Friday, January 30, 2009

I just shrugged.

Well, technically, I knit a shrug, but technicality can be sacrificed when coming up with a blog title right?
Sooo anyway, my birthday/Christmas/birthday project for Val was inspired by two things. The first was that I wanted to do some sort of jewel toned top for myself, my sister and my mother. My deep purple sweater is done, Valerie's emerald-ish aquamarine-ish shrug is now done and my mothers Fuchsia cowell wrap is on the way! The inspiration for Valerie's colors came from her shoes. I remembered that she had a pair of lime green shoes and a teal/aqua color. While the color match didn't quite get perfect, I think when worn together they work quite well!

The Shoes!

The shrug from the front! (Duh, I know but whats a picture without a caption?)

I found the pattern in a fabulous book called Fitted Knits by Stephanie Japel. I like her sweaters because they arent frumpy feeling and super baggy, though if you choose to do any of her patterns be sure to double check her website for pattern ammendments. I made this shrug out of Lanaloft Worsted Weight 100% Wool yarn. The aqua color is called Turquoise Magic (LL92W) and the green is called Scottish Hillside (LL72W). This yarn was a dream to work with! Ask anyone who was around me when I was knitting with it. I kept saying "I love this yarn!" If you're interested in ordering yarn you could call Lynda (click here for contact info) regarding ordering etc. I used size 9 circular needles on the whole thing. (Didn't bother with the smaller size for the ribbing. The shoulders fit perfectly when it was completed, but the arms were a bit big. That wasnt a problem since I saved sewing them up for last and took them in quite a bit!

The back view. Yay!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I pass...

my Upper Division Writing Exam, that is. Many of you may have known that I was enrolled in 23 units for this Spring 2009 semester. Ack! For of those units were an upper division writing course that I would have had to take if I had not passed the exam. I had heard from one of my co-workers, who had decided to just take the class, that her professor had graded essays over the weekend and out of 75 essays read he had only passed 2! EEK! We're in the second week of class now, and I was getting antsy! One of the very kind women in the Testing Center told me I could come in today and get my results early AND...
I am sooo excited, and relieved! It feels very hard to go on with my appointments, work and night class today knowing such great news!

Happy Hats!

As I previously mentioned in the blog about our ski adventure at Shasta, I love these hats Luke and his brothers have.
Luke's mom got thes hats so she could find Luke, Jay and Mark when they were on the slopes. The big introduction of helmet usage for riskier skiiers makes wearing the hats a little trikier but Luke wore Mark's when he was skiing with me on the easier slopes, and I got to take a picture of them now in their hats.
The picture above is my favorite picture of them as little boys! They're eyes are twinkling, they're all smiling and they have rosy cheeks!

Luke has challanged me to see if I can knit or crochet another version. Hmmm maybe something that can go over their helmets!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pondering Production

Another excerpt from: Never Not Knitting! Page-A-Day Calendar, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee also known as Yarn Harlot.

"If you knit in public, then all sorts of people will come up to you and ask you questions about what you're doing. Sometimes this is a good opportunity to spread the word of knit, and I have been known to carry extra yarn and needles just so I can seize the moment and teach a stranger how to do it. Other times, especially if someone approaches me while I'm counting or working on lace, I really wish they would stay away. This is even more the case if the person asks what seem to be very stupid questions. That's when some days when someone comes up to me and says, 'Wow! That's so cool. Are you knitting?' I have been known to simply say, 'No.'"

Now I can't remember a time when I have wished people would stay away. People come up to talk all the time when Tanya, Kim and I are knitting in Starbucks. I even tend to keep crochet hooks and knitting needles on hand to teach any interested learner (though I did tell C.J., one of the cutest four year olds you'll ever meet, that he will have to wait until he is 5 or 6). I can even appreciate people at least asking if I'm knitting because I have been a crochet-er accused of knitting most of my life.

I just couldn't help but chuckle imagining an enthusiastic bystander walking up to someone knitting and getting a point blank "no." Do you think a person would be shocked if I did that?

Then I thought again, why would I want to do that? What a great way to make friends! Or at least meet kindred spirits! (Aren't familiar with the term kindred spirits? See here.)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hats On

I got word (and picture) today that Luke's brother Jay just recieved his belated Christmas/Birthday present. I had trouble starting it, because I just couldn't find the perfect yarn. Then at The Websters in Ashland OR I fell in love with this Debbie Bliss Baby Alpaca/Silk yarn. It was sooo soft! I loved it even more when I started working on it! That hat is one of my favorite projects now! I think the perfect yarn was worth the wait!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pondering Production

"Adopt the pace of nature: Her secret is patience." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quite the tricky thing to remember when I'm anxious for a product to develop. Alas, I can only knit, sew, write, even clean, so quickly. Therefore, nature leaves me no choice but to learn her patience. Sigh.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I've Poduced a Product

I couldn't even find these on Etsy. Let me know if you think there might be interest in reproductions or the same product or variations.There's a buckle so I can connect and disconnect my car/personal keys at whim, and there's also a key ring on the necklace part for work keys. My ID badge is attached by a ribbon with a snap so that if I do not wish to be recognized but intend to wear my keys, I can take off my ID badge. I also made a coordinating key ring for my spare key at home! No one will mistake it for theirs!

