Friday, April 27, 2012

Seasonal Allergies

Sticks and String
Some people knit for different seasons... cotton in the spring/summer, wool in the fall/winter. Lightweight shawls in the summer, heavy sweaters in the winter. Me, I just knit.  Living in AK, I feel that it is always appropriate to wear wool. I almost always knit with wool. I love wool... it is rare that I even knit with wool that can be machine washed. I don't mind hand washing things, and because I love to knit colorwork, non-washable wool works best for me.

I don't tend to choose my projects based on season, since I don't knit for myself... I like to knit accessories, toys, and things for Sawyer.  There is not a season up here when Sawyer can't wear a sweater. I hope to continue to be blessed enough to live in a place where I can knit all year around and wear hand knits all the time....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Knitter I admire

I know quite a few knitters... I love knitting and try to surround myself with people who don't think I'm crazy when I talk for hours about yarn and patterns and stash. One knitter who I admire a lot, also happens to be one of my great friends... Kelsey (AKYarnie on Rav).  Kelsey has two small kids (both boys, one five and one three) and still manages to get a ton of knitting (and sewing) done. I don't know how she does it. She always has something beautiful coming off the needles (her latest project was Zuzu's petals, which she knit in a day).  She has a great eye for color (she used to have her own yarn dying business, but that has taken a break until the kids are a bit older) and is even a spinner... overall she is amazing!

I'm sure many people will be writing about famous knitters on today's blog post, but I wanted to go a different direction... I hope everyone takes time to appreciate the people in their lives!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Sticks and String
Today's blog post in the knit and crochet blog week is all about pictures... I'm terrible at taking pictures of my knits.  I try to take pictures, but the only thing I am great at taking pictures of is my kiddo.  He just can't take a bad picture! I feel like I can spend 10 mins taking pictures of my knits and still not get a great one... I think I just need more practice, and often better lighting, but I get easily frustrated and turn the camera back to my adorable baby. So, I did not take a new picture for today's blog challenge, but rather dug up some pictures that I love. They are all of the same knitting project (a color work sweater that I knit for Sawyer, mostly while on bed rest) that I am just in love with.  My awesome friend, Kelsey, did the finishing work for me because she is amazing and I was about to throw the thing away. She steeked the sweater, set in the sleeves, and knit the collar. This piece is truly an act of love and collaboration and I get so excited every time I put it on Sawyer.

I did have to finish some knitting after Sawyer was born, and he was nice enough to help. 

Sawyer looking at a moose eating his pumpkin.  He asked to wear this sweater that morning.

He hadn't seen too many moose up close until that day. I think he was fascinated. 

And, a picture of some handspun that I love... I received a light box for Christmas from my brother and this was a shot from my first time playing with it. 

I will continue practicing taking pictures of my knits... and since I mostly knit for Sawyer, it should be pretty easy for my shots to get better! :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Knit and Crochet Blog Week!

Sticks and String
I had seen my friend, Liz (over at Reckless Knitting), mention this a while back and then promptly forgot about it.  Then when I read her post today, I thought, YES! I want to do this. So, here is day one of my knit and crochet blog week posts....

Today is all about color.  I love color.  I find that I am drawn to brighter colors, but I also love a good palette of pastels as well.  I'm a big fan of autumn colors... ok, I guess there aren't really colors that I don't love.  If I had to pick a color that I didn't like, I would say my least favorite color is purple.  I find when I look in my stash, I have very little of it.  I do like it, but I guess I don't tend to buy it.  Here are some pictures of quilts I have finished (or plan to...) to give you an idea of my color palettes...

I don't feel like I tend to stay in a certain color palette, I love color and like to have a lot of different things to choose from.  And, yes, I know this is knit and crochet blog week, but I am better at taking pictures of my quilts that my yarn stuff. :) A quick tour of my Ravelry project page shows me that I have knit a lot of green and yellow in the recent past... not too surprising as we didn't know that Sawyer was going to be a boy and I have knit a fair amount for him. There are some pops of other colors in there, pink, blue, grey... no purple. Maybe I will need to branch out and try something purple next. I'm sure in my giant stash there has to be something I can use that is purple....

