodness actually appreciating and then wearing the garment they've knitted.

2) Keep items small. Think hats, mittens, toys, baby booties. If you must knit something big, knit it for someone close to you like your mother or husband and make sure you have plenty of time to do it (yeah this would have been more useful 6 months ago).

3) Don't cry and complain about knitting for others. You placed it on yourself to knit 10 scarves with lacey details for all of your family.

4) If you're one to ruin a holiday because you're more concerned about getting everything done in time for the big day, you're missing the point of this holiday season. This is the time to relax and enjoy family and friends. If you find yourself overwhelmed, step back from the knitting, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and chill out with some loved ones.

5) Some great last minute gifts (and I mean the day before) are baby items or really small ornaments to hang on a tree. These wrist warmers are also great and can be made in many colors to fit everyone's tastes.

6) If you are half way done through a project and you know you won't finish it in time for Christmas, go out to the store and buy something else for that person. They don't have to know that you are knitting a sweater (or rather that you failed to get it to them in time for Christmas). By gifting them something else, you'll have more time to finish that sweater/hat/mitten/whatever and can get it to them next Christmas or for their birthday.

7) Instead of knitting for your family and friends, why not give your knitted goodness to people that actually need it. The Salvation Army, Good Will, or any other local charities in your area are a good place to start. International relief organizations would except your gifts as well.

I hope that these tips helped you guys put things more into perspective. Remember that there is more to Christmas than knitting. There's house cleaning and cooking too. So when Christmas day comes, if you have everyone's present all wrapped under the tree ready to go, great. But if you didn't finish a sweater for your Aunt Mary or didn't have enough time to complete a hat for your mother, don't stress over it. Have an alcoholic beverage, relax with your family, and act like a kid again.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cookies and Needles

So I know it is Tuesday but I wanted to tell you guys about my weekend. I baked some cookies:

The recipe is found here and they are called Jam Thumbprint Cookies and they are delicious. Though the recipe calls for raspberry and apricot jam, I also used some blackberry jam. And if you don't like any of those, you can substitute with your favorite jam like orange marmalade or strawberry. The recipe is super easy but the result is very hollywood (at least in my opinion). I can't stop eating them.

I also managed to finish the second baby sweater for my co-worker.

This and the smaller version shall both be delivered this Thursday.

I have finally started a sock for my mother.

I'm using Elisabeth Lavold Silky Wool in a deep eggplant. I like the yarn but I'm not sure if the stitch pattern I've chosen would stand out. I know I don't want to do a plain stockinette stitch mainly because I'm craving for something more complicated and fun. I'm thinking cables but not a common stitch (I've done enough of the divide some stitches in half and switch them on the needle. Very nice but very boring). Any suggestions?

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Finally Over!!!

So Wednesday I had my last final for the semester. I didn't get my report card but I got enough feedback from my teachers to know that I past all of my classes this semester. One wasn't so hot of a grade ("C") but it was a general education requirement and a "C" is the minimum you need to past the class. I could care less right now because everything is done and I could now focus on the Christmas knitting.

But before we enter that realm of craziness, I present to you the semester socks:

Made out of Trekking XL, I used Clover Bamboo size 1 US needles. I call them "Semester socks" because they took me this whole semester to make them. I really only knitted these socks in 2 classes and sometimes I brought it to work with me but more often than not, I was in class with these socks. Nothing special. Simple stockinette with a simple pattern (I got help from this book). About the colors not matching, I could care less about that too. When it comes to self striping in socks, it doesn't matter to me that they don't match. I'm more happy that I have a pair of hand knitted socks.

Sock Woes

So I love handknit socks. I've never knitted them with anything but wool so I don't know how other fibers would feel on my feet. Though in the winter time wool socks are superior to cotton, I find that if you wear wool socks in a work environment where you are walking and moving about a lot, your feet start to sweat and I don't like how the socks feel on my feet anymore. Does this ever happen to you guys?

So I've decided that it doesn't make sense to wear wool socks in doors. They are best suited for frolics in the snow or when you're going to be at home relaxing. My socks are special to me and I like to wear them as long as I can, you know.

Stripes Again

Do you think that changing the stripe sequence on the sleeves of this sweater is a good idea? Here's a pic:

This is the second sweater I'm making for my co-worker. I have another week to finish this but I think I'll be done with it by Saturday (If I stay faithful to it that is). The reason why I changed the stripe sequence is because I had to weave in so many ends for the body and I didn't feel that all those weaved in ends would look good in a small sleeve for a small toddler sweater. In other words, I got lazy.

Christmas Knitting

I know a lot of you guys are giving handknit gifts this year. I love knitting for my family. It gives me an opportunity to be creative with my gift giving. Plus it keeps me away from crazy holiday shoppers in the mall. I love that I don't have to go to a busy, crowded mall for gifts. I just head over to my quiet, close to home LYS, shop for yarn at my leisure, and actually have a conversation with other shoppers about things that I care about, like yarn and knitting. Holiday knitting can be stressful but I think because the whole process of knitting, from buying the yarn, picking a project to match the recipient, to knitting and finishing the item is relaxing.

