Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas is almost here...

I cannot believe that Christmas is next Friday! Where did all the time go?! I haven't been blogging in a while since I've been finishing up the fall semester and have been trying to finish Christmas gifts. First of all, I am so happy that the fall semester is over and that I did well in all of my classes. I am also excited to report that I graduated yesterday with my undergraduate degree! It is still trying to sink in because it does not feel real yet. I took two graduate courses this semester and am really motivated to continue after seeing the Master graduates yesterday. Hopefully, this will keep me motivated to continue when I'm ready to throw in the towel.

Now, to the really fun stuff! I have been knitting nonstop since my hubby gave me a set of KnitPicks Zephyr needles for my b-day. They are so light and the clear needle tips are so gorgeous. Also, the cables are much better than other brands I have tried. I will admit though, that I've been eyeing the new Signature circulars and I'm probably going to read every review I can find about them trying to convince myself that I "need" them (they are $40.00 a pair!).

Christmas knitting has been somewhat slow but I think I'm almost finished. Here are some of the patterns that I've been working on:

Leaf Lace Scarf by Janet D. Russell using KnitPicks Shadow Kettle Dyed in Bordeaux. This is my first lace weight project and I think I'm addicted to lace knitting now. I ended up purchasing a set of size US 4 Harmony wood tips to try with lace knitting as I read they are some of the best needles for lace. They are and they are so beautiful!!! This is also the project that I am enjoying the most at the moment so I have to make myself push this one aside to work on my other projects. :)

Strangling Vine Lace Scarf by Nicole Hindes using Caron Spa Bamboo yarn in Green Sheen. This pattern is knitting up beautifully but the yarn is a PITA to knit with as it slits like crazy. I will be happy when this project is finished and hopefully the recepient loves it.

I have a couple of other smaller projects, such as dishcloths and scrubbies. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish all of these in time for Christmas! I am also itching to cast on Citron by Hilary Smith Callis that was featured in the Winter issue of Knitty. I will use KnitPicks Shadow Kettle Dyed in Pacific using size US 6 Zephyr circulars. Maybe I'll be able to hold off on casting on this shawl until all gifts have been finished.

Have a safe and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Knitty Updates

Life has been very busy lately with only one month left in the semester. Here are a few of my latest projects that have helped me keep my sanity.

This scarf is Rosalie's School Scarf by Nancy Fry. It is based on a scarf worn by Rosalie Hale during the lunchroom scene in Twilight. It has been a very fun knit and I have four feet knit with another foot to go. I've decided that this scarf will be mine and I might have a skein of yarn leftover to make another scarf. I'm using Caron Simply Soft in Off-White single stranded on US 7 needles.

I tried my first beret! This pattern is Spring Beret by Natalie Larson. I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease, which was probably too thick for this pattern but the hat is sooooo warm. I'd like to try making another one with some cotton yarn to get the slouchy effect I was going for. This is another knit that I'm going to keep for me! I really need to focus on Christmas knitting as I still have a lot left to accomplish between now and the holidays.

Finally, a knit that was a gift. I made this scarf as a late birthday present for my cousin. It was my first experience with Caron Simply Soft Eco, which has recycle plastic bottles in the yarn, and I was surprised to find that it was enjoyable to knit with. This pattern is Branching Out by Susan Pierce Lawrence and can be found at This was my first non-sock lace project and I am now completely addicted to lace! In fact, I just placed an order with KnitPicks and bought yarn (lace and fingering weights) for more lacy scarves.

By the way, my cousin loved her scarf and I had quite a few family members place orders for this Christmas. I'm already knitting dishcloths for everyone this year and am debating whether I can fit in a couple more scarves between now and then, not to mention a pair of socks for my youngest cousin who fell in love with my Sugary Sweet socks. I'm thinking about sticking with the dishcloths for this Christmas and taking some patterns with me during Christmas and letting family members "place orders" for next year. What do you think?

