Thursday, November 29, 2007
If you are a knitter and have been following any knitting sites out there you have probably heard of ravelry.com (if you are a member check me out my user name is bananaknits)
I heard about it from my friend Ellene Warren user name on ravelry is yarnartist. I tried to check it out but it said that it was still in beta and you have to have an account to log in and when you try to register they tell you that you will be on a waiting list. A friend of mine signed up a few days ago and he is number 63,640 and there are 8,688 people ahead of him and 530 people behind him according to their very clever up to date "waiting list checker".
So that means that people are flocking to raverly.com by the hundreds each day to sign up. This is growing by leaps and bounds. Knitting and Crocheting outnumbers the golfers in the U.S. so it is a huge hobby population. And knitters are usually gadget sort or people like to follow impossible sets of very detailed directions therefore knitters in my opinion have very early on started using computers and the internet. Myself included, blogging, chat rooms sharing pictures, yarn suggestions, events etc.
A few days ago, after putting my name on a waiting list almost 2 months ago, I finally received my coveted Ravelry invite. I have been spending every spare moment clicking here and clicking there, gathering friends, posting projects, answering messages comparing the same project made by others etc. It seems endless, I even made a connection with a young mother from Hungary. I have been spending hours and hours lost on ravelry, chatting posting meeting new friends hours and hours of entertainment.
For those of you out there who have no idea what this is...... It's a social network service for knitters and crocheters. The site is put together nicely, and who ever the web master and the genious that thought it up was very clever. You create an account with a user name mine is "bananaknits" and I was very happy that the name was still available. I have seen a couple of others using my favorite nick name but I have bananaknits.com but I digress......you create a profile, list your projects, both current and past, whether they were completed, project details such as yarn type/amount used, any alterations, etc. While this is a cool way to easily keep all of your project info in one place (it also includes a queue section where you can list potential future projects available online or in print formats), the fun comes in when you see how this info is shared.
Fellow knitters, can search projects by name or location, and the site will list people who have completed the same projects as you. How cool is that? You can view any user's page and you thus have access to what groups they belong to, projects, yarns available for trade or sell, their queue, and their blog activity if they have linked their blog. And much more I'm still discovering neat features..... so if you're a knitter check it out and put your name on the waiting list.
Overall, I think the site is pretty awesome and the word is out, what better advertisement than word of mouth. Kudos to the inventors!
I call it "Helter Skelter Lace" because it's my own lace design because I just don't have the patience to follow charts and keeping track etc. So I made up my own pattern top down raglan same old and added some "holes" or if you want to be technical yarn overs.
I'm knitting as fast as I can but I keep getting sidetracked by http://www.ravelry.com
Love this new (new to me) online knitting community hours and hours of knitting fun.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
My good friend Ellen and I met up at a yarn sale last Friday and wow, I got new yarn!
I heard about this "garage sale" over on Palms which is fairly close to my house but I was trying so hard not to buy more yarn because my stash runneth over. But Ellen "twisted" my arm, it wasn't that hard to convince me. I'm thrilled with my new purchase and it was wonderful to see Ellen ....... and she had a present for me ........ more yarn!
What could be better? I came home and immediately dropped my Ouchi project which is kind of looking like a sack and started a new sweater. Another UFO in the unfinished pile, I'll just let it rest and maybe it will get better with time.
100% Alpalca and it's light as a feather and feels like a cloud!
After the first wearing it started stretching which I totally planed so here it is on the dummy after the "strectch".
I know a "swatch" is supposed to have more rows knitted but for me this is enough. I can tell how many stitches to start with. I'm knitting the same exact sweater but I think this one will have longer sleeves. Top down on large needles ...... and increase with yarn overs to give it a lacey look at the raglan sleeve join.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I am sick as a dog (excuse the pun) actually I am a dog and I am sick sick sick. It's my tummy I have the "runs" as humiliating as that is to write about but yes sir I have the shits to put it bluntly. She almost took me to the doctors to torture me further but decided that she would wait until I was almost dead. First my brother had the problem and yes he pooped all over and my human brother even stepped in it late at night. I laughed my head off but as you know payback's a bitch. The next thing I know I have it.