*I've modified them. More pictures to come, but over about two weeks of wearing mine at work I realized that having my badge on and staying on was more important than removing my identity when I'm out and about. If I really don't want to be identified then I can stick that end in my purse or pocket, or un-clip my keys. SO, I've changed it to a ribbon with a little key ring on it that fits perfectly through ID badge slots. If my card changes or breaks I can easily get it off but not so easily that it will come off at the most inconvenient time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pondering Production

More ponder provoking from Never Not Knitting! Page-A-Day Calendar, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee also known as Yarn Harlot.

"Knitting has been called "the new yoga" by a lot of people (most of them non knitters), who think that we all knit because of the tranquil, meditative quality of it. They imagine us peacefully stitching, lulled by the perfect stitches slipping repeatedly and flawlessly off the needles. Sure, knitting has its Zen-like moments but these people obviously aren't aware of what follows these moments, hen you look down and realize that while you have finally reached that calm and gentle place...
you've screwed the whole thing up."

Let me share a couple scenarios:
This charming friendship quilt pictured above. I had sewn together a pretty good chunk of my pieces while my mom was out and was very excited to show her what I had done...then she came home and realized with her skillful eye (or whatever) that none of my points matched up. In fact they were very off. She pointed out a place that offered directions as to why (yes, I KNOW you're supposed to read all the directions, but I was on a roll okay?) it didn't work. She very kindly helped me rip stitches out and fix the mistake but my "calm and gentle pace" was gone.

Trust me there are many more stories with this quilt, but I'll take my next from knitting:

This sweater has been a beast for more than one reason, but the main is that each and every part of it has been done twice. The yoke has been done twice because I didn't increase enough or in the right places, the sleeves were redone because I realized I'd like them better if they had more breathing/growing room, and the body was redone because after I the whole section refinished, I realized I had included a whole skein of the wrong dye lot. UGH!'s done now, and whether I'm allergic or not, I love it!

What about you? Do you have any moments like that?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More Cupcakes!

Last weekend Dad decided to make cupcakes! He let me con him into using my colorfull and happy silicon cupcake cups (What is the proper name for those things?) which are so big it was like we each had our own mini cakes! Yum!
Val and I got to influence the frosting choice. For some reason we prefer lemon over chocolate? Wierd.

He even put on sprinkles! What a dad!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pondering Production

Once again I have another blurb for you from Never Not Knitting! Page-A-Day Calendar, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee also known as Yarn Harlot.

Now if your hobby should happen to be cleaning, quilting, organizing or crocheting just substitute some words.
"Whenever I see someone frazzled, overwhelmed, and upset, I always feel bad if they don't have an knitting. I feel sure that the tangible, even progress of knitting would make anybody feel better. (However, so far my attempts to give upset people some yarn, needles, and a knitting lesson have been less than successful. Maybe my timing is off.)"

I read this and thought: That is so true! Granted if I didn't find it to be true I'd be ranting a little but, yah. Knitting, or any kind of crafting or in my terms production, brings a sense of calm, offers time to think, and allows for accomplishment in the midst of such mellowness. Who wouldn't want to share such a blessing! It is my hope for you that you have such an activity in your life. Even if it isn't knitting (quilting, crocheting, etc.).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pondering Production

This Christmas my very dear friends Mark and Cindy gave me a calendar, Never Not Knitting! Page-A-Day Calendar, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee also known as Yarn Harlot. While I am disappointed that they let the calendar get through publication without changing the name to Never KNOT Knitting, I have found many of the daily thoughts to be especially interesting.

I even have some things to say about them, soooooo it is likely you will see more posts called "Pondering Production." These posts will not be only about witty things regarding knitting but likely also be about crochet, quilting and other forms of creating. I call this chain Pondering Production, because most of these ideas apply to more than just knitting. They apply to the process of producing a lovingly hand made product.


Stephanie Pearl-McPhee writes:

It is remarkable that no matter how many months or years you've been knitting or how many things you accomplish as a knitter, the thrill of a finished piece will likely never leave you. You can make a thousand sweaters and still the end of each one will be profoundly marked by genuine pride and the childish (but appropriate thought, "Look! I made it myself!"

