Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dog Days of Summer Questionnaire

1. Do you knit, or crochet, or do both? How long have you been knitting\crocheting? Both. I used to crochet more, but now knitting is my thing. My grandma taught me both when I was about 5 or 6, so I guess that means about 45 years!!

2. Have you knit dishcloths or dishtowels before? Dishcloths, but not very many.

3. What are your favorite cotton yarns? Is there a cotton or linen you’ve been dying to try but have not? Right now I'm using a skein of Plymouth Fantasy Naturale which is working up beautifully. Some I've really been admiring are RYC Cotton Jeans, 2nd Time Cotton and Ty Dy by Knit One Crochet Two, and Filatura di Crosa Porto Cervo Long Print.

4. Are there any cotton yarns you don’t enjoy knitting with? None that I've found.

5. What type of needle do you prefer using? (Metal/Wood/Plastic) I like the warmth of wood needles, but I'm also wanting to try some addi turbos.

6. What other projects do you enjoy knitting or crocheting? I LOVE making felted bags.

7. Do you have other hobbies or enjoy other kinds of crafting? I've done a lot of beading, and have the supplies to begin working with Precious Metal Clay. I just love making things with my hands.

8. What kind of treats do you like? Chocolate? Candies? Nuts? I like both milk and white chocolate. Nuts are great too. Am not a big fan of hard or sour candy.

9, What colors are your kitchen and bath decorated in, if any? My kitchen is muted shades of blue-greens with soft accents of taupe and other pale shades. One bathroom is jade green and taupe, and another is light--lots of white, some pale rosey shades and soft blue-gray and taupe.

10. What are your favorite colors and what colors do you dislike? I like rich colors like teal, berry shades, and dark greens and blues. I also like muted tones and neutrals. I don't care for pastel, neon, and bright primary colors.

11. Do you drink coffee? Tea? Other beverages? Oh yes, I really enjoy my coffee!! I drink tea only occasionally (jced more often) and Coke Classic.

12. Do you have any kids (human or pet variety!)? We have three sons, ages 25, 20, and 20. The "babies" are Flex and Jayda, our two Boxers, age 6. (See pic at the top of my blog!!) :o)

13. Do you have any allergies? No. (Though I'm beginning to wonder if I may be allergic to cooking and housework.)

14. Please share 3 tidbits about yourself that you think your pal and other swappers might find odd or interesting.

A. We became foster parents in order to take in one of my students. He came to us when he was 15, and after he turned 18 he wanted us to adopt him, so we did. He is exactly two weeks younger than our other 20 year old.

B. Music is very important in my life. I not only enjoy listening to it, but I also play the piano for the contemporary worship team at our church.

C. I never really liked to knit--I always preferrred crocheting. About 2-1/2 years ago I brushed up on my knitting skills so I could make one of those skinny scarves that were so popular. Then I heard about felting and wanted to try that as well. That was it-----I was hooked! Now I'm passionate about knitting, and am always anxious to try and learn new techniques! Wherever I go, my knitting bag goes, too!! :o)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My little piece of knitting paradise ...

This is it. This is the view I enjoy as I sit on my patio and knit. I took this picture on a perfect day while I sat in one chair with my feet up on another, knitting! Oh, the joy. The bliss. However, mother nature has been cranky this year, and most of my summer knitting has taken place in the house, which is just plain wrong. Tomorrow, the weatherman promises, will be lovely, and I'm holding him to it. I'm spending the early afternoon with my mom, and after that, it's outdoor knitting!

I was visiting Cass' blog earlier, and couldn't help but smile at the pictures of her dog invading her knitting. I, too, have a dog who is showing signs of wanting to take up the craft. She's taken on three projects in the past three weeks: a skein of Noro Kureon, a ball of some funky eyelash stuff (I won't miss that one!), and a ball of Classic Elite Paintbox! Yup, that's my Jayda. The sweet-faced, innocent looking one on the left. What to do?? How can I chastise her for a fascination with yarn?

Well, the bag for my ITE IV partner is finished. And, if I do say so myself, it turned out great. My friends who have seen it strongly approve, and marvel at my strength of character in being able to send it away. And to a total stranger, no less! Truth is, I can hardly wait. This is my first bag exchange, and I've had so much fun. Now I've got a few other "goodies" to finish up and put together, and then it's off to the Post Office for me!

The needle felting was SO fun, and I love the way it turned out. I will most definately be doing more of that.

