Monday, August 31, 2015

Whats Off, Whats On?

Off the needles, is my Meadow Grass Shawl.  I'm hoping blocking makes this a bit larger.  Stay tuned for Friday.

The Whale Baby Blanket still on the needles.  It is all I'm knitting on this week.

It is all about baby knitting for now!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

On Knitting, Life, and Money

The Knit Wits received some news this week.  News that we had been expecting for sometime, but none the less, news that our beloved little yarn shop in Dunlap, IL will be closing before the end of the year.  I guess like death, we all knew it would probably come, but we kept hoping that someone would come along and pick up the torch and keep the shop going.  It has been our meeting place for several years and great friendships have come about from this little shop, so now we are faced with the decision as to where to go and knit and stay together.  Our Thursday nights are up in the air right now, while we figure out who will take us in and allow food to be brought in and can accommodate at least 15 people which brings with it some noise.

After yesterday,  I think I've found the place I am going to knit in on Saturday mornings. Several of us went down to the cutest coffee place in Peoria.  There was plenty of space, coffee, light, and they don't mind if you spend several hours sitting drinking coffee and knitting.  Easy to get to for me and best of all???  I can knit on whatever yarn I want to.  Now, you may think that is not all that important, but I am a proponent of if you are knitting in a shop, taking their space up, you need to be knitting on their yarns.  And that is exactly what I have been doing.  But, then I would come home and knit on what I really wanted to be knitting on.  As friend, Sue, it is like now having the freedom to knit on what you want to.

The other plus?  I've put myself on no yarn buying status with one caveat.  The only yarn that can be bought is if it is a color or yarn that I need for a project for a present and I do not have it in my stash.  I have a great stash and so many wonderful yarns to knit on and I need to use them.  By not knitting at a shop, I will not be feeling compelled to buy yarn because it is there and because it is shiny and new!

My friend, Sue, lent me a book last week, "Total Money Makeover".  I've been a bit of reading on it this week, and he has some really valid points so that I am thinking about incorporating into our lives.  After some brutal weeks at work, both the Tall Guy and I really are wondering at what point in time, we can retire and enjoy life without all the stress.  To do so means that we really need to think about where our money is currently going, so that when we do retire, we don't have to go out and get part time jobs to do the things we want to do.  By not being surrounded by yarn twice a week, there is a bit of a chunk of change that can be saved in a year just by not buying yarn to add to the stash.

  Something I am finding in the book is that some of the points can also be applied to weight loss, life and money.  I'm pleased to say that I have made it one week on Weight Watchers, following the program.  And I made myself a vow last week, that I would start going in to work on time and leave on time and take a full lunch hour.  One week down and I had success everyday.  Oy, I felt so much better on both avenues.  I was less crabby when I got home and although, tomorrow is weigh in day, I just feel more in control, whether the scale moves a little or a lot!

There are so many more things I could blog about on these subjects this Sunday morning, but I feel that I shouldn't keep on as I want you to come back again tomorrow for the true knitting content, but I felt compelled to write these things down, if nothing else so that it is a reminder to me that in order to retire some day and not have to work to enjoy life, I need spend smarter now.

If you are still with me tomorrow, I'll see you on the purl side, I am off to finish the laundry and knit!
Have a great Sunny Day wherever you are.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday Website

With these cool mornings and nights, it is a perfect time to wear shawls to keep those arms warm.  Today's Wednesday Website is perfect timing on how to wear a shawl.

How To Wear A Shawl

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Never and Rarely Done

On this little project I am knitting on, I have found myself doing two things.  One that I have never done in my knitting, is put a lifeline in.  But, with the aid of Chiagoo's Interchangeables needles that have this little hole in them, it is so much easier to put a lifeline in while knitting, then to add it with a needle and thread.

The same thing can be done with Knit Picks Interchangeables or any other needles that may have the added hole.  If you need visual instruction, check this You Tube video out or any other.

The other thing that I rarely do (almost never) is add point protectors. 