This is my next color challenge. I am going to spin this up to knit a baby blanket (rav link)... I am so in love with the pastel rainbow... my plan is to ply it with a white so the colors don't get muddied. I even actually have a jelly roll and a border fabric with this same color scheme that I could make a "matching" quilt with... how fun would that be! For my grandkid, obviously... since I am so slow at finishing. 

Fiber purchased from Knotty Ewe


Sticks and String
I have two projects on the needles at the moment (well, there are a few more hibernating... two that are in rotation of actually being knit on at the moment) but apparently I have forgotten how to knit. I have made big mistakes in them and have had to put them both down for a while. My blanket had a mistake in it and I had to rip back 8 rows of knitting, which was very sad... then when I tried to re-knit, I made another mistake on the first round and wound up having to tink that back. After that I put it down and took a break. Moved on to my other project.... it is a test knit and I was confused by the directions, so I had to send an email and put it away too. All this made me really bummed last night. I had a bit of a rough weekend, as Weston was busy or gone for most of it, and Sawyer has been an uber-crab-cake, so I really wanted to knit. And I felt like I had forgotten how. Or like the knitting universe was against me. Either way, it sucked. Hopefully I can figure things out today. It is sunny out and it should be a nice day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On learning...

Sticks and String
I cast-on my Hemlock Ring blanket yesterday and I'm loving it. The yarn was quite a bear to wind... I almost threw a major fit about it, but was able to keep it together and finish it. For some reason, the skein was quite tangled (even though it looked fine on the swift) and I thought I was going to have to hand wind it. Which made me want to freak out. The reason I own a swift and ball winder is that I do not have the time or the patience to wind things by hand. At all. I hate that chore. I always get things all knotted up and it is a mess. I had heard complaints about Malabrigo being tough to wind before, but I had never used it.... hopefully the other skeins are less fussy, otherwise this may be my one and only Malabrigo project. I don't think I love it that much.

I love to learn. I think anyone who follows this blog, or knows me in "real" life, is probably well aware of that. It is a rare month that goes by that I don't take a class of some sort, wether it be fiber related or some other interest. I am ok at learning on my own, but if someone can show me the right way to do things, I thrive and I am quick to catch on.

Seeing as how my job is also to teach, I love to watch people learn.  Sometimes, working with adults is frustrating in this sense. Kids are used to learning. We expect them to do it every day. Adults feel like they should already be good at something.... they are grown ups... instantly that should make them great at everything! I find that adults tend to be less confident and get frustrated easily when learning. I also encounter a lot of people who say they "don't know how to do that" or "can't do that". Personally, I don't care for that attitude if it is keeping you from something you want to do. I can look at wood working and leather work and think, "Wow that is amazing... I can't do that"... but I have no interest in doing that. I think it is cool, but I have no desire to learn to do that. Who knows, in five years I may be a leather working fool, but not today....

Anyway, my point being, don't let the fact that you have never done something or don't know how to do something stop you from doing what you want to do! LEARN. TRY. You might not get it right the first time, but I bet you will learn from your mistakes and be able to do better the next time. Or you might learn that it is something you don't care for and you can move on....

In knitting, I most often run into knitters who "can't" knit from a chart. This really limits your pattern options if you want to knit anything with cables, colorwork, or lace... I don't think I've ever seen a colorwork pattern that wasn't charted. Personally, I love charts. I can quickly glance at a chart and tell where I am in my knitting and not have to wade through lines of a pattern that read K1, P4, YO, K2TOG, K14 etc.... I realize that not everyone will love knitting from charts, but it is a valuable skill and at the very least I feel like every knitter should try. If you find you hate charts, you can convert the chart to a written pattern (which would make me want to poke my eyes out... but maybe that is your thing....) and still knit what you want. If nothing you want to knit has a chart, fine, you don't need to know how to read a chart. But, if you are dying to knit that lace shawl and the chart is the only thing standing in your way, give it a shot. Look up some chart reading tips online, ask around.... The worst thing that happens is you lose a bit of time and you might have to rip out some knitting... but we do love to knit, right?!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Title Goes Here

On Pins and Needles

It's finished. Whew. I only had to stuff them and sew the last seams... why this took me so long, who knows. I'm terrible at finishing things. Sawyer thinks the point of the train set is to throw everything off of the quilt as quickly as possible. Oh well! I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I still have about a million other sewing projects to do... and maybe I will get around to those, but this one was something that had a definite time limit. Sawyer won't want to play with this when he is 15. So, it had to get done. 