I pooped all over the house the runny kind that I managed to scatter all around. It was hell, I lost my appetite and was lethargic and just generally sick. SHe was all pissed at ME! If you can believe that. SHe was blaming me for pooping on the carpet. Well I am a dog and I can't reach the toilet! And besides the carpet is much nicer on my tender little paws. After all I am sick!
Then I find out what the problem was......SHebought CAT food instead of DOG food. Dry kibble type of CAT food that both my brother and I hated and refused to eat. Do you know what SHe did? SHe mixed it up with some delicious turkey breast meat so we were forced to eat it. I knew it SHe has been trying torture me from the very beginning and now I have proof!
SHe claims that SHe did not notice until now, what is she blind? The bag had a cat drawing and feline written all over it for goodness sake. The only consolation I have is that SHe had to clean up the mess. (payback's a bitch) First thing in the morning poop all over it was great! SHe was gagging! And as weak as I was I laughed and giggled as she scrubbed and sprayed and washed and cursed.
So that is how my thanksgiving holiday was, I am thankful to be alive! I do feel much better now I sent her to get new food my favorite kind this time and all is much better but it will take some time for me to forgive her for this one. I will figure out ways to get back at her I always do. I've got to go now I need my rest.
ps. The Boy is still sleeping so he is not able to write anything but I'm sure I have him convinced that "Mommie" is really "Mommie Dearest".
It's time to fry the turkey! Last year it was a great success and so now it's a tradition. At least we have all the necessary tools and gadgets, yes including the "mechanics" wire and wire cutters, the peanut oil the outdoor professional gas burner and the bird and various other necessary tools.
Here is detailed instructions if you care to do this crazy thing.
The reason I love this so much besides the taste is that I don't have to get up at the crack of dawn to put the turkey in the oven. Frying turkeys takes about an hour give or take depending on the size of the bird. Approx 5-6 minutes per pound, we like it well done so we do 6-7 minutes. It's hard to maintain the frying temperature even. But all this effort is well worth it. It is starting to smell so good that I'm almost tempted to fry my turkey tonight!
Why you ask am I doing this on Wednesday when Thanksgiving is not until Thursday? We are feeding our Police officers at our Pacific Division Police Station. The Citizen Advisory Board members organize each year and it's a great hit with the officers and the participants. Just a small thank you to our officers who protect us from the bad guys.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Just like my mother used to buy the buttons first and then design to suit them. Her theory was that it was so difficult to find good buttons and much easier to find material to suit the buttons. When I was growing up all of my clothing was custom made, tailored. Simply because ready made clothing was just not available.
The yarn is Noro, "Knitting Fever"
Description Ouchou 70% silk 15% wool and 15% nylon....
I loved the last "top down" sweater and the "Queen Ann's Lace" edging I decided to do it again.
Cast on 60 sts. place my markers and the new project is launched.
This yarn is not smooth there are a lot of twigs reminiscent to the recycled yarn from Nepal. Lots of little knots tied together which I hate I usually want the knots placed in a not so visible spot. The more I look at this yarn the more I think that this is the same recycled silk and not new silk. The last project I made out of the Sari recycled silk stuff did not hold up well. I'm hoping this does not happen to this sweater.
Ouch my fingers hurt, this is not a comfortable knit, it hurts my fingers no wonder they named it ouchou.
I had such a good time listening to "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon while finishing the last project I decided to continue the saga. I downloaded "Dragonfly in Amber" which is the next book in the series, from Audible and started out with lots of energy and I was a happy camper/knitter.
Outlander was 32 hours of listening and the narrator is a great reader with a pleasant voice and great acting and the story was interesting enough. After a while it got a bit tedious in my opinion a bit of editing could have been helpful but it was interesting enough that I gave it 3 stars in my rating system 5 stars being up there with the I loved it category.