As always, thanks for looking and happy crafting! It will probably be a while before I post again as the semester is drawing to an end but I'm hoping to get a lot of knitting done over Thanksgiving break.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sugary Sweet Finish

I finished my Sugary Sweet Ankle Socks this morning! The pattern worked up very nicely with this yarn and was quite enjoyable. I'd like to try this pattern again with two full skeins of yarn so that I can make full socks instead of anklets. As you can probably guess, Oriental Butterfly did not get any attention this week but I'm going to work on it this afternoon. I'm also debating starting another pair of socks, but I really need to finish my BFF Gloves or they will never get finished!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Quick Updates

Here are a couple of really quick updates! I started this sock this week as a way to do something that didn't require much thought while studying for exams. The pattern is by Wendy Johnson and is called Double Eyelet Rib Socks. I really like how its turning out! I'm using one US 1 (2.25mm) Knitpicks nickel-plated circular to do magic loop and the yarn is Patons Stretch Socks in the color Sugar.

As you can probably guess, I didn't work on Oriental Butterfly much this week. I've been in a knitting mood lately...maybe it's the cooler weather. Here is my progress so far:

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

First Post of October!

Wow, I cannot believe I have not posted anything for October! This is proving to be a busy school month and I'm currently prepping for mid-terms and trying to complete assignments. I've worked on Oriental Butterfly, but all my other projects have been on the back burner. OB is really coming together nicely and I'm still really enjoying it. Well, I'm off to find some chocolate and then at least finish the scroll area around the medallion tonight. Thanks for looking!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Oriental Butterfly

Here is my progress on Oriental Butterfly. I started stitching Friday afternoon and filled in the orange area of the wing this morning. So far, I am really enjoying this piece and love the colors (even though the picture does not show them that well). This will be a nice project to work on at night after classes or work. Also, I bought a 10" Susan Bates plastic hoop from Michael's to use with this project because I was determined to like using a hoop. This hoop works very well and I actually like it, so mission accomplished!

I'm also trying to finish my first Reclamation Scarf so that I can cast on another one for Christmas presents. Assignments are starting to pile up and mid-terms are looming in the not too distant future, so who know how much free time I'll have to complete Christmas presents this year. At the very least, hopefully, I'll be able to crank out some more dishcloths!

As always, thanks for looking!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Inspiration Behind Feline Love

Here are my two fur-babies, June (aka Junebug on the left) and Buddy (right). When I saw the picture for Feline Love online, I knew I had to make that one!

**Please note that this is a personal picture and should not be copied or used without the permission of the owner. Thank you.**

Finish and New Projects

Feline Love is completely finished! I finished up the back stitching while on campus Tuesday, but could not figure out how to do the french knots. Tonight, I found a video on youtube that really helped explain french knots and I was finally able to make them. Feline Love turned out very well and I can't wait to frame it!

After classes this afternoon, I went to Michael's and picked up another Dimension kit called "Oriental Butterfly." This is a rather large project, so it will probably take me a while to finish this one! I think this is a gorgeous design and hope to give it to my sister as a gift (maybe for Christmas?). Look out for updates...

I also purchased the pattern for Reclamation Scarf by Stefanie Japel. So far, the pattern is really pretty and I look forward to seeing how it turns out. This scarf will make a great Christmas present too!
My BFF gloves are also coming along as I was able to do a few cable repeats this week during lunch.

Thanks for looking and happy crafting!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Feline Love Almost Complete

Feline Love is really close to being completed. I started stitching the outline of the butterfly this morning and all I have left is to fill it in and do the back stitching detail. I've been working on this for a month but it feels like I just started it. Hopefully, I will be able to get it framed fairly quickly so I can hang it in my living room. I will post a picture of my progress later as I'm too lazy at the moment to go take a picture.

Originally, I had planned to go to Michael's today to pick up another kit but might not make it (will probably have to wait until Tuesday after classes). I am thinking about purchasing Oriental Butterfly by Dimensions or some kind of hummingbird kit if I can't find a hummingbird pamphlet. I think that my sister would like Oriental Butterfly, but I'm not sure if I'd be able to complete it by Christmas as I've read that it's pretty big. So, once I complete Feline Love this weekend (hubby is going off to a race tomorrow so I'm taking advantage of some down time), maybe I'll finally be able to finish reading Storm of Visions by Christina Dodd or work on BFF gloves a bit.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Busy, busy...