 Since I started using circulars, I almost never do this.  I did it all the time when I used straight needles for knitting, because the stitches were very much prone to toppling off the end of the needle when set down.  

But, for this project, I am taking no chances.  Lifelines and point protectors are my friends!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Morning Cuteness

I'm sorry if you were looking for knitting, but these pictures of Mona Lisa are just too cute to not post.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Super Excited

We have been some really super nice weather the last few days in Central Illinois, and with the cooler temps and the dates on the calendar, I am super excited to start knitting for Fall sweater wearing.

Unfortunately, I've got some deadline knitting to complete first.

The first deadline is a stealth knitting project I am not at liberty to divulge yet, but I'll be spending my Saturday/Sunday knitting on a special project.  It's deadline is in my mind sometime mid next week.  After it has been given, I'll blog about it, but suffice it to say it is really cool.

The next deadline knitting is a baby blanket for a shower on the 12th for my daughter-in-law's sister.  We have spent a lot of time with her and her husband when we have been in Iowa, so I felt like something knitted was a must.  The colors were a bit hard to wrap my head around, navy and gray, but the whale theme helped out a bit.

I've been tossing around what to do for her though.  For Mona Lisa's shower I knit a stupid little pea pod that in my mind wasn't all that special, but it had everyone going a bit nuts over it.  I'm still searching for the perfect yarn for one of those to add to the shower present, but along with a mobile, some sheets and receiving blankets (ok, I know I've went overboard, but this baby is supposed to be born around my birthday), I decided a blanket encompassing the blue and gray was in order.

I, also, found a whale pattern that was not done in color work, so I monkeyed around with a pattern and came up with a blanket that encompasses both the theme and the colors.  I wasn't super happy with just the blue and gray, so I decided to add in a teal that was in one of the sheets requested.

The whale is difficult to see in the gray at times, but I think will be really evident when I get to the other side and the teal.

And the last deadline is for the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.  I'm knitting a shawl (blogged about it before) to wear to knitting friend, Kendra's wedding.  We'll see if that makes the deadline or if I have to pull out something else to wear.

Then, right after all of the above, Poppy's Baby Blanket and Peapod need to be done for an early October birth.

I'm thinkin bout the time Fall really sets in, I'll be able to knit for me a bit, before the Christmas Stocking starts.  Oy!  Time to go out and enjoy the beautiful day.  Have a great Sunday!!

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Really Good Mail Day

You know Fall is on the horizon when you go by the Stadium in the hometown and the Red and White Football Game is being played.  You really know Fall is on the horizon when your Fall Knits Vogue Knitting comes.  And looky look, it is all about Teal!  This is the second issue in a row of Vogue Knitting that has me thinking about re-subscribing!

I was pleasantly surprised when the box I opened up today contained my order from The Yarnery that I placed at Stitches Midwest a couple of weekends back.  This sweater and the following scarf were on the mannequin in their booth, and I saw it, fell in love and said, I'll take the ensemble.

My friend Susan teaches at The Yarnery and I have heard her say some wonderful things about the shop and their yarn.  I can only imagine what it is like.

I have been wondering what it would be like to have a really fashion forward knit shop in our midst to shop at.  Wouldn't that be wonderful?!  

Sunday, August 16, 2015

There Was Knitting

We celebrated today, our fellow Knit Wit Kendra's upcoming wedding, with a shower!  And of course, there was knitting!  After a delicious meal and to die for cake and homemade ice cream, while the bride-to-be opened her gifts  those who knit did.  What fun.

But the best part was all of the lovely decorations and table decor done by Jenny and Jalayne.  Hearts sewn from an old book hung from the doors.

Chocolate and vanilla cakes with the best tasting icing ever with fairy dust sprinkled on it.  And there was home made ice cream!

The blue rocks in the mason jars made the water look blue.  I am totally stealing this idea.

Duplicated on the tables were the floating candles.

Our place cards were wrapped around our glasses with moscato, lemonade, grenadine and blueberries.  It may look like the plates and silverware are real, but really they are not.

It was such a lovely shower.