So I figured ok the same story continued would be ok. Dragonfly in Amber is 38 hours of listening...... same reader, nice voice but....... this one too gets a bit tedious. I especially enjoyed the beginning the first 10 hours or so but now it's starting to repeat and I'm starting to visualize the hero as a Fabio romance novel gone Scottish red hair big muscle hunk. But the Fabio part that is starting to get on my nerves......
The sweater too is starting to get tedious the book is the same over and over again and the knit is round and round hurts my fingers never ends......... my goodness this Diana Gabaldon is really obsessed with this subject, I can't imagine how she could write this stuff. The more I listen the more I think it's one of those books referred to as a "romance" with Fabio on the cover with flowing long hair in period costume holding a voluptuous woman with lots of sex and sword fighting.
Maybe I need to give both the project and the book a rest. I do have more yarn and other projects to finish and yes lots of preparation and cooking for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
This Blue Heron cotton yarn was a really smooth knit and a comfortable knit and the size 4 needle fit my hands well. Not all yarn knits comfortably I find and I can not tell until I'm actually knitting with it and spending some time not just a swatch or two. I prefer a smaller needle and lighter weight yarn, it seems to suit my hands best. Larger needles and thicker yarn does not fit my hands as well and I find it tires my hands even though the project finishes much faster. Often other knitters say the exact opposite that small needles hurt their hands.
I added a crochet edge, I just feel like the edge of certain knitted garments do not look finished unless I do a crochet edge. So crochet I did all the way around the bottom the sleeves and this lacy edge in the front.
Overall I am very pleased with this "top down" knit cardigan and I just hope it will hold up after laundering. I've worn it two days in a row and have had lots of compliments at my LYS. Some of my knitting friends have been watching me work on this for the last two months or so, lots of little stitches and not to talk about the frogging it took me a bit longer than I like. Although this was not the only project I've been working on.
My friend Kathy Silverton happened to see me both the days and the second day she remarked that I'm wearing the same sweater to which I answered "I love it so much I'm never wearing anything else." There were several ladies sitting around the big "knitting" table who have heard me say this about almost every garment I've worn that I made. They just smiled and chuckled. There was however a lady I did not know and she looked at me in amazement and that nobody batted and eyelash at this bold statement. I quickly explained to her that I say this about every project. She too gave me a little giggle.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I could not believe my eyes! Right in the front, not even in a spot that I could possibly live with but smack in the middle of "front and center"
Not one or two but three!
Not a couple of rows ago but inches and thousands of stitches ago!
All garter stitch and I could not pick them up, I tried and tried....
How could I have done this and not notice?????
I have said this many many times to new knitters and yet I did not take my own advice!
I HATE when this happens but "oops I did it again"
The project is a top down raglan sleeve little sweater. The yarn I'm using is "Blue Heron" Mercerized Cotton. Love this yarn! I've made several projects from Blue Heron last summer I could not get enough of this stuff.
Amano yarn store had a very nice stock and I also bought some at the Fiber Festival at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The color is "kelp" actually looks a lot like seaweed similar to some other items I've knit I must like this color I keep getting it.
There is a 1,000 yards to a hank and I have two. Much more than I need for this project but we'll see what I can do with the left overs. I love the the silky smooth feel and shine of mercerized cotton and the garment it knits is really nice.
This was the last of my Blue Heron booty so I decided to knit a top down cardigan should be an easy knit and I'll just keep increasing until it fits. That is the nice part about top down knitting you can try it on and adjust your stitch count and make adjustments as you go. This is the guide I "loosely" followed. A very old formula but it works! Once I realized the simplicity of it I don't have to do much math, when you start seeing the logic of the stitch count you realize that all you have to do is get a gauge and the measurement and stitch markers and lots of knitting.
Then I decided to increase along the front also so my stitch count is growing rapidly, I love lots of stitches and the weight of this yarn. I'm using a size 4 circular needle and happily knitting along. Periodically I would knit it on to a 60" circular so I can try it on.
The Knit Pick's Options needles and multiple lengths is perfect for this job. But I got lazy and quit trying it on and sure enough there is a dropped stitch that I just can not pick up it is too far gone. Sh.....t!
