Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Simply Knitting

This knitting magazine published in England is one I pick up at my book store every month. Not only do you get the magazine but each issue comes with a free gift. The last issue was a knitters gauge. I like the illustrations this magazine has showing knitting and some crochet techniques. If a pattern has a special technique, the pictures are right there to show how to do it. In addition to the patterns it includes designer interviews, informative articles, yarn and book review, and websites.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

knitting Fiction

In the last couple weeks I've gotten 3 new novels with knitting as the theme. One more I had gotten a while back so isn't new. What could be better?

Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik is the one I've had for awhile and the only one I've read completely at this time. It is about 3 women who get together weekly to knit and the close bond they have developed. Main plot is the love interests of each of them. A typical, predictable plot but the references to knitting make it an enjoyable, light read. The back of the book states, "these three friends learn that there are never any easy answers, except maybe one-that when the going gets tough, the tough get knitting."

The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood is described, "In this poignant and powerfully uplifting novel, a mother turns to knitting to help deal with the loss of her child and discovers, beyond simple recovery, a whole new realm of friendship and understanding."

Chicks with Sticks by Elizabeth Lenhard was in the teen literature section at Barnes and Noble, but in regular fiction at Borders, so don't know where it fits. The description reads, "For teens juggling the works-in-progress that are friendship, first love, and surviving high school-knitting all the while-here's another fun, cozy read, complete with four all-new projects."

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs is about a yarn shop owner, her daughter and several women who gather at a yarn shop once a week. A very diverse group who are bonded together through things in their life by their knitting. I have read about 1/3 of this book and am enjoying it. Although the plot seems typical, the character studies makes it a bit more interesting. This is the book the movie Julia Roberts is going to be in is based on. She will be playing Georgia, the yarn shop owner and should be out in 2008. Two websites that have information about the book are www.fridaynightknittingclub.com and www.walkeranddaughter.com which is the name of the shop in the book.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Saturday Sky January 27, 2007

Beautiful blue sky behind the conservatory at Como Park in St. Paul. The sky looks nice, but temperature has been dropping all day and is now 12 degrees with a vicious wind.
Today, we attended the Orchid Show as part of the St. Paul Winter Carnival and saw and photographed some beautiful orchids. To see some go to my other blog > http://photoeveryday2007.blogspot.com <>


Friday, January 26, 2007

Berroco Wristlets

I just had to have a pair of wristlets, but couldn't find the exact pattern I wanted, so made my own pattern.
The cable pattern is Cloverleaf Eyelet from "Ribbing-Plain & Fancy" by E.J. Slayton. The pattern was given to me as a gift, so I don't know if it is available at Yarn Shops. There is an e-mail address in the book, which could give you information > joy@joyknits.com <.The book has a basic sock pattern, different rib patterns, different heel options and a chart for socks of all sizes.
The yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca, so they are super warm, and size 6 needle. Now that I have them, they really aren't warm enough for routine wear in MN, but they are wonderful when I am outside taking pictures.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Alpaca Felted Mittens

Hopefully I haven't posted these before! They are mittens from Plymouth Alpaca Grande made on large needles (surprise, surprise, I can't find the pattern and don't remember what size-11, I think), so were a fast knit. The pattern is a free pattern with yarn purchase at Amazing Threads. The thing I don't like about alpaca is that is has small bumps after felting. Anyone know why and can it be prevented???


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Saturday Sky January 20, 2007

Bell Tower at North Hennepin Community College. Note the rooster-partially cut off-on the left. The golden spud that used to be on the top has not been replaced after it was stolen and found. The college is built on land that used to be a potato farm.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Helix Hat and Mittens

Every year at MN Knitters' Days, people bring yarn to sell. This year a bag of Encore in these 3 colors plus red enticed me to buy, since Encore is my favorite yarn for charity knitting. This bag had a couple balls of white yarn which I didn't want to use alone for children, so wondered if I could make striped mittens using Joan Hamer's technique of making jogless stripes in her pattern for the Helix hat. It worked. Essentially, you knit 1/3 of the stitches in Color A, and drop the yarn, the 2nd 3rd of the stitches in color B, and the 3rd 3rd in color C. When you get to the beginning of the round you continue the first 3rd of the stitches with color C. Color A is waiting there, waiting to knit the 2nd 3rd where Color B is waiting for the last 3rd. The pattern for the Helix Hat can be found on Joan's blog. http://joanknits.blogspot.com in the November, 2005 posting. Maybe her pattern explains it clearer.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Military Helmet Liners

With more troops being sent to Iraq, the need for helmet liners and hats is increased. My first reaction was "why do they need these if they are in the desert?" , but our troops are subjected to sub-zero windchills. The hats are made from Cascade 220 or similar weight wool yarn because the wool is warmer than synthetics. One hat can be made from one ball on size 8 needles in black, charcoal, brown, tan, olive drab but black is the preferred color. One of the members of my Culver's KnitWits has found a man in the National Guard who works with the people being deployed from Camp McCoy, so he gives them right to the people who also can take extras for people already over there.