So much fun!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Finally Finished Friday

The Aise Wrap for Hospice is done, blocked and ready.

I am not totally happy with the edges, even though it has been blocked mercilessly, I'm not sure if it is the heaviness of the yarn or what, but it could be a bit better.  I love the yarn though and the feel.

The other finished object for today was started this morning before work and I finished it tonight.  It is just a little something to go in a shower present for Sunday.  And it was fun to knit something super mindless.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

On The Needles This Week

One main thing has been on my needles for a whole week.

 This past weekend, while at  at Stitches Midwest I knit on Aise.  This is the closest I have ever been to monogamous in my knitting.  The little marker shows where last we left off when I reported.

Just a few more inches and this will be done and ready to block.  But, sometimes, it doubles as a leg warmer.

What is on your needles this week?

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Stitches Midwest Rap Up

What an absolutely fantastic weekend at Stitches Midwest!  Let's start at the beginning.  The hotel was really nice as it always is, but this year for me they were ever so accommodating.  Switching me to a king from two double beds at the very start.  I had my own room this year and although it is nice to have someone to talk to, it was really nice to be able to crank the thermostat up, leave the bathroom doors open and move about however you want!

When check in gave me the wrong room # and I had to go back down, they gave me  $10 credit for my trouble.  The Housekeeping Gal on our floor was super nice.  When I asked for extra decaf for the next day, she supplied it.

After caravanning and lunch with the Knit Wits, I headed off to market.  This year I was very methodical on my times at markets.  Each time, I went Thursday night, Friday and well, at least the start of Saturday, I had lists of specific booths I wanted to go to and what I wanted to look at.  Of course that can all be shot to heck, when you gather with friends and see what they got and then another booth is added to your list.  Or if you have down time and start to see all the lovely knits that everyone is wearing and then you have to scurry back to market to check that booth out!

Thursday night, I knew I wanted to hit my main stops.  I had signed up to hear Franklin and his lecture on Five Women, Five Shawls after market was over, and I knew that I pretty much had all of Friday and Saturday in the market, so I had plenty of time to shop, so I really just got was on my first list and then headed back to the room for a light dinner before heading down to hear Franklin.

Friday morning, after it was a reasonable hour to request it, I ordered room service for breakfast with a pot of coffee.  Yes, it cost me but it was a super start to a great day!

I hit the market until about two, then headed back to my room, before heading down to the hotel area to sit and knit in comfy chairs, while the Knit Wits came back and forth, sharing what they bought and learned the day.  We knitted and talked and laughed until evening, skipping the fashion show and just hanging out.  What a super relaxing day after a brutal few days at work last week.

I realized after I got home last night, that there is not a sweater quantity of yarn in all of my purchases, it is all scarves and cowls and mitts and one baby thing.  From my pictures, I am pretty sure that you are going to come to the conclusion that this Fall is going to be a shawl knitting season!

Friday's purchases, though, were half and half.  Half gifties  Half Me!  I am not going to single out all of the purchases, but will rather show them as I get to knitting on them.

Saturday was the major damage day!  On Friday night, I still made my list for have to get to places the very first of the market, and when the doors opened, I headed right down to visit several booths on my list Unicorn Books, Yarn Culture, Fiber Story, Sun Valley Fibers, Miss Babs and the Yarnery.  I knew exactly what I wanted! 

But, then, the bus came from Peoria, I secured us a table to sit at, I sat down to knit my afternoon away until my travel mate was out of classes and was ready to go at 5.  Several Knit Wits came, friend Becky came and then I had to go to some places again (Yarn Culture, Windy Valley Muskox)

Around 3, Becky and I headed up to the hotel lobby area for ice tea, knitting in comfy spaces, talking and waiting for her bus to leave and my car mate to be done.  It was the only way to get away from that  darn market and save some of my retirement money!  

I've some knitting to do now, but it is raining and I am loving the prospects of (after showering and laundry) of sitting and knitting today and watching it rain with some coffee or chai.  I'm off tomorrow and have the whole house to myself and will get back on the weight watching/exercising thing, but for one more day, I'm going to enjoy the life of knitting and no worries.

