Monday, June 30, 2008

Upcoming Art Events

July 26 is the MidCity Art Market. The market is the last Saturday of each month at Palmer Park. Palmer Park is at the intersection of S. Carrolton and S. Claiborne Ave in Uptown New Orleans. It is from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. If Saturday is rained out, the market will take place on Sunday July 27th. In August, the market will take place on the 30th. Come out and support art in New Orleans.

August 28 to September 1 (Labor Day Weekend) is the Morgan City Shrimp and Petroleum Festival. An art contest and sale is part of the bigger festival.

October 18 -19 is the Bayou City Art Festival Downtown in Houston. Here is some information from their website: “October 18 - 19, 2008 SATURDAY AND SUNDAY10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Both daysAdmission is $10 for adults and free for children 12 and under. The downtown skyline serves as a dramatic backdrop for art, music, dance, and interactive activities at the Bayou City Art Festival Downtown. The annual, juried, fine art event boasts a stress-free outdoor gallery brimming with 300 artists working in 19 artistic media. Adding to the festive outdoor gallery are wine cafés, an interactive Creative Zone for children, restaurants, Broadway in Houston’s Broadway Café, and a performing arts stage with on-going multicultural musical and dance entertainment presented by The Houston Arts Alliance. The festival is showcased in front of City Hall and around Hermann Square on the streets of Walker, Bagby,and McKinney, as well as Sam Houston Park.For more information about the Bayou City Art Festival Downtown, please contact the Art Colony Association

The Gretna Art Walk is on hiatus right now, but will return in September. It will be every second Saturday of the month between September and May. There is also a weekly Farmer's Market every Saturday between Third and Fourth Streets in Gretna, La. Participate in the Farmer's Market Participate in the Art Walk

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Knitter's Nightmare

This morning, I woke up to this:











It looks like my dogs decided they wanted to knit and really just made a big mess. I'm wondering if it was a group effort, or just one of them was responsible. I'm guessing it was both of them. I've untangled most of the yarn, but it took a while and I was pretty upset with them for doing what they did. You will be happy to know that we made up and I've decided not to leave my knitting bag In the front of the house where then can take things out of it.

I'm having a lot of fun with the blog and I hope ya'll are enjoying it. Lately I've been sick, with a sore throat which hasn't made anything fun. I'm hoping I will feel better soon and the blog posts will get better. I'd really like to thank everyone who is reading the blog, I really can't believe how many hits I've had in a short amount of time.

Thanks!

Kelly

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Knitting Magazines

Knitting Magazines are a great resource. Knitting magazines usually have stories about knit wear designers, a wide variety of patterns, and tutorials on how to do new techniques. Some of the knitting magazine I read are Interweave Knits, Creative Knitting, Knit 'n Style, Knit.1, Knit Simple and Vogue Knitting .

Interweave Knits is published five times a year. Subscribers to this magazine receive four issues in the mail, and can purchase the Holiday issue separately. Each issue has a story about a knitwear designer. There is usually a "Beyond the Basics" Section that explains techniques. Some of the past "Beyond the Basics" sections have included topics such as Cables, Toe-Up Socks, finishing and Gauging. One of these sections included a technique that I hadn't heard of before called Entrelac. The magazine describes Entrelac as "a knitting technique that produces a fabric with a woven appearance." Eunny Jang who is now the editor of Interweave Knits did a wonderful job of describing this technique. Each issue also contains stories about knitwear designers, the history of knitted garments like the tam, and patterns. They have so many patterns that are so appealing, it is hard to make all of the garments that I really like before the next issue comes out. Another part of most issues is a comparison of new yarns on the market.

The other magazines that I mentioned earlier, all have many beautiful patterns, stories about people who knit and articles to improve the reader's knitting skills. They also seem to all have reviews of yarns, books and various other knitting products. I like reading a variety of magazine because they all seem to have different points of view and use different types of yarns for their patterns. It just seems like certain magazines prefer certain yarn companies.