Oh, What a Tangled Web
And now, my weaving section! I warped my loom on Saturday and starting weaving a scarf. It should be really pretty.  The warp is a gorgeous jewel-toned handspun and the weft is a plain white yarn that makes the handspun really pop. I think it will be a fun scarf when it is finished.  And here is a picture of the scarf I wove in my class... 

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it, but Weston and I have a brand-spanking new custom grill.  One of the contractors that Weston works with built it for us, and it is amazing. We had a big BBQ yesterday and the food was wonderful.  I can't wait for all the snow to melt so we can move it to the back yard and start using it more often. 

Also, we bought some ranch flavored kettle chips at costco for the BBQ and they are rocking my world. They were a huge hit (the bag is almost gone) and I highly recommend them. I'm a chip lover, and these will probably become a staple...

Alright, off to go do some knitting while Sawyer is asleep. I have a busy week! Tonight I have Italian cooking class, Wednesday I have spinning class, and Thursday I teach! Weston has class on Tuesday, so Friday is the next day we will actually be home together.... whew!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

All By Myself...

Today I am by myself in my house. Well, the dogs are here, but I am the only human. Sawyer is out at MIL's house and Weston is in the Valley. It is a weird feeling... I don't think I've had time like this to myself since before Sawyer was born. So, I have one goal... to finished sewing Sawyer's darn stuffed train set that I wanted to have done before he was born. Ugh. Talk about an epic failure! So, I am breaking out my sewing machine and GETTING IT DONE. I honestly don't think it needs that much more work, so I am going to buckle down and do it. Then who knows what I will do. Maybe nap. Read. Knit. Maybe a bit of all of that. Maybe just enjoy the quiet. Who knows.

Sticks and String
I'm still plugging away at my top-secret handspun project. I am loving how it is turning out and I can't wait until I can share it. I also bought yarn yesterday to knit the Hemlock Ring blanket (Rav link) and I am SO excited to cast that on. I bough Malabrigo Rios in a gorgeous teal color... it is so soft and rich. I think this will be a fun, quick knit with gorgeous results. Hopefully I am right!

Alright, off to sew. Hopefully I will be able to post a lot of FOs soon, as I feel like I'm right on the cusp of finishing quite a few things. Have a great, sunny (well, at least here) Saturday!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Birthday Week

My birthday was a few weeks ago and I had a wonderful week! Monday Weston and I went out to dinner and then went mini-golfing (at a cool new 3D neon place in town. It was a bit crazy!) which was a lot of fun.  On my actual birthday, Sawyer and I made cupcakes, and that night I taught knitting. Sawyer also got me a nice present... he bought me the movie Bridesmaids and a bunch of my favorite candies so that I could enjoy a movie night. He's so sweet. :) Then on Saturday, I went to an all-day weaving course courtesy of my parents. It was so fun!! I left with a finished scarf (pictures soon) that I love and a lot of knowledge so that I am able to use the loom I bought myself last year for my birthday! I am excited to get to weaving now that I know some more about all the ins and outs. 

Oh, and in case you don't keep track of the weather where I live, we have broken the record for snowfall and it is officially the SNOWIEST WINTER IN ANCHORAGE!! WOOP!!! So exciting. It has been such a wonderful winter.... but, I am ready for summer to be here! The sunlight is getting longer (it is still light at 8:30-9pm) and the days have been warmer... now I hope it doesn't flood because of all the snow!

