Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Curious Case of Beverly's Booties

I knit those oh so cute baby hats and had the brilliant idea there should be little booties to go with them. After all, babies, especially those who qualify as newborn, need to be warm on their heads and their feet. So, off I went to the land of patterns and I made a bootie.

One bootie.

Thrilled was I to make the bootie because I had never made one before. It was quite an accomplishment. OK, the pattern was so easy someone who never knit before could make it - but I believe I was rightfully thrilled.

Here's the thing.

The vast majority of kids come with two feet. So I need to knit another bootie. I pulled out the same needles. The same yarn. I cast on the same number of stitches and.


this is what I got.

Truth to tell, it was even bigger than this because halfway through I noticed it was a mite bigger than the first one and I actually unraveled part of it before going on. I thought that would solve the problem but instead it looks like the bootie on the right hung around Alex Rodriquez and got a little juice.

I swear I did nothing different between the two. I'm a little scared to make another bootie. But now I have to.
I am going to do this again, but this time I am going to put both booties on the needle at the same time. I will use the same ball of yarn and put the yarn on bobbins.

If anyone can explain this phenomenon; I'd greatly appreciate it. I called Marilyn and she said: "It's happened to me, too. Obviously, you've done something wrong." Beech.

On the other hand, they are cute - even the one for the Green Giant's kid. Now, if I can only manage to make a match for each of them, I'd have two pair of booties!

Curious, indeed.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Babies and Mothers-in-law

OK, everybody say it together: "Awwwwww!"
(Wait until you see the booties! That's right, I made my first bootie today. There's only one thus far and it's just so cute I want to fry it in sugar and chomp on it!)

Babies just make everything better. I wanted to create a set of hats to sell on etsy. One little hat isn't enough for a baby - they need to be tricked out and styling at least four days of the week. Here's a head start. (Head start; get it? Yeah, I crack me up.)

Remember the hat I just did?
This one here. Something I forgot to tell you about it. As I blogged a few months ago, Joe's mom passed away last September and he's been slowly cleaning out her condo. (With the market the way it is, there's no great rush of people wanting to buy homes, let alone condos which require a bigger down payment.) He goes over every day and the past few days he's come back with crafting items. His mother is one of the original crafty girls. She could look at a dress or piece of clothing and whip it up without ever seeing the pattern. She knit, crocheted, and did stuff with glue guns.

The other day Joe walked in with this box that contained a gazillion little crochet squares which I will form into something and a bag of ribbon. He walked in with that bag of ribbon just as I was working on this hat and thinking I wanted to do something different and thought ribbon would be nice to do a running stitch with. I looked into the bag and there was the ribbon that matched my hat quite nicely. (If I do say so myself.)

There were also knitting needles, crochet hooks (including a super cool wooden one that I will cherish) and those ribbons, enough ribbons for me to match up with those new booties I make and send a little of my m-i-l with them. As I was getting into knitting, she was slowly phasing out her crafting because her eyesight and her hands were giving out. But she loved babies so I know she'd smile at this.

Finally, we can collaborate.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Same Hat - Different Version

I love this hat. I think it looks vintage but it's only a few days old. Some lucky person can purchase this hat off my etsy site, but I would like to take this time in praise of good, old regular, acrylic yarn. Yes, I know there are those who turn their noses at acrylic yarn like it's a substitute teacher nobody likes or the computer geek who shows up at the football game. But there's plenty to be said for yarn that cost less than $3 a skein and can make not only this hat, but have enough left over to make another one that looks just like it.

Cheap doesn't mean cheap. Just like expensive doesn't mean better. You can drive a Toyota and you can drive a BMW. You may think you're better or you think other people think you're better because of the car you drive, but trust me, if they both get slapped by a train, people will feel sorrier for the Toyota owner.

Some acrylics have beautiful drape, glorious colors and delicious feel. I used to be in love with Caron by the Pound until I visited Hobby Lobby and touched, I Love This Yarn and I do love that yarn and if my house wasn't already filled with other yarn, I could just hang a Hobby Lobby light outside my house because you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

I know where my LYS is and I've even been inside. I've purchased needles and books from there and I've touched yarn. Haven't bought any yarn there, though. I'm not a reversed snob. I don't turn my nose at them - I just don't open my wallet for them. I have considered it and if the economy turns around, I will probably purchase some of it - not for me, but to make garments or items that I can charge more for and expect someone to buy. I'm not a snob - I'm....thrifty, Yes, that's it. I'm thrifty.