Good luck with finding a magazine that you truly enjoy. I hope that the knitting magazines you read will help you to become a better knitter.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Stained Glass Windows






Ever since I was a little girl, I've always been fasinated by stained glass windows. The way that they are always beautiful, but when light is shining through them, they are spectacular. I went to a Church that I don't usually go to on Sunday for a baby's Baptism. Here are some pictures of the Stained Glass Windows. Enjoy!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Project Profile: The Alligator Scarf




I made two Alligator Scarfs, the first one was for Patrick and the second was for my dad. For Patrick's scarf, I bought the pattern and yarn as a kit from Morehouse Merino farms. I used about one and a half skeins of their three strand Merino Wool. Which is about 210 yards. I started it at home and finished it while we were at the Balloon Fest in Natchez Mississippi. My dad liked it so much that he asked for one too. His was made from Cascade 220 yarn that I purchased at Natchez Needle Arts while we were at the balloon fest. I really liked this yarn store, the people were all very nice and there was a comfy sofa in the front of the store for Patrick and my dad to sit on and wait until My mom and I were finished looking at their yarns. Here are some Balloon pictures. The Balloon Race is a lot of fun. On the morning of one of the races, we decided to go out and watch them take off. The Balloon crews drove to a couple of differnt places, then decided that a neighborhood was the prefect place to launch. So, someone from each of the balloon crews ran to the residents' front doors and asked if it would be ok to launch from their front lawns. All of the balloons were beautiful and we happened to find a historic mansion, that the balloons were flying over. It's in the picture below.











Friday, June 20, 2008

Dozer Doodle

Today is Dozer Doodle's second Birthday. He is a Brindle Boxer, with a lot of energy. His favorite thing to do is visit his cousin Max, who is also a Boxer. Whenever he gets very excited, he waggs his little tail and he curls up in a ball kind of like a doodle or pill bug, that's where the Doodle in his name came from.





Here are some pictures of him when he was just a little four month old puppy. The top two pictures are of him being cute. The next pictures are of Dozer and his adopted brother Laney, who is a Sheltie.



Below is a picture of him on his favorite chair, my ottoman. Happy Birthday Dozer! Patrick, Laney and I love you!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Project Profile: The Sweater Bag


The Sweater Bag is a free pattern from Lion Brand Yarns. When I first saw it, I loved the cables. I have been using this bag as a purse lately and it holds everything I need and a bunch of junk I probably don't need.
The bag is made by knitting two seperate panels in the round and a strap. One panel for the front and another panel for the back. After the panels for the bag are finished, they are sewed up and then sewn together.
The thing I would change if I knit another bag like this is the lining. The knitted lining is very heavy and it seems like I could save a lot of time by just knitting the cable seams and sewing some other lining into the bag. Also something else I have thought about changing is the strap. I wouldn't do the strap in Garter Stitch again. The Garter Stitch is nice, but it is very stretchy. I would knit the strap either just in stockinette stitch or in a cable similar to the cables on the bag.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

June Art Events

Today my parents are getting on a bus to Virginia's Bayou Boogaloo. It’s an art, food and music festival in Norfolk, Virginia this weekend to help with Hurricane Katrina recovery. If you are in the Norfolk area, go ahead and check it out, it should be a nice festival. The website also has a page with The Artists of Virginia's Bayou Boogaloo, with links to the artist’s websites.Next Saturday, June 28th, is the MidCity Art Market. The market is the last Saturday of each month at Palmer Park. Palmer Park is at the intersection of S. Carrolton and S. Claiborne Ave in Uptown New Orleans. It is from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. If Saturday is rained out, the market will take place on Sunday June 29th. In July, the market will take place on the 26th, and in August, it will be on the 30th. Come out and support art in New Orleans.See http://www.lanelefortphotography.com/ to view some of the available photographs. Purchases can be made from this website, or come out and see Lane at one of the Markets listed above.The Gretna Art Walk is another Art Market that my dad does. The Gretna Art Walk is on hiatus right now, but will return in September. It will be every second Saturday of the month between September and May. There is also a weekly Farmer's Market every Saturday between Third and Fourth Streets in Gretna, La.Participate in the Farmer's MarketParticipate in the Art Walk

