Monday, February 27, 2012

An Elephant Emerges

Finally, the hats are finished!!! Not only finished, but given to their recipients! They seemed quite happy to see them, especially since we finally had some decent snowy weather that tends to require thick, warm winter hats.

 As you can imagine, I was so excited to be finished with them that I immediately cast on for Elijah the elephant. I started him (or her) on Saturday and before I knew it the head was finished...

Then, next thing I knew the body had somehow materialized by Sunday morning.

I did my normal Sunday routine of laundry, house cleaning and grocery shopping. Sam and I even managed to catch a movie which we rarely do. Even with all that, by Sunday afternoon Elijah could walk.

Currently, one arm is finished and the second arm is close to finished, but I didn't get good pictures of it before I went to bed. Before I know it, there will be ears and it'll be finished!!! I don't know what's making this project go so fast. I'm thinking it's because it's not another winter hat!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Change up

Sorry to change the look around here, but green's my favorite color so it only seemed right to have a green blog! I can't guarantee that this is the end of my tinkering, but we'll see!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's here!

I love when new yarn arrives. There's something special about opening up that package and getting excited about the prospect of new projects.

I mentioned that I have more knits that I've been commissioned to make and I've finally gotten around to buying the yarn needed for them. First is some Knitpicks Comfy Sport yarn in gray to make Elijah.

I've made this pattern several times before (who could resist, especially when I had twin nieces on the way?). It really is a lot of fun to knit and the finished project always turns out nice no matter what yarn I'm using.

I chose the Comfy yarn because it's a cotton and acrylic blend which I feel would wear better. Not to mention I just don't like knitting with straight up acrylic.

The next project is George the Giraffe. I've never made it before, but I can see myself making some changes on it already. I think the legs would be better if they were more like Elijah's legs, so I think I'll alter the pattern that way, but other than that, I'll probably keep it the same.

I'll be using that same Comfy yarn as Elijah. It is soft and I'm sure it will be wonderful as a toy. Cotton does tend to hurt my hands a bit, but I'm hoping the tiny bit of acrylic with give it a bit more stretch than normal.

Now all I have to do is finish the last hat I was commissioned for. (I'm more than halfway finished! HALLELUIAH!!) I didn't think I'd get sick of knitting that hat pattern, but I tell you, after about the fifth one it's been making me a little squirrely. It takes all my willpower not to pick up another project just for some variety!

This Saturday starts the beginner sock class I'm teaching at one of the LYSs in the area. From what I've been told there will be about 6 people! I plan on teaching a basic sock pattern using DPNs with a heel flap, turned heel and normal decreased toe with Kitchener stitch at the end. Truth be told, I haven't knit a sock like that in a long time! I much prefer the Magic Loop method with short-row heels and toes. I modify all the sock patterns I use to have short rows. They just fit my foot better, plus I don't have to mess with picking up stitches. What's your favorite type of sock to knit?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The tale of my (somewhat) green thumb.

I've never considered myself a "green-thumb." Most of the time I kept plants alive, but they never really thrived. I'm not sure why. I watered them, put them in places I thought they'd like, but they always just sort of hung out. They rarely bloomed or sprouted new leaves. I didn't take much time trying to figure it out. They weren't dying, that was about all I cared about. My apartments just weren't right for them I supposed.

My tiny orchid
I've never bought plants except for an African Violet here or there (which, I must admit, I never did well with even though I'd heard they were impossible to screw up...) Most of the plants are ones I've acquired from friends or family who've moved out of town, or in my brother's case, out of country! Others were gifts from my mother, like a tiny little orchid that was absolutely adorable.

Since Sam and I moved into the apartment we're now living in, I've noticed quite a change. All my plants love it here, which has stirred a kind of love in me of watching the plants do well. I have a spider plant which my cat, Ludo, decimated several years back. Ludo is the kind of cat who loves to chew on grass. Spider plants are definitely grass-like and if it was in his reach, he was chewing on it. In this apartment, that spider plant has taken off, it's grown about ten shoots with baby spider plants on the ends.

My african violet finally started blooming and hasn't stopped for a good two or three months! I even got an orchid that I've had since my brother moved away grow new leaves, tons of roots and finally flowers! I can't tell you how excited that made me! And that tiny little orchid my mom got for me bloomed as well. 

I truly never thought I'd get so much enjoyment from watching plants thrive, but I suppose we have more sides to ourselves than even we're aware of.

Last weekend Sam and I were getting ready to head out for our weekly grocery store run when we heard a crash in the kitchen. Ludo had gotten on the counter where the orchids are so he could better reach the spider plant babies. In the process, he knocked over my tiny orchid which fell on the floor. The flower stem broke off and one of the leaves, but the rest was intact. I nearly started crying. I was heartbroken.

I was angry at Ludo (though it wasn't like he was trying to knock over the orchid, but he was trying to kill the spider plant again!) and I was just sad that all those days I spent watching the plant grow and the buds get bigger and bloom only to see it damaged...

My new orchid
Needless to say, Sam and I rearranged some things to get the spider plant out of Ludo's reach so this won't happen again. And because Sam is the most awesome boyfriend ever, I came home to this on Valentine's Day:

He knew how sad I was about the tiny orchid, so he went out and bought me a new one. It's not tiny, but it is awesome! I've never seen one like it before and I don't know the first thing about all the different kinds of orchids there are. All I know is that I like them and I can finally grow them!