It was a wonderful weekend, spent with friends, seeing and getting hugs from my Knit Camp people (Holly, Denise, Mary, Sheryl) and seeing all the lovely knits that were every where you turned.  And a lot of new things are going to be going into my queue!

Friday, August 07, 2015

Finally Finished Friday

Dinner in the Eiffel Tower has been done since the first week of January!  But, I just got around to blocking it two nights before Stitches Midwest.  I am pleasantly surprised as to how it grew in blocking.  I had my doubts.  The yarn is Tosh Merino Light.

I am loving it!

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Wednesday Website

A Free Pattern from Marly Bird

I love the colors in this shawl! What a nice little in public shawl to be working on.  You know I am casting one on don't cha!?

Sunday, August 02, 2015

What's On Your Needles This Week???

I'm gearing up for Stitches Midwest later this week, and while there will be a lot of time spent in the market, I also plan on kicking back and enjoying the just for me time-  knitting and watching people!  The venue for SMW is perfect if you just want to find a nice space in the hotel area to knit in some comfy places, with a cuppa or maybe a glass of wine and knit.  I plan on taking advantage of all this along with meeting up with some friends!

That is why I had to sit down yesterday and take a bit of a look at what I'll be taking to knit on.  I am really going to try to NOT take all the things to knit on (no, really I am).  I've got deadline knitting coming up (real and self-imposed) and I have to be smart about my knitting right now in order to accomplish them all.  (Oh, that is a whole nuther post to bore you with down the road!)

So, for this week and going to Stitches this week, here is my line up :

My current Hospice Shawl, Aise.  One of the first patterns I picked out when I decided to knit Hospice Shawls was Aise and the Baby Beanz yarn.  I was looking for a color way that was nice and not too bright,  washable and was easily knit.  It did not get a whole lot of love back in December when I bought the yarn, I thought it was quite boring and not as pretty as all the other shawls I had in mind for Hospice.  But, you know, I was pleasantly surprised by it.  I really like the shawl, although in hind site, I wish I had bought a softer yarn for it.  Not that Baby Beanz  isn't soft, it is okay, but I think it was more about the needle size and the hand of the knit fabric but there are so many more possibilities.  The best part of this shawl is that it will be perfect for knitting on at SMW and can be done quite mindless, you just have to pay attention to when the eyelets need to be done.

The Chaparusa Vest.  I got a plan to wear this in two weeks.  All the yarn is going to be wound and will go to Stitches with me.  I am hoping to knock a fair bit of it out.  This one is going to work with me as well this week and even though I'll be gone for two days later this week, I am going to take time out at lunch to at least do a bit of knitting on it!

Poppy's (that is the nickname is for the new grandson to be born in October) Baby Blanket.  This poor thing.  It is in it's third cast on.

The first time, on the same amount of stitches and on the same size needle, it was so much bigger than Mona Lisa's blanket so I recast on with less stitches, same size needles.  I finished one set of the blocks and the whole time I was knitting on it, it felt like I was knitting on really small needles.

 The block went fast, it just seemed like I was having to expend a whole lot of effort.  That was confirmed yesterday when I went to the Knit Shop, and knitter friend Becky, asked me why I was knitting it on such small needles!

Soooo, this morning I cast on one more on much larger needles, size 6 and am giving it a go.  I'll keep you posted to see which I go with, but either way this one is going as well, it will be great to knit on in the comfort of my room in the early mornings with a cuppa.

Not going to Stitches, but something on the needles that I really would like to have done by Labor Day is Meadow Grass.  You see, I've got this purse ~~~

And I had this yarn (it was going to be a sweater)~~~
And I thought, if I could find some black yarn to go with it~~~
Then I could put the two together, knit Meadow Grass~~~
And carry the purse with it as ensemble.  Voila!

That is what is on my needles, what are you knitting this week?  Really, I want to know, I may need to add it to my list!  :)