I think that this is true for every kind of creating or producing! When I finish a quilt block I run around the house to show everyone there, and then I take it with me places to show people. I even blog so that I can tell the world, or at least everyone with access to the Internet to "Look! I made it myself!" Sure, no one even has to look, but the pride and excitement are still there!

Now if you'll excuse me, I feel the need to go finish a project!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Romantic-The Way that Anne (of Green Gables) Says It

So I was just strolling thought blogs, browsing my little heart out, and I came across the picture below (at this blog). I saw it and my heart just thought, "that would be the most perfect-est yarn shop ever."

Then I thought, wouldn't be more perfect if I was the little shop keeper and my little cottage was a just a brisk walk away. Then I googled images of cottages and this one was "the one"!
Aren't day dreams fun!
Then I kept reading the blog article and found out it was a cheese shop. Delicous but somehow not as romantic!
Ps. I just ate a peanut M&M that didn't have a peanut. Wierd.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I've Been Inspired!

and I think, so has Mark!

When in McCall, Idaho Mark and I both eyed this book:

so I got it, keeping in mind that of course I would have to try out making some of them to be sure they weren't too tricky! I started with this little dog (making him brown to look like Mark's chocolate lab Chubby.

Then I got hooked! (Pun intended, you can't NOT make that pun when speaking of crochet!) So I gave Mark the book when I got to Oregon, so he could get started on a project. He began work on an octopus right away.

The final project is Oc...or Awk. I'm not sure if spelling was confirmed!

He did a really great job! To think that Mark has only been crocheting for about a year now! Then I got started on this cute little pear! I had to finish the green part of a shrug I'm making for my sister to be sure I would have enough yarn, but I got the green done, and did indeed have enough yarn for this pear ornament!
The Rogue Valley is especially known for their pears. They have a big Harry and David plant and store, as well as countless pear orchards. Luke's mom Neola can dehydrate pears like none other, and I have even brought some home with me! They're delicious! Also an amazing base for fruit leather! Anyway, since Luke's family is about to relocate to Grand Junction, Colorado I made this pear ornament to add to their "Remember Oregon and Pears" basket! Haha.
Then I made this cute little cupcake for my dear friend Cindy! She's sort of been on a cup cake craze suddenly aware of everything cupcake! This little guy was definitely in order! The purple yarn is one of Lynda's custom hand dyed yarns just for me, and Jay (Luke's youngest brother) helped me pick out the pretty crystal beads for sprinkles on one of our outings!

I picked out yarn for my happy lion on my first visit to The Websters in Ashland. He is made out of cotton yarn and for some reason makes me giddy! I searched many Michael's and JoAnn's for just the right yarn knowing I would want yellows and oranges for the lion and the duck, but if a line of yarn had an orange they didn't have a yellow and vice versa. It was very frustrating. BUT I knew that it would most likely be a safe bet to hold out for The Websters. Boy was I right. I had a hard time choosing between all the combinations of oranges and yellows! Some lines even had more than one option for both colors! I had a hard time choosing but every time I picked up the lion project the yarn and colors just made me giddy! My three favorite parts are his mane, mouth and tail!

Pictured below: Awk, Chubby, my stuffed black lab that Luke got me on an outing named Calusa after a golf course (super soft) and the turtle head is resting in Awk's arms. I had to include the turtle head for two reasons. 1.) Because he looks adorably like a little pea. and 2.) Because Mark got the perfect greens for the turtle at The Websters on our second trip there. I can't wait to see how it turns out! While at The Websters, he also got some rich brown yarn to begin a horse! He's on a roll ladies and gentlemen.

It's Contagious

Blogging that is. I recently updated my blog link list and figure I should at least introduce you to the most recent additions:
My View From Lakeview is my mother's blog. Here she gives insight to her experiences at Lakeview Cottages she plans to blog things like tips and tricks for staying at the cabins, as well as things she likes to do while at the cottages, and how she thinks of them while at home. She was previously linked as Thoughts From Around the Campfire, but changed the URL and it took a while to update the link on my blog.

D.A.N.I. is one of my dear childhood and adult friends! In fact, we just had dinner tonight! Olive Garden! Yum! She is an amazingly talented soccer player, and she is also amazingly talented at tolerating our ofter loud and sometimes obnoxious behavior. For those of you who have heard about "the Bugs," Dani is the Firefly, or lightning bug!