I'm warming up for the Dog Days of Summer Dishcloth Exchange. I made this one out of Classic Elite Provence. I suppose it could be considered a little spendy for dishcloths ($12.95 a hank) , but I found some on a good sale, and figured that was reason enough to give it a try. It feels nice, and blocked up quickly. The diamond design was fun to do!!
Both the mailman and the UPS guy were good to me today. First, Mr. Mailman brought a small package from Yarn Country containing three balls of beautiful variegated yarn and a pair of teal purse handles for a Noni bag I'm finishing, AND an ebay purchase of 5 hanks of hand dyed 100% cotton yarn. It is absolute eye candy. And though I don't know how hand dyed cotton will hold up for dishcloths, I most certainly plan to give it a try. Then, as if that weren't enough Mr. UPS stopped by with a box of purse handles that a friend and I ordered. I wonder . . . . . . will there be a package from WEBS tomorrow??????

Saturday, June 23, 2007

More Stitch Markers, and the Knitting Moves Along!!

I have received two more sets of stitch markers, and they are great! The elegant black ones and the cute little lambie notebook are from Elspeth, and the pretty silver and mulit -colored ones are from Kathy. Aren't they fun? I really enjoyed being a part of this exchange--it was my first one, and I'm anxious to be involved in others. A great big THANK YOU to Sulah, Elspeth, and Kathy for sending me such great markers. I will enjoy using them!

What a busy week this has been! I'm looking forward to Monday, hoping things will slow down a bit. (Ya, right!) I have made some progress in the knitting area, though, and that's a good thing. The bag for my ITE IV partner is knit and felted, and it turned out very nice. Now it's on to the needle felting, which will be a new endeavor for me. What if I do a lousy job? What if I ruin my bag? Then I guess it would be back to square one, and my needles would really be burning the midnight oil!! :o)

Speaking of burning the midnight oil, I have been just awful! Every day I vow that "tonight I'm going to bed at a reasonable hour" and then I stay up even later than I did the night before. Since I refuse to sleep late in the morning, it makes for some very groggy moments during the day, and LOTS OF COFFEE!!!!! It's just so fun to sit up late knitting or spending time on the computer!

I made the little black and white number with the outrageously large purple flower for my friend, Dee. It actually looks cuter in person than on the picture, but there is no doubt that the flower is BIG!! I offered to make a smaller one, but no, she was determined to have the biggie! She thinks it's just great, and believe me, people DO notice her bag!!

It's hot and muggy here today, and by 10:30 am it was already 80 degrees. All I have to do is open the door to let the dogs out and I can feel my hair start to curl from the humidity. I would love to spend the day knitting (or needle felting?!?) in my nice cool house, but I will instead spend the entire afternoon, and maybe part of the evening, in a hot, sticky school with lots of overheated adults and "frolicking" children. The school where I teach is having it's 25th anniversary celebration today, and it will be fun, but also very warm. DH isn't going with me, as he's out of town at the 100th year reunion for his school. I am ever so glad I'm not with him, as they are having their doings in someones quanset. For those of you who know nothing about rural life (that would include me!), a quanset is a LARGE metal storage facility where farmers keep all their machinery and stuff. I think. All of a sudden spending the day in a school (where I CAN escape to my air conditioned classroom) is sounding very inviting! :o)
As of late last night, or should I say early this morning, I have goodies coming from both WEBS and Yarn Country. This being on the computer half the night can get a person into trouble! Oh, but I can hardly wait to see the lovelies I ordered. Oooooooh!!! I'll have to post pictures when they arrive. I also ordered a pattern to try a simple lace shawl, which will be another first for me. AND...... I also have illusions of being able to knit a mobius! Think I'll start with the little basket, and yes, I did order the yarn for that, too!

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Surprise in the Mail!!

Well, I got my first ever package from an exchange, and it was fun! I grabbed my mail just as I was heading to the Post Office to mail my stitch markers, and when I found the package I had to sit right there in my car and open it. Thank you Sulah, they are just beautiful! I will truly enjoy using them. Also included with the markers were a cute note pad and a nifty magnetic pen!
I haven't quite figured out why it's so fun to make things for and receive things from people I don't even know, but it is. I want so much to make things that my exchange partners will like and enjoy. My stitch markers are on their way to Leigh, Marsha and Brenda, so now it's full steam ahead on the tote for my ITE IV spoilee. It's been felted and dried (no thanks to our humid, rainy weather!) so now it's ready to be needle felted. I'm anxious to get started, as this will be my first attempt at needle felting. How hard can it be . . . right?!? :o)
I've read the pros and cons about letting felted items go through the spin cycle in the washer and had always just let them take forever to dry, setting the items on old newspaper to help "wick" the water out. Well, the last three times I've felted I decided to give the spin cycle a whirl, and it worked great. First I remove the felted items and let the water spin out. Then I carefully place the items along the outside edge of the machine, and let them spin. However, I let them spin only for seconds, not minutes. Once the machine has built up speed and I've heard that little rush of water being pumped out, I stop it. The items are well "wrung out", but they haven't spun long enough for any creases to have been made. My bags are dry in two days when I do it this way.
Speaking of. . . I have a bag to felt and I should get it done tonight. I wanted to use it as my summer purse, so if I plan on doing that, I better get on with it!