Well, I can see that my plan to update this blog at least once a week is working out very well....not really. This past week was the third week of classes and I am already feeling very burned out. I think that not having a true break over the summer did not help; I spent the first part of the summer studying for the GMAT to get into grad school by the first of July and the second part of the summer in an online class that I equated to ripping off a band-aid. The class was five intensely painful weeks that was over about as quickly as it started! So, I'm taking my current classes one week at a time and trying to make it through.

Last weekend was Labor Day weekend and I had Monday off of work and no classes on Tuesday, which gave me a nice long four-day weekend! It was very much needed! Monday, it rained literally all day long so I was able to get a lot done on Feline Love. I was also finally able to start on the second fingerless glove to my BFF set.

Here is what I have done so far of my second BFF glove. I got through the 12 rows of the cuff and need to do one cable increase row before starting on the cable pattern. At this rate, it may be finished by next Christmas! That may be okay though, since I am seriously considering keeping these for myself. ;)

Feline Love is coming along much faster now that I've completed the cats, which were full cross stitches. As you can see, I am down to the bottom right corner of the chart. I can't wait to see this completed with all of the back stitching detail. Hopefully, I will finish this project next weekend as I have a very intense week coming up and will need the weekend to wind down a bit.

Later today I am going to the bookstore to pick up my signed copies of Nicholas Sparks new book, The Last Song. It has worked out that for the past few years, he has had a book signing every fall and I have been able to buy my grandmother a copy for her birthday in December. Of course, I can never wait until December and always give the book to her asap. This year is no different and I cannot wait to give her his latest book. I basically started this tradition when my granddad got sick with lung cancer and then heart disease and my grandmother was staying with him in the hospital. I gave her a copy of The Notebook to distract her and help her "escape" for a little while. Now, she loves Nicholas Sparks' books and asks me frequently when his next book is coming out. I just smile, say that I'm not sure, and then show up a couple of months later with a signed copy made out just for her. It warms my heart to see the look of shock and excitement on her face every single time.
As always, thanks for looking!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School!

As you can tell by the title, it's back to school this week. Classes start tomorrow and I am hoping that I have not bit off more than I can chew by enrolling in two undergraduate courses and two graduate courses. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue knitting and cross stitching with this busy schedule. I have a four hour break inbetween my morning and afternoon classes so I plan to take something to work on during that time besides studying.

Anyways, here are some updated pics of Feline Love. Junebug, aka "The Craft Kitty", always helps with my projects. She especially likes scrapbooking, well, she mostly likes to lay on my photos and layouts as I'm laying everything out. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep up the momentum on Feline Love as I am really liking how it's turning out. Schedule permitting, I'll try to post updates at least weekly.

Have I mentioned how much I am loving my Q-Snap? It fits perfectly in my hand and is holding the fabric tension much better than the cheap plastic hoop I was using from the Hummingbird kit. It is also making this hobby much more enjoyable as I'm not fighting the tool I'm using. Isn't it funny how we can be so picky about our tools? I feel the same way about knitting needles and scrapbooking tools, so I guess this obsession crosses hobby boundaries which is probably good for the industry.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Feline Love Update

During many of the car rides we took on our vacation I was able to read all of Sherrilyn Kenyon's latest book, Bad Moon Rising, and work on my Feline Love cross stitch project. Bad Moon Rising was a book that I had looked forward to for a long time since I fell in love with the main characters early in the series. I am thrilled with their story and look forward to the next book in the series! Now, I am reading Christina Dodd's latest, Storm of Visions.