I'm beginning to see a bit of green on my thumb....

As for knitting, I haven't been doing too much of it except for the hats I was commissioned to make. I've finished two of the three so far. They are quick knits and I'd probably be finished with all three of them if I hadn't gotten caught up in the book I'm reading. I finished the their Game of Thrones book: A Storm of Swords. Woah, that man can write. I certainly got caught up in it and couldn't put it down. Poor Sam hasn't seen much of me this week except for sitting on the couch devouring my book! Thankfully, I finished it, which just makes me want to pick up the next in the series, but I'll hold off. (The house won't clean itself and I'd prefer to have clean clothes to wear) If only I could be a hermit who reads and knits and grows plants all day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

When things go missing...

I have been very busy this past week, but the good part is it was mostly fun busy like getting together with friends and family. A lot of my knitting time is being taken up with things I've been commissioned to knit. Three of my coworkers have asked for hats and baby toys so I've been working on those almost exclusively. Unfortunately that means putting the Beekeeper's Quilt on hold for a bit. That makes me a bit sad since those hexipuffs are so much fun to knit.

The other morning Sam took our dog, Knox, to work with him (Sam manages a doggy day care so that's really not such a strange thing to do) About a half hour after he left, I got a call from him. This was a little weird since I never really get calls from him once he's gone to work unless it's something really important. He called to tell me when Knox went to the bathroom something unusual came out. Knox was never really one to get into things he shouldn't unless it was somehow related to food so when Sam told me he ate something I was a little bit shocked. I was more shocked when Sam told me he ate a hexipuff!!!
Knox and me. He's all innocence, isn't he?

After getting over the shock, then the relief that it didn't get stuck in him somewhere (I've helped pull stranger things out of dog's stomachs!) I was then immediately struck with the thought: 'Oh dear, I hope it wasn't one of the good ones!" Turns out it was Malabrigo... that stings a little.

The hexipuffs have now been assigned a high shelf on the bookcase so wandering mouths don't inhale them. You would think it would be the three cats that would get into my yarn and projects. Apparently that's just not the case in my house!

Monday, February 6, 2012


Since my last post, I've been writing in my journal pretty faithfully every day. It's only been a few days, but the more I write, the easier it is. It's not so hard to come up with what the most meaningful part of my day was, nor is it hard to discover three things I'm grateful for that day. I may even need to increase that number. I really do enjoy focusing more on the positive things and letting the negative things go. Sure negative things still happen, but dwelling on them makes them worse.

I did some major cleaning/organizing this past weekend. It seems to me that organizing is another way to feel happier. When everything is disorganized and thrown all over the place with no order, it seems that my thinking is the same way. Once everything is back in it's place, I feel calm inside.

One of my organizing tasks was to go through some yarn I have, mostly ends and leftovers. I have a lot of left over sock yarn, mostly because I've made a lot of socks. It's funny, I don't consider myself a huge sock knitter, but it seems I always have a pair on the needles. It's a portable project and for me, that's important. I'm always running around so having a small project to work on is key.

A few years ago (that's right, I said years) I decided to start a project made entirely out of leftover sock yarn. It's a simple granny square blanket where I lined each square with a black border. In all those years, this picture shows how far I've gotten. I'm not even much of a crocheter, but occasionally I feel like doing something different.

Each square is about 3.5" x 3.5" I estimate the total blanket size so far is about 3' x 4'

Given how long it's taken me to get this far, I imagine it's still going to be another couple of years before I finish this thing. I haven't even decided at this point how big I want the finished project to be. I'll probably settle for a nice lap-sized blanket because it seems my attention is being diverted to another project that uses up old sock yarn leftovers...

Meet the Beekeeper's Quilt. This is my version as it stands. Another project that will probably take years to complete. I suppose that's alright as long as I have more people to knit socks for. Actually, at this point, I've been knitting socks for so long that some of my first socks need replacing because they are wearing through. (I've been knitting for about 14 years, so yeah... even nylon won't stand up to that kind of wear!)

Friday, February 3, 2012


I came across a video today that completely inspired me. For awhile now I've been interested in positive psychology and how it relates to happiness because, let's face it, it's just more pleasant to be happy. This is absolutely up my alley because there's just something fascinating about the mind (says the girl who majored in psychology.)

If you've never heard of TED talks, I highly recommend them. They are wildly inspiring and as it says, ideas worth spreading. This particular talk I came across from a man named Shawn Achor and it's truly amazing. If you have 12 minutes to kill, it's worth watching, even if you're not interested in this stuff, he's pretty humorous:

If you don't have time to watch it here's the jist: There are things you can do to re-train your mind and by doing so have a brighter outlook on life which leads to better performance and ultimately happiness. The research showed it makes a difference when done every day for three weeks.

1. Write down three things you're most grateful for.
2. Exercise
3. Journal about the most meaningful thing that happened to you in the last 24 hours.
4. Meditate
5. Write something positive to someone in your social support network.

I've always been one to write in a journal, but never really with much of a purpose other than to keep track of what happened in my life, bad or good. I think it would be great to try this with a goal in mind.

So as not to leave you with absolutely no knitting, or fiber related anything, I'll show you some progress I've made on the merino/alpaca spinning I've been doing.

It's so luscious, I can't wait to knit with it!