Now I have to frog! Hours and hours of knitting.....So many stitches so much knitting...... ouch! and I have to go back! I was so close to finishing. Boo hoo! Oh well here it goes another lesson learned, how many times do I have to learn this lesson?
I've traced it back to knitting with a bunch of friends over at Stitches from the Heart yarn store. My favorite knitting hang out. Big table to sit around always fun people to gossip with and the conversation must have been so good that I was not paying attention to what I was doing.
Most of the time I pick out a project that is a "no brainer" to knit when I'm out because paying attention to counting or anything complex is hard when you are half paying attention. So again another lesson learned.
what is mercerized cotton?
Sometimes referred to in the crafts as pearl or pearle cotton. It is cotton yarn or fabric which has been put through a series of processes, primarily to increase luster. The added desirable water handling properties gained are a secondary bonus.
(want to read more? click here)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
I finally chased down the sheep, cut their hair, beat the wool and voila my new hat.
(Well I could have. ;-) ........in reality I bought roving @ Amano the closes store carrying roving and wet felted the basic hat and just to give it a nice touch I needle felted the edges with Koigu wool sock yarn that I had left over from a pair of socks.
This is a combination Halloween and / invited to an afternoon tea hat.
I was invited to the annual Honoring the Volunteers Afternoon Tea at Stitches from the Heart. The invitation said for us to wear our best hats for the formal tea. Shish I don't have a "formal tea" hat! I don't go to that many afternoon tea parties especially ones that ask to wear a formal tea hat. As a matter of fact I can not remember the last one I was invited to. So I decided to make a new hat.
I'm looking forward to this event at Kathy Silverton's home, my fun roommate from the "Sea Socks" cruise we went on earlier this year. We had so much fun and enjoyed the cruise that we are planning another knitting cruise. But I digress.... The cruise is next year so I have plenty of time to write about the fab places we will be visiting to gather more wool.
As I was "sculpting" this hat it came to me that maybe I could combine the two events Halloween/Afternoon tea. It's almost Halloween and Ellen always has a wonderful costume and party at the original Farmer's Market and this year I want to make a costume and go visit and have fun with the fun bunch of knitters at the Farmer's Market.
Can you guess who I'm going to be?
clue she lived to the ripe old age of 101 and wore these great hats......
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Sleek and stylish, this battery operated chrome and acrylic pepper mill is one of the greatest gadgets I have. It makes grinding pepper easy as could be
Uses six AAA batteries and you turn it upside down and it grinds as easy as that. . Measures 7 1/2" tall. I'm ready to buy a second one in case they stop making them, you know how when you find something you really love and it breaks and you can never find it again. I got it at Bed Bath & Beyond, of course I went there to get something else then I spotted this thing and was sold on the idea of not having to twist or turn. Sometimes my hands are so tired from all that knitting and felting I do......
I love this!
Saturday, August 04, 2007
I have a birthday this month and I made myself a present. I love the handles, here is the link for handmade leather handles. Knitted in the round no particular pattern and left over wool just washed in the machine until it wouldn't shrink any more.
My felting tips of course depends on the project but generally speaking I use the washing machine method. I use dishwater detergent, baking soda and I place "dryer balls"
and and old jean jacket with metal buttons.
The idea is to beat up the knitted piece as much as possible it's not really the heat that shrinks but the combination of high alkaline soap and agitation. Then I rinse with cold water. I do check after a few minutes to see how it's progressing.
Again this depends on the project and the fiber it's knitted out of and how it's knitted also if I'm wanting the piece to be exact etc. Felting is a lot of fun I did a lot of projects about a year ago, I think I'll do some more this year. I just looked up what I blogged about felting http://bananaknits.blogspot.com/search?q=felting
and yes it was fun, and lots of creative stuff can be done.
I just got my Knit Picks catalog and they have a whole section in it on felting. Some really good tips they have two pdf files as a felting tutorial on their site looks good check it out. http://www.knitpicks.com/content/index.php/cat/felting/
The yarn I used is cotton and I doubled the green lace weight mercerized cotton and the yellow is a textured sort of light cotton. Short sleeves, and a crochet edge, the gusset is crochet and allowed to have "vent" holes... and a nice mock mandarin collar.