I was not sure if cross stitch needles were allowed on planes so I packed my needle and scissors into my checked luggage and placed my other supplies into my carry-on so they would not get messed up. I purchased a 6 x 6 Q-Snap the day before we left and would have been really upset if it had gotten messed up! We did a lot of driving during our trip which provided the perfect opportunity to cross stitch. I found that the Q-Snap was much better than the hoop that I was trying to use and was easier for me to hold in my hand. I think I'm hooked! The following are pictures of what I managed to accomplish this week. I've almost completed the far right side of the chart. Also, on the return flight a lady was sitting in front of me making Christmas ornaments and I was so disappointed that I'd packed my needle in my luggage! At least I was able to finish reading my book, but I will take my cross stitch with me next time.

Vegas Vacation

Yesterday, we returned from our week long trip to Las Vegas. It was a fabulous, but very busy, vacation. The plane ride on Saturday from Charlotte to Vegas took a little over four hours and I managed to read some of my book and knit an entire dishcloth during the flight. That afternoon we bought snacks and drinks at Wal-Mart then managed to squeeze a nap (we had to wake up at 3:30AM to catch our first flight) in before the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur where we stayed. The next day, we woke up bright and early to drive to the Grand Canyon. On the way, we stopped at the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon Caverns. The Hoover Dam was amazing and the Caverns would have been interesting if the tour guide had actually used some geological facts in his tour. Instead, it consisted of a lot of corny jokes. We arrived at the Grand Canyon and checked into our hotel in time to catch a bus to Hopi Point to watch the sunset. It was absolutely breathtaking!

Monday, we traveled around the Grand Canyon, stopping at various view points. We also went to Sunset Crater and Walnut Canyon. Tuesday, we took it easy for the most part and had dinner at Emeril's. It was one of the best dinners we had all week. Wednesday, we were on the road again, visiting the Shelby Museum, Valley of Fire, and Red Rock Canyon. It was a long day, but worth every moment. We tried to go to Fremont Street after dinner at Rainforest Cafe but, for some reason, the buses were not running on schedule and we gave up. In fact, my husband and I never made it to Fremont Street but after getting stuck in the crowds at Treasure Island we decided it was not worth it for us.
Thursday was our last day in Vegas and was the most fun my husband and I had all week. We traveled with his family and this was our first day to explore completely on our own and just be together. We had breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas (I highly recommend this restaurant for breakfast - C'est tres bien!). I had waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream while my husband had eggs, toast, sausage, and bacon. He was really unnerved by the menu as the restaurant did use some French terms, but I think he liked it. After breakfast, we walked around the Bellagio and Ceasar's Palace. Thursday was also the day that we FINALLY got to go to the pool! I had been looking forward to going swimming all week and was so happy when we finally did. Afterwards, we grabbed a light lunch (it was around 3:30) and went to the Fashion Show Mall, which was huge, and then Madame Tussands. I did not realize that Madame Tussands was so interactive and they included props for you to use in photos with the waxed figures. It was very fun and completely worth the cost. We had planned to see the car collection at the Imperial Palace but got there at 7:00, not knowing that the exhibit closed at 6:00. Hubby was bummed but we had a great dinner at the Outback Steakhouse located near M&M World (yes, we went there too and bought way too many M&M's). It was probably the best dinner we had all week.
Overall, it was a tiring week. My husband and I have decided that if we ever go back we will skip Las Vegas and spend more time at the Grand Canyon since we were both very disappointed that we did not have more time to spend there. Now, I need a vacation to recover from our vacation!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First Fingerless Gloves

This project started as Cookie A's BFF Sock pattern from As I finished the leg (according to the pattern) and was ready to start working on the heel I decided to try these as gloves instead of socks. I added more length by knitting additional cable pattern repeats (I ended up with 12 altogether from the cuff). Then I knit 3 cable patterns going back and forth on the right side and wrong side of the knitting to create the thumb hole. I suggest that you knit the first two stitches on needle one onto needle four (using 5 double pointed needles) so that as you transition back into knitting in the round the stitches do not stretch across the gap. Then continue to work 3 more rounds of the cable pattern, finishing with 5 rows of K2P2 Rib and binding off in the pattern. I used KnitPicks 2.5mm nickel plated double pointed needles and Heart and Sole sock yarn by Red Heart in Tequila Sunrise. This colorway worked beautifully!