Right Around, Baby
I enjoyed the weaving class so much that I decided to take a spinning class from the same lady. It is a beginning spinning course, and while I am not a beginning spinner, I knew that I would learn a lot of the technical aspects of spinning that I didn't know about, based on how she taught the weaving class. (If you are local, I'm taking these classes at Far North Fibers.  I highly recommend it, as Pamela is incredibly pleasant and knowledgeable) I had such a great time at class last week! There are three German women in the class and they have no experience spinning... it is fun to watch people learn, but it is a bit of a learning curve, and I could tell by the end of class they were ready to go! I think they will be surprised how quickly they get the hang of it though... I already learned quite a few things in the first class, and Pamela and I chatted after class about what I was wanting to learn and how she would run a bit of a separate class for me in the coming weeks. Her and I have a lot of the same feelings on fiber-y things and it was a lot of fun to chat with her! I'm really looking forward to class on Thursday!

Check out Sawyer's blog for updates on how his Easter weekend went! Other than that, his last molar (well, last of these four we have been dealing with for like a month) is almost through. It keeps popping through and then the gum covers up one side again over and over. :( Poor guy. I think we have almost beat it.... just in time for his K-9s to start bothering him. I hate teeth. 

He got two different mini-Nerf guns in his Easter baskets (one from me, one from Grandma Henderson) that he was LOVING today. One he is able to pump and shoot on his own, the other is one I have to shoot for him... he just loves shooting them at the window and then chasing down the darts. I'm pretty sure that is what we did most of the day! The dogs hate the guns (even though we have never shot them, and they aren't loud) and are going nuts... They also hate the mylar balloon I got for Sawyer (a giant bunny). I thought it would be fun for Sawyer to punch it and play with it (under supervision, I realize balloons are a big choking hazard, I watch my child!) but once he saw the dogs were scared of it, he decided he was too! Goofball. So that was $11 (yes, $11 for a stupid ballon. I only did it because I thought he would love it) that was wasted... oh well!

Sticks and String
I finished my headband for my class sample and have started knitting a super secret project (no details, as it is a test knit for a soon-to-be-published book).  I think the headband is pretty nice, I just have to write up the pattern now! 

On my Soapbox
Last week was the local election here in Anchorage. I won't go into my feelings on how things turned out (well, yes  I will, I was disappointed in my town, as usual. I do not understand the people that live in this city and the results made me want to pack my bags and move to the woods. I actually agreed to move to Talkeetna, where a CAT is the mayor. Yes, a cat seemed like a better option than what happened in my city....) but there was quite a hoopla over the voting process. More than half of the polling places ran out of ballots. The city is claiming there were enough ballots, they were just "poorly distributed" around town. Which seems odd, since in the TEN YEARS I've been voting, this has never happened. And turn out wasn't any higher than normal, in fact it was on the average to low end (again, disappointing Anchorage, you have the right to vote and you choose not to!? WHY!?). People were waiting in line for 2+ hours to get a ballot, were voting on photocopied ballots (no word on if those will be valid) etc. It was just a giant s&^* show! Honestly, I think they should re-do the election. I do not expect the results to be any different, and honestly, at this point I don't care. What I do care about is everyone getting their chance to vote. I know that if I had been asked to wait for two hours, there would have been no way for me to do that. I had Sawyer, and he is not going to stand in line for two hours! I probably would have figured something out (because I haven't missed an election since I was able to vote, minus the one when I didn't live in the state) but it would have been a hardship. I can't believe there isn't more of an uproar about this! The whole thing is a mess, and I have a feeling it wasn't exactly an accident....

And, a random picture of me at the Easter egg hunt we went to on Saturday.... only because I never seem to post pictures of myself and Weston for once took one where I didn't look terrible. :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Radio Silence

I'm alive. I promise to post about what I have been up to soon. With Weston in Florida last week, I had no computer, and this week I've just been running around like a chicken with my head cut off... for reasons I don't really understand. Probably has to do with the fact that Sawyer has decided to start waking up at ungodly hours of the morning.... Anyway, I still have the birthday wrap up to do and I start a spinning class tonight! :) So, expect stuff... And, have a great Easter weekend!