Friday, July 13, 2007
I do admit that the ride in the the car and going to the groomers is a pain and sometimes I do like to just get it over with and be bathed at home. But a hair cut? Please, I already have a hairdresser and he does a fine job thank you! Why oh why does she interfere? Why does she think she could cut hair? Ok she is a licensed cosmetologist but for humans which I'm doubtful about too.
So here we are like two "boobs" she is making us pose with our new hair. His looks better than mine, he has better hair than I do. His hair is straight my hair has a curl. I don't like curly hair I want straight hair. He is oblivious to the whole thing. Just sits there smiling and looking so proud that his Mommy cut his hair. That she loves him so much that she herself cuts his hair.
Fool that he is ........ I hate my hair do look at the top it's flat and my ears stick out too far! Does she have no sense of style? I want some height in the front!
The torture never stops. By the way you if in case you can not tell us apart I'm the one with the pink id tag. We are twins and sometimes people can't tell us apart. I can't imagine how this could be we are obviously totally different looking but I'm the one with the flat hair and the pink tag.
Monday, July 09, 2007
It's hot and I wanted something new to wear. So here is the latest of my own designs. I really like the way it turned out. It's comfy & cool and got lots of compliments when I've worn it. For me I find that it's always "gamie" till that first washing. No matter how careful I am with washing some of my hand knitted garment's sometimes turn out terrible after the first washing.
The newness, the sheen sometimes is gone it's stretching which ever way sometimes it needs to be flat dried but some do better in the dryer. I'm going to try and wear this one a few times and not dig ditches while wearing it or work up any kind of sweat and maybe I can wear it in it's "virgin" state a few more times. Some just never recover that "virgin" state.
Here is the pattern:
Seaweed tank top, machine knit, hand knit and crochet.
Yarn I used was a silk and viscose boucle I got ten balls of from Yarns Unlimited they were having a summer sale 50% off @ 2.50 a ball so this project cost me about 30 dollars. The label did not have yardage printed on it and it was too delicate to drag through my yardage counter so I'm estimating about 90 yards per ball and it took 4 balls to make this top.
The rest of the yarn will be used to knit a shawl to go with the top, similar to this project.
The gauge worked out to be 35 sts = 11” with a T10 on the machine or size 10 needle. Crochet hook H.
I made it on the machine but this pattern could be translated to hand knitting.
Cast on 105 sts, every other needle on the machine.
Row 1 knit
Row 2 pull out all the needles to working position
RC 8 hang the hem
RC 12 full fashion decrease one at each end with the 3 prong tool
RC 16 –1 --> -1 (repeat to RC 64)
RC 72 decrease with the two prong tool 2 at each end and repeat to RC 84
RC 84 remove sts from the machine onto a size 10 addi needle (82 sts)
Hand knit: Purl 1 row
K 1, k2tog, k1, across the row
K 1, k2tog, k1, across the row
Purl row crochet off with an H hook
Crochet Single chain across for 2 rows and add the straps. 6” = 25 chains and 22 double chain back, and one more row of 22 double chains.
Finishing 14” side seam which leaves a 9” armhole.
Notes for hand knitting,
I have "hung" a hem and the way I've done it is to cast on purl one row and the next row is *k1,k2tog,yo* across the row.
Then knit about 8 rows depending how much of a hem you want and pick up and knit tog the yarn over "holes "
This may make sense to some but I'm sure I'm not explaining it correctly. I'll try and put some pictures up sometimes.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
When I hear all those bang noises I always think we are under attack and I get SCARED! There I've said it, I too get scared sometimes. I try very hard not to show it but on the 4th of July I just fall apart.
Do you know what SHE did? Well there was this awful big bang as if tanks were firing at us noises so SHE picks me up and starts pointing at the sky! As if I could tell that those pretty colors and the big bang noises were related. What a fool, I had her carry me around and I am furry and hot right against her and she was hot as hell but I had her so bamboozled that SHE fell for it. I would cry and I would pant and I just had the most uncomfortable day. The only thing that saved it is the damn BBQ I got a few good morsels for dinner.