So let's hear it for the fake stuff...or as some clever ad person thought up:
the authentic replica. It is the cornerstone of yarn-dom and I shall forever be true!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two Bones and A Piece of Fur - The History of Knitting

I can just see how it all happened. The cave man was sitting in front of his kill. That great big, hairy beast. He had discovered fire so he had his dinner well done (because there were no pesky cooks to tell you medium rare was the only true way to eat red meat.) There was nothing left but the pelt and the bones.

And he plucked some of the long hair from the beast, looked over and saw two leg bones (OK, they could have been arm bones) said to himself, "Hmmm, I wonder." (Whatever the cave man equivalent of that is.) And before you know it, he was the fashion plate of the cave condo community.

I'm telling ya; that's how it happened.

Friday, February 20, 2009

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them

StitchCraft got a note from Reiley to make some squares for her 'Pay It Forward' Project at school. She is making blankets to give to abused/ill children. The project was a bit more successful than even she imagined. I sent her eight - and I wasn't nearly as generous as a ton of other folks.
You can read about it here.

If you have a chance, give Reiley a shout out of wanting to do something for someone else and for being able to galvanize a nation behind her efforts. If we are going to tell the next generations they should be involved we need to be in front to show them where to go and then be at their backs when they take the lead.

Reiley has done an amazing thing - her mom, grandmother, aunt and even her teacher are sharing the work in getting these blankets done. This school project is a lesson for all of us.

Congrats, Reiley on being a compassionate, caring young woman. We are all very proud of you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In The New Era of Hope

I went to my office early this morning (all of a five second commute) so I didn't come downstairs at all until it was almost noon. I came downstairs to this:

The carpet needs to have the biannual carpet cleaning, and I really need to knit Duke a new bed, but that's not the amazing thing. The amazing thing is yesterday when I came down.

this and


and this

along with this

and also this

was all over this

I wish I could say it was all put in nice little cubby holes that would make Martha Stewart declare my house a 'good thing.' But it is not so. There are now little piles of things in the perimeter. The good new is there is a path so I can shampoo the carpet. And the better news is I can tackle one little pile at a time. The bad part (but which could be a good part because it involves inventiveness) is I need to create a space for my goods to be nicely stowed while they wait for me. My office is incredibly small. So the only space is to be found in the basement where my little gym is. I will not be sacrificing fitness because I now work out upstairs since my little VCR stopped working down there. And also with good weather comes walking. I see a box system in my future since there is a semblance of one already down there.

On to step two: prepping the new space!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Less is Less

There should be a photograph of something to the left. Alas, there are no new photos to show. Oh, there's a lot to take pictures of. Like the scarf I knitted up in a day.
Or the progress I'm making on the cable afghan (which is haunting me) or
the little preemie hats I made or
the WIP cotton place mats.

Or how my yarn stash has grown even larger than before I had the contest that gave away dozens of skeins ( I replaced those with just what I bought yesterday.)

But I cannot bring myself to share my shame with you. Less is not more. Less is less and more is way more than should be allowed in such close quarters. Poor Joe. I believe he is overwhelmed with it all. And now I feel his pain.

Today is a pretty free day as far as any work going on. I only have some church and garden work on - the rest of the schedule is filled with colored blocks (which means nothing planned.) I usually knit during those times and I suspect I will again. But I will put down the needles and attempt to do something that even remotely resembles.....organization.

I am a complete goober when it comes to this stuff. My mother never really forced me to clean my room as a child and now that I can really get away with stuff, I have on blinders until one day when I walk into a room and say "What the he--?" Then I clean it. But I don't like it. Now, the living room is in dire need of an intervention because whatever is going on in there can't be called 'living' so I need to organize. I googled 'how to organize stuff' and up popped ' (Google is great! In fact, I wonder if anyone has tried to google Osama Bin Laden to see if his secret Facebook profile would come up.)

The site has a ton of articles that talk you through how to organize people, places and things. Alas, it does not have 'how to organize a yarn stash that has gotten so out of hand that only people who actually live in the house will come in the house and even the dog is considering moving."

So I had to settle to how to organize the bedroom and garage.
Wish me luck - I'm going in!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Second Annual Sit and Knit

The moment you become a knitter, you become a more generous person. There really is very little choice in the matter. There are many reasons to knit, but the end result is something gets made. Almost every time you knit something is being made. In the end you will have something. And then something has to be done with the something you've made.

I suppose you could actually keep all 583 scarves you make, but space will become an issue. So when you knit (or crochet) somewhere during the knitting of scarf number 168 you say to yourself: "What am I going to do with all this stuff?"