The pattern is available at www.geocities.com/helmetliner


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Saturday Sky January 13, 2007

Winter has arrived in MN! Not a lot of snow remains, but the temperature has fallen. At 4PM our thermometer shows almost 14 degrees and this morning it was only 3 degrees.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Winter Grab Bag

Pattern: My Bagatelle. Pattern comes in a plastic packet with the materials needed to needlefelt, embroider, and bead the embellishments for this and another bag with a snowman on the front. There are at least 2 other similar patterns, one with autumn leaves and the other with Christmas greenery.
Yarn: Cascade 220.
The bag was fun to knit. The needlefelting was a little bit of a challenge. I always think I can do something better or easier than the directions say, but in this case I learned the hard way that the directions are the best way. The little beads add just the right amoung of sparkle.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Fiber Trends Felted Clogs

When I posted the picture of the slippers when I finished knitting them, I asked for opinions on whether I should felt them first or give them to my son's "significant other" unfelted. The opinions on the blog and in my knitting classes were to give them to her unfelted. She received them for Christmas and knew right away what they were as she had admired mine just a few days before. Saturday night we felted them together and had a wonderful night. Not only did we felt, but she made a wonderful lasagna and we played "Apples to Apples" with her, my son, and 3 grandchildren. See loves the slippers. Oh! Don't look at my son's laundry room-he said I didn't have permission to post that! I think it looks pretty good for a single father who is primary parent for 3 children ages 10, 8, and 5!


Monday, January 08, 2007

Christmas Angels

Today we took down our Christmas decorations so I was able to take a picture of the angel who topped our tree this year. We simplified our decorating, so when we put up the tree we didn't unpack all the boxes including the one with our usual topper, but I received this gift from one of my Culver's Knitwits. She said she made them out the "Angels" book, so I'm assuming it is "Angels A Knitter's Dozen" by Gerdine Strong published by XRX. As much as I love to knit lace, I must admit, I've only knit one from this book and to this day it is not put together. The ones I received were put together with a hot glue gun, so there might be hope for mine if I can find all the pieces!


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Saturday Sky January 6, 2007

Sunny and warm-for MN-35 degrees at 1:30 PM. Snow that was predicted for last night did not materialize. A previous record hight temp was matched on Thursday so we've having an unusually warm winter.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christmas Memories

While baking Christmas cookies, I was listening to Garrison Keillor's CD, "Now it is Christmas Again" and he said something to the effect that the holidays are a time to gather together family, friends and memories. My "traditional" holiday cookies bring special memories to me. Pictured above are Sally Ann cookies. A few years ago when I was still working, some co-workers and I searched for a cookie recipe like the Aunt Sally cookies we remembered from our youth. (Great big Spam can shaped mollasses cookies with a thick, hard frosting). These cookies were the closest, but I told my co-workers, "but they're not hard." They looked at each other and said Aunt Sally cookies weren't hard. Mine were! Maybe it was a situation similar to the memories my children have of the special, stale potato chips they had at Grandma's house.

I did cut down on my baking this year, but two other cookies I had to make and also with special memories are the Spritz (my grandmother's recipe, but her's were always shaped like "S's") and Working Girl Cookies. The Working Girl cookies use the egg whites left over from the yolks in the Spritz and are essentially a meringue with mint flavored chips. The name comes from the fact that you put them in the oven, turn off the heat and let them sit all day or all night. It is a recipe of my aunt's. I just saw a similar meringue cookie recipe using crushed candy cane. I might try that next year as it is impossible to find the mint flavored chocolate chips.


Monday, January 01, 2007

Christmas Stockings

These are the first four of the nine Christmas stockings I've made for my grandchildren. The pattern is from "Two Old Bags" and has a choice of twelve designs, so the children were able to choose their own. What made it more interesting, I showed them the color card from a Norwegian wool, Strickgarn and let them choose the two colors they wanted. I must admit, I questioned some of the color choices, but they did turn out nicely. As each new grandchild was born, the parents picked out the design and colors so the rest are more traditional. (The picture has the stocking on the steps because they were still too full and heavy to hang on the fireplace.)