Oh and I almost forgot to mention the idiot neighbors that we have. They have absolutely no consideration for the poor animals around they insist every year to light fireworks in their front yard. Besides this being totally illegal and they have a bunch of little children and the children could get hurt too but somehow they just don't get it. Each year I watch the news and I hear about all those accidents that happen, children getting hurt having fingers blown off.... oh yeah nasty things but these neighbors of ours just don't get it. They still think that nothing like that could happen to them. OMG..
I will just tell you the biggest annoyance was the fact that my brother just slept through the whole thing. He did not hear nothing! The DUFUS he is and he just lays around and sleeps. Got to go now, SHE is knitting and I am hungry so I'm going to go and annoy HER.
Monday, June 25, 2007
I'm having trouble with this, I always think I could change this and make something out of it. So I have a new storage box labeled Frog it or Finish it.
There now I will have two UFO area's the I am going to finish this someday and the F&F area. Now that is much better.
Now back to knitting.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
You know the last time she left I did miss HER ! I was lonely all day, I had nobody to argue with! I had nobody to harass! I thought she was gone forever! I worried, I fret, she never called or sent post cards. All I could do was try and reach her telepathically but her telepahtic skills are really lacking. Then she came home at last. I was happy for a couple of days then she was up to the same old.....
While she was gone the house was a mess, HE did not do anything around the house! NOTHING! Did he think that the good fairy was going to come over and clean? No cooking delicious things hardly washing the dishes. HE puts dry food on the floor and says go eat it. Once in a while HE offers us a dry tasteless "cookie". Oy.... it tastes like sawdust. I like the little round ones with the paws on them he just doesn't get it.
Mommy bought a bunch of chews for us so while she was gone HE could give us treats. Well you know what HE did? HE put the chewy basket on the floor and I just could not help myself and I ate them all! I kept thinking that maybe I should not do this but it was as if I was posessed! I ate one chewy after another until the basket was empty!
How could he do this to me? I have been gaining weight and struggling to exercise! Boy do I hate the E word, I would rather just sit around and rest, or sleep. Once in a while I will run to the door and bark and that should be my "cardio" for the day. Sometimes when SHE is around she makes us walk around the block and sometimes she yells hurry up and expects us to run! What is SHE crazy? Run why? But I do miss her when she is not here, besides some of the so called walks were fun.... HE never takes us for a walk...
I hope she does not go on vacation again so soon I don't think I can manage without my trained servant. She is starting to behave I know just how to get under her skin. My job after all is to annoy her as much as I can.
Monday, June 18, 2007
For those who do not know the term "Frogging" it is when you rip it apart. Get it? The frog says "rippit" I thought it was silly but fun. And of course if you are "tinking" you are "un-knitting" which is to knit backwards.
I just can not get enough of "fuzzy" yarn. I used to hate fuzzy but now I love fuzzy. The reason I did not like fuzzy before was that it always got in my face. Tickled my nose got in my eyelashes and I found it annoying.
Not anymore! For some reason I am willing to put up with the fuzzy because it is so light weight and so warm. Sort of like really fine down coat, it's light weight and yet very warm. My new mohair/silk shawl is as light as a cloud yet it is so warm and cuddly. So I put up with fuzzy.
Now for the frogging fuzzy part, I am crocheting this new stitch I learned that I can't seem to get enough of lately but I digress. (Ellen Bloom sent me a link of this stitch and a very nice tutorial it is...) So now I'm crocheting this stitch into everything I'm making.
I got this ball of yarn from my friend Sandi and it is fuzzy but only one ball so I started this "diagonal" crochet stitch and decided my dog needs a sweater. The colors and fuzziness were perfect for her. She is not a very good model and kept laying down when I tried to fit her. No cooperation at all. So I over did it made the triangle part a little too big.
Now to frog.... oh my oh my.... a lot harder than I thought, but I'm determined. All those fuzzy little fibers love to stick to each other so frogging is actually taking longer than the knit. I will post my progress..... tune in again.... for the fuzzies.