That's when you create the 'knit list.' That is the group of people to whom you will give something you've created. Now mind you, they never asked to be placed on this list and it hardly matters if they don't because they will be receiving an item from you because you don't have room for any more in your own house which means others have to take the inventory.

And though most of them will graciously accept your treasure and some will actually request items (those are the ones who will have a special place in our wills) eventually, you will run out of people on the knit list. (No, Beverly, I really cannot use that computer cozy!)

Unfortunately, there are people in the world who can use your bounty. It is wonderful to have someone to knit for. It is a gift that catches us by surprise. It started out as (and continues to be) fun, but there is a mission out there and it never ends. The fortunate part is that there are so many of us who have felt the need and will pull out the needles to answer the call.

The Second Annual Sit and Knit will take place April 25 from 9am to 4pm again at Pleasant Home in Oak Park. Last year 30 knitters got together and made baby hats and squares which were donated to area hospitals. This year, we will make squares to be turned into lap blankets to be given to Compassionate Care Hospice - a new facility in Morton Grove. We were asked by Chaplain Elisse if we would consider donating items and I can't think of a better way to provide comfort to those who are there in this new facility.

The event is absolutely free - we'll even provide the yarn and patterns but you are free to bring your own. There will be door prizes and we are allowing groups to have display tables so we can see what other knitting groups are doing. You can find more information here and on President Obama's service website, We hope to double the number of knitters who participate and spend a few hours in each other's company feeling the good time vibe and that special gabfest knitters have with each other.

If you can't make it to the event, please pray for a great turnout so we can help the hospice provide care for their clients and families. Hope to see as many of you out there as can make it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Just When You Lose Track

of the reason you do things like blog and write, along comes an affirmation where you least expect it.
The Knitters' Restaurant is a Kreativ Blogger nominee! Thanks to Eryka from Spare Room Knits who nominated our humble site and we will follow the rules and nominate eight of our favorites in return. (Well, Eryka's site is a favorite but since she's already on the list, we will add another!)

There are rules to follow when one is nominated to help spread the love and introduce readers from one blog to eight other blogs.
The first rule is to showcase the award (done!)

The next rule is to link to the person who nominated you. Eryka is linked above. (Next!)
The third is to nominate eight other bloggers. I have a link to each of these blogs already under You Should Read These Blogs...and you should because they're all very good. (And linking to those blogs happens to be the next step, so ahead of the game am I!)

Leave a message on the blogs nominated. And so I shall.

Here are my nominees (in no particular order):
Adventures of the Friendly Knitter
Cozy's Place
Musings of a Mostly Self Taught Knitter
My Desire For Yarn
Nik's Knits
The Fifth Wondrous Place
Two Cables and A Frapp

This award has been going around for a few years and the logo has changed and it used to be just five bloggers to be nominated, but with so many creative sites out there, it's no wonder it rose to eight (and I could have added more!)

You don't have to add the award to the site if it messes with the aesthetics - I don't have that kind of a problem. In fact, there's nothing to make you take it any further - except it is a really nice way to showcase the craft brethren. So, if you are so inclined, go take a peek at what some other creative, crafty folk are up to and let them know you've stopped by. There's nothing like a little bit of positive peer pressure to keep us in the game!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Patience is a Virtue

I want you all to take a look at kat's site.( It is simply one of the most gorgeous sites I've ever seen. go over and take a look at it - and read it while you're at it cuz the writing's pretty good, too.

Some things come quickly - some things take time. It is the yin and yang that keeps us in balance.
I started working on the 'cable box afghan' more than two weeks ago and it has tried my patience. It is not finished yet. I pinned the latest strip to the other three and figured I would need another three strips - two with one cable and the last one with two - and then the afghan would be done. (Of course, this is another design of mine which is probably one reason it's taking so long. Another thing I didn't consider was how much time doing a cable adds to the process. I've never made this many cables in one item before and they do take time because you have to use the third needles and have to do the twisting, etc. The result is stunning and I'm going to love it when its done but I didn't plan this afghan would take this long to make.
To help ease the pains of a project taking longer than I expected, I decided to start another project - it would be a hat. This hat. Seriously, how cute is this?
This actually took only a day to do so it wasn't much of a distraction, but it did serve its purpose in allowing me to do some more designing. This cloche like hat would be great in holding braids, dreads or extensions.
It's a little funky and a lot of cute.
I am back to working on the afghan and I expect it will take a few more weeks before it's done. Not only do the strips have to be done but then they have to be sewn together and a border put around the whole thing. But I understand now how the time put into it will make the whole experience that much better - especially when I'm done.


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