Neola's News is Luke's mom. In case I don't refer to him enough or tell you more than you want to know, Luke is my boyfriend. I met him in Idaho. I met Neola when Luke invited me to his home last school year for Thanksgiving! She is one of the most warm and friendly people you'll ever meet! She also taught me the best way to core and peel a pear! Yum! I helped her get her blog started so that she can keep her family and friends updated as the embark on a move from Phoenix, Oregon (20 minutes north of the California/Oregon border between Medford and Ashland) to Grand Junction, Colorado (3 hours West of Denver)!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Yummy Yarn!

While in Oregon, Luke and I visited one of my favorite stores in Ashland! We went to The Websters. I was like a kid in a candy shop! This store is one of the best yarn shop second in my mind only to Lynda's. (Prpbably because I learned a lot of what I know there, but anyway.)

There are walls of amazing yarn, made our of everything from silk and cotton to bamboo, and alpaca! There isnt even a color they dont have! They also sell many hand knit items, that are also displayed to provide unlimited inspiration!

They're so good, we had to go back the next Sunday, so I could show Mark and Neola! (Luke's brother and mom.)
My enjoyment of the store may also be influenced by Luke and my tradition of getting a caramel apple from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate factory across the street! :D

Thursday, January 1, 2009

On Twilight

Yes. I know, you're probably all groaning and rolling your eyes. You've all heard the tween girls gushing about the book, movie and "hunky" actors. When people told me about this book they were reading the involved vampires and werewolves and that I "just have to read it" I rolled my eyes too. I thought "that's just not my style." Then, I got bit by the bug. I borrowed my friend Cindy's audio version of the book. I was about to be heading to Oregon, the movie was about to be coming out, and I thought that if I was going to bash the book I better have at least tried the first book. (Kind of like not being able to say you don't like a food until you take a bite.)
Anyway I took a bite and immediately became a fan.

I knew it was good and that I enjoyed it, but since I had told myself I wouldn't blog until finals were over, I figured I would have to hold off on the Twilight books until finals were over too. Then, my mom said it would be okay if I download the second book through her Audible account. Oooh that was trouble. One click and I would have the second book, New Moon, on my iPod. Yikes! I was good. I didn't listen to it for a whole night. But I took my iPod to listen before the CBEST test started(which I passed by the way.) Then I decided I could just listen to it on my way home. THEN I decided I could just listen to it for a little bit when I got home. Next thing I knew it was 10:30 at night and I had to know how it ended or I just wouldn't sleep. Had I simply read the book I would have gotten through faster. Normally when I listen to books I knit and get things done while listening. Not this one. It sucked me in, I listened and lay on the couch, or on my bed. Ugh.

Then I said okay, now I'm really done until finals, I haven't blogged, I can stay away from Twilight. A few days later when I had stopped at Sam's Club for some shampoo, I saw a display of Eclipse books, just beconing me from their stand. I bought it. And finished it within 24 hours. And it was good. Lets just say, I finished reading Breaking Dawn in the 24 hours that followed. Once I was done I finished studying, and finished my semester successfully. What bewildered me was why I was so interested in these books. There are parts that are so cheesy, and disgustingly romantic, and over descriptive, yet I felt so attached! I loved them anyway! Out of curiosity I spent some time exploring the Official Website of Stephenie Meyer, the author. I learned that she was an English major and that a few of her favorite authors/biggest influences are Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, L.M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott. Hmmm, all authors of my favorite books! No wonder! Stephenie Meyer also makes enough references to core literature to fuel a high school English class for a couple years! Sigh. Its like all my favorite authors all rolled into one! I also particularly enjoy all her colorful words that create such vivid imagery!

AND aren't her book covers attractive!? The black with read is so dramatic! Luke puts golf posters framed on his wall, I'm pretty close to putting posters of the covers on mine!
Last but not least, I got books one and two for Christmas! Sooo if you're willing to read them (in a timely manner) you're welcome to borrow them, and then we can chat about them together! Tanya, Kim, and I enjoyed conversing at our knitting nights. Maybe you'll learn to knit too!

Ski Shasta!

Yesterday, Tuesday, Luke, Mark, Jay and I headed to Mt. Shasta Ski Park to ski! The weather and scenery were beautiful! Apparently everyone else thought so too, because it was pretty crowded!
Once I got through the "emotional trauma" of going down the first run, I went down a couple times again, but with more confidence.

Happy skiiers at the end of the day! I got to wear the hat I made, and I had to record the boys wearing the hats their mom got them when they were younger so she could find them more easily. Granted now they wear helmets, but since Luke forgot his and was going on some easier runs with me, he wore Marks, blue and purple "dreads" hat. Its true the hat really does make him easier to spot! Anyway, more on the hats later. There's gonna be a specific blog for the hats!

At the end of the ski day we headed home. When we looked back we saw:

This beautiful sunset glowing over the mountain!

(And my mom's Mickey Mouse ball, but hey, haha)