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Great Day for Felting ~~

This past Sunday was "girls night out" for my three wacky, wonderful friends and me! We were celebrating Cathy's birthday, and this is the bag I gave her. The color combination is a bit out there, but they are colors she loves, and it was her I wanted to please :o) It's a good sized tote bag that is large enough for pattern books, etc. I scaled down the pattern for the orange flower quite a bit, and it was still huge! It made me think of a sea anemone. I also made her a pair of earrings out of green garnet and Hill Tribes Silver beads. The garnets had so much depth ~~ you could look into them and see "stuff" ~~ just beautiful. Anyway, she seemed to really like both of the items, so that made me happy.

I spent quite a bit of time standing in front of the washing machine today as I felted 4 bags. They all turned out fine, and are stretched, stuffed, and drying on my kitchen counter. One is a tote similar to the one I gave Cathy, only in a black, gray, cream color combo. I'd already felted it once, but went round two because I wanted it a little smaller. Also did a purse in the same black, etc. colors for another friend of mine, as well as the bag for my partner in the ITE IV swap. Finally, I did a larger work-horse type bag for myself, but right now it looks a bit drab. I think I see some embellishments in the future for that bag!!! Hopefully I'll have some pictures of these bags to post in a few days.

Today was the last day to mail out the stitch markers in that exchange, so I got mine packed up and sent off. I took two pictures so I could post one, but neither turned out--both were blurry and the color was way off--so, no pictures.

I went with a friend to JoAnn Fabrics today, and we spent all our time there oogling over a group of the most beautiful silky brocades. They were so gorgeous that I actually thought it might be FUN to make a lining for a bag. Is that possible??? I have a feeling I'll be going back for at least a couple of them to give it a try. I have got one Noni bag felted and ready for the lining and handles. I thought I'd go all out and do the whole nine yards that she suggests on her website: lining, purchased handles, AND a plastic canvas liner to give it support.

Picked up a crochet hook tonight for the first time in a while. I had some pretty variagated Berroco Cotton Twist that I thought would make up well into the rectangular bobble accessory bag that is shown on page 54 in the One Skein book by Leigh Radford. I'm about half done with the first side, and it's looking teriffic. It has such a nice feel to it. I'll probably stay up too late working on it before I finally head for bed . . . .

Thursday, June 7, 2007

One bag after the Other

The B-4 Bag is finished and it turned out so cute. I felted it a long time so it wouldn't be too flimsy, and then added a firm bottom. It ended up at about 9" long x 3" deep x 7" tall. Adorable, but not quite big enough for me. A friend saw (and LOVED) it, so she gave it to a special girl who was graduating from high school. At some point I will make myself another bag by this pattern, because it was so fun. Of course, my friend wants one for herself, too! Isn't that the way it goes?
Yesterday I felted a bag to give a friend for her birthday on Sunday. Today I'm going to knit a couple of Noni flowers to attach to it. Once it's done, I'll have to take pics.
I'm also feverishly working on the bag for my partner in the International Tote Exchange IV. I've finished the body of the bag, and am working on the pockets. Also decided to add one more color to the handles, so am waiting for that to arrive in the mail. Then, I plan to do some needle felting on the bag. I've not done that before, and am excited about learning how. I've gotten the supplies I need, and some gorgeous yarn that I've seen needle felted, and it looks great! Once the bag is felted I'm going to plan a design to fit the dimensions of the bag. I think I can do better that way than just putting the yarn on the bag helter-skelter as I go. If it turns out the way I envision, it should be pretty cool.
Being a part of the exchange is so fun. I just love checking out the blog and seeing the comments and pictures from the different participants. Who'd have thought that making a special gift for a total stranger could be so much fun?? But it is!! Once my bag is done, then I'm going to make some other goodies for her to put inside the bag. I have all kinds of ideas rolling around inside my head: dishcloth, small accessory bag, needle cozies, beaded stitch markers, beaded bookmark.... the list goes on and on.............