I only have one glove completed at the moment and am waiting to do the next one on circular needles using Magic Loop as I found working with the cable needle and double pointed needles too fiddly. These will be a present for Christmas, but I have not decided who will be the recipient yet.

More Feline Love...

I am feeling better today but am very tired; not sure if it's the antibiotics or the infection itself.

The top right corner of Feline Love is completed. Now, I'm working down the right side of the pattern.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Feline Love

When I purchased the beginner's kit at Michael's I also picked up this kit by Dimensions called "Feline Love." So far, it has required a lot of half stitches which has made this project go somewhat faster than anticipated. I have completed the top right corner but have not taken a picture yet as I am too lazy at the moment. The right side of the window is completed and I just finished the rocks in the upper right corner of the chart. I'm hoping to be able to work on this some more this week but just found out today that I have a bladder infection. Hopefully, the antibiotics will kick in and I will feel better before we leave for Vegas on Saturday.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hummingbird Update and Finish

I finished my first cross stitch project and really like how it turned out. Here is a pic of the finished cross stitch portion before adding the back stitch detail:

Here it is after adding the detail stitching. It's amazing what a difference the detailing makes on the finished project. Hopefully I'll be able to find a frame for this one this weekend as it will be a Christmas present and I do not want it to get dirty between now and then.

My current WIP is "Feline Love" by Dimensions. I was very happy to find this kit at Michael's because the cats look just like my two cats. I've almost completed one square of the chart and it is hard to see since the stitches are white and silver, but I may try to take a picture of it. I am also currently working on knit Christmas gifts too and just finished one fingerless glove and need to start on the second one. I plan to take some cotton yarn with me on our trip to Las Vegas (3 hour plane ride) to work on more dishcloths for Christmas.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

First Cross Stitch

I was determined to make it through my online class before starting anymore projects. Once I finished my final exam, I went to Michael's and picked up two cross stitch kits. I'm currently working on a beginner "Learn a Craft" kit by Dimensions. I'm hoping that it turns out well because I plan to frame it to give to my grandmother for Christmas (she LOVES hummingbirds!).

2009 Book List Continued

It's been a while since I've updated this list but there's not much to add as I've been busy, busy, busy with school!

Bloodline by Maggie Shayne
Some Like it Wicked by Teresa Medeiros
Some Like it Wild by Teresa Medeiros

Next up: So into You by Sandra Hill
Storm of Visions by Christina Dodd
Bad Moon Rising by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I'm planning to take Christina Dodd and Sherrilyn Kenyon's books with me to Las Vegas in two weeks (if I can wait that long!!!) so I'll be sure to have a book that I cannot put down on the plane ride.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Knitting Needle Comparisons

I read in a forum somewhere that the Susan Bates Silverado circular knitting needles are very comparable to Addi knitting needles. First off, I love the feel of the Addi needles. They are incredibly smooth and the yarn just glides over them, but they are expensive for someone like myself who is trying to grow their needle collection ($17 each!). So, after researching needles, I decided to try the Susan Bates Silverado needles and see if I liked them as much since they are around $6 a pair. The SBS are much, much better than the Boye needles with a more flexible cable and SBS does not have the coating that Boye needles have that drives me crazy because it rubs off and causes the needle to be rough. In comparison to the Addi's, the SBS have pointier tips (a big plus), nice flexible cables, and are nice to work with. The only negative I have for the SBS is the join where the cable meets the needle. I probably will try HiyaHiya or Knitpicks needles instead of purchasing SBS again, but I like that I can purchase SBS locally. I have two sock circulars by Knitpicks (sizes 1 & 2) and they are awesome with very smooth joins, very flexible cables, nice pointy tips for fingering weight yarn, and are great for Magic Loop Method! Recently I started reading a lot of discussions on Ravelry about the 9" circulars by HiyaHiya. I'd really like to try these for sock knitting after I decide which needle size I prefer.

Booklist 2009

Here is a list of the books I've read in 2009:
  • One Silent Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dark-Hunter Series)
  • Thigh High by Christina Dodd
  • Danger in a Red Dress by Christina Dodd (currently reading)