Unfortunately, I won't be home for Christmas. I'm going to my boyfriend's parents in Canada to celebrate. I'm no wear near done with the knitting (3 more baby sweaters, and something for my parents) and Christmas is only a week and some days away. Seeing that I'm going home in January 2007, I figured I could just give my presents to my family then. That way I'll have more time to knit them, less stress this holiday, and as a bonus, I'll be able to see their reactions to the gifts. I'm sure they'll appreciate them (at least in front of my face!).

So that's all for now. As always, happy knitting!

Monday, December 11, 2006


Thanks for all the comments about my sweater. I love making sweaters. No matter how long they take me (usually 2 months), I still love the fact that I have a garment that I could wear and not just put around my neck or on my head. What pushes me to finish a large project like a sweater is the day that I could actually wear the sweater.

No that is not a picture of me but that is how I will look for the next few days. This week is finals week and so if you don't hear from me in a couple days, you know why. You can find me under a sea of books, papers, pens, and of course my laptop.

Thankfully, this will all be over this Thursday.

Friday, December 08, 2006

CPH: Done

Here are some pictures of my finished CPH:




I'm very proud of this little number. It is the first cardigan I knitted for myself and the second sweater of the year (the first was a purple disaster back in April). The sweater is incredibly warm. I sewed on the buttons on Wednesday night and have been wearing it ever since. I chose yellow buttons because they were so cheerful and and matched the color of the sweater very well. After 2 months I finally have a cardigan that I can see myself wearing everyday this winter (or at least till I make another sweater in another 2 months).

Now I'm off to the Christmas knitting. I still haven't started my mother's socks nor the sweaters for my twin nephews. If I have time, I might even through in another sweater for my 6 month niece (I made a sweater for her in June but hadn't gifted it yet and I believe it's too small for her now) and possibly some Fetchings to go with my little sister's pink wavy scarf.

News Flash

Just to let you all know, the new Winter 2006 edition of Knitty is out. I knew that it was bound to come out soon. Ever since December started I've been checking out the site several times a day. I haven't browsed the the site yet but I definetely will and probably tell you my favs and not so favorites in a later post.

As always, happy knitting, especially to those of you in very cold, snowy areas of the worlds.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

No Clever Title

So I wanted to post yesterday but I forgot to take a picture of my wet CPH. Now it is in my apartment blocking (my boyfriend didn't like the fact that my wet sweater was on his dry floor). I don't have a picture of it but I did finish the actually knitting of my CPH. Now all there is to do is wait till it dries, sew on the buttons, and try it on. Can't wait!


Sunday was my best friend's birthday and she told me some exciting things about her career path. She has an associates in accounting and is working on a Bachelors. I'm so proud of her but when it came to my job report, it was dull. I told myself that I was going to continue school after my May 2007 graduation to get an MBA (that way I can defer my loan payments). I was thinking I could just stay in dull ass Michigan and keep working in the warehouse that I only make $8.50 in (great for a poor college student, not for a woman with a yarn addiction and a college degree). She has finally convinced me to stop downing myself and my abilities so I'm looking into getting a higher paying job in six months that requires me to use my skills like speaking Spanish.

Lately I haven't been practicing Spanish and they say if you don't use it, you'll loose it. My experiences traveling were valuable enough but they would more profitable to me if I could get paid to do what I love. So wish me luck on the job front. I think I'm going to start applying now and see what happens.


Now back to the knitting. When I blocked my CPH on Sunday, I realized how similiar wool is to my hair. Six month ago when I had the 'fro, I would sometimes try and go for a more put together look by slicking my hair back into a ponytail. Now for a neat ponytail, I had to go through a process in which I would wash my hair the night before, then put some hair product (usually coconut oil or gel) to keep my hair in place and then tie a cheap $1 satin scarf around head very tightly so that as I slept at night, my hair wouldn't look sloppy the next day. The next morning I would wake up to smooth shiny hair and feel proud that I actually took the time to fix my hair up that day.

Now how is wool like what I just described? Well, whenever you block a sweater, you have to make sure that it dries in the way you want it to and the only way to do it is by moving it around to the measurements you want it to be (length, bust, etc.). Once you have the shape you desire for the garment, you just leave it there to dry and try not to move it until it is dry. In other words, my hair is the sweater, when wet it is blocking, with some gel or coconut oil and a head scarf, I set my hair just like with a sweater you squish small or stretch it out for a certain look and keep it flat on the floor for stability in its drying season.

Just a thought I wanted to share with you guys.

Extra Tidbit

I almost forgot. Last post alot of you guys were interested in the yarn that I used for my "hooker socks" aka very tall socks. I bought it in August at Stitches Midwest in Chicago from the WEBS booth. The yarn is called "Primo" from Filatura di Crosa and I got a good deal on them (about $2.50 a ball). I'm also using some Debbie Bliss in the same weight and some left over black yarn from Argentina. Unlike many yarns that have muted, subdued colors, these Primo colors are vibrant and rich in pure color. The yarn is squish and soft and maybe they're at WEBS on sale. If you're interested in making something out of them, send them your money and get some lovely yarn. They yarn is basic but it's still cool to me. They are also machine washable so they can withstand pretty much anything.

That's it for now. It will be snowing all week in Michigan and the temperature will not get higher than 25 degrees. Man, I got finish my socks!