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Eastern European Method and another baby blanket

There are numerous ways to knit. The most important thing is to try to find the way that is the most comfortable for you. The cast on in my first tutorial isn't the cast on that all knitters use. I'm sure there are many knitter out there who don't like the cast on I gave instructions on. And the method I use for the knit and purl stitches isn't the same as the stitches that a lot of people in America use. There is a lot of talk about the Continental and English methods. One hold the yarn in tension and the other throws the yarn. I really wondered which kind I used, and last night I realized I don't knit either of these.

Learn How to Knit in the Eastern European Method:
Knit Cast On
The Knit Stitch
The Purl Stitch
Increases: The Yarn Over
The Eastern Cast On - Good for Toe Up Socks

Patrick helped me come to this realization. He said I should put my knitting tutorials on You Tube. That I would get a lot more people seeing them if there were accessable from You Tube. Then he did a search for Knitting and came up with a video that had been seen many many many times. The video showed and talked about the difference between the Continental and the English methods. I watched for a little while and realized I don't knit either of those ways. At this point, I came to the conclusion that I have been knitting some weird way for years and I just showed a tutorial of this for all the world to see. I was sort of embarrassed. Then I looked into it and realized that the way I knit is called the Eastern European Method. It wasn't some really strange way of knitting, just a different method. The Eastern Method looks very similar to the English and continental stitches. They do sit on the needles differnently, but all of these ways produce a fabric/garment and isn't that the point? Knitting is a hobby for most. There are those who can make a living by knitting, designing knitwear or writing about knitting, but most knitters are knitting to relieve stress, to make things or to help pass time while waiting for other things.

My next knitting tutorial will probably be the Purl stitch using the Eastern European Method. I hope to prepare some more tutorials to explain how to do the Continental and English methods for those of you who don't like the Eastern European method. They really aren't all that different.

I have some pictures of a baby blanket I made for my cousin's baby. I would like to thank my cousin for the pictures, I think they came out well. I had almost forgotten how pretty the blanket is.

Monday, June 16, 2008

It's a stream, its a river, no, it's a flooded street!

And "How I spent my weekend"

Sunday

Here are some pictures from around our area yesterday. To say we had a little rain is an understatement. Father's Day was nice other than the rain that stranded us in the Harahan area for a few hours. We had breakfast at a diner in Laplace with Patrick's family. On my way back to my car, we found that the streets were flooded. We couldn't get to my car, so we drove around for a while and found that most of the streets were flooded. Then when the water had finally receded a little, we went to Patrick's parents' house and I taught Patrick's mom and sister how to knit. After that, we visited my parents and treated them to dinner at Ground Patti. I'd like to wish a Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there. Especially to Ryan and Hugh who were celebrating their first Father's Days.






Saturday





We went to a 30th birthday party for a family friend at Copeland's restaurant Saturday night. We had one section of the restaurant to ourselves and were treated to a buffet with their signature biscuits, red beans and rice, blackened chicken Alfredo and a shrimp pasta. Everything was delicious and we had a good time catching up with everyone.



Friday


After work on Friday, Patrick and I went joined my parents at a local seafood restaurant by the name of New Orleans Food and Spirits. There are two locations, the one we went to, which is in Harvey, and the other is on the Lakefront. Harvey is a suburban area in the West bank of the Mississippi River. I had a seafood platter with fried Shrimp and fish which was excellent. Their fried food is always good, not soggy and not too greasy like some other places. I enjoy their potato salad also, it isn't overpowered by mustard like some other potato salad. The wait staff is fast and friendly. My mom had Eggplant Lafayette, which has fried eggplants on a bed of angel hair pasta with a delightful cream sauce. Patrick had a chicken dish with pasta and a cream sauce that had a more cheesy flavor than my mom's dish. And my dad had the Catfish Louisiana which is a fried catfish filet topped with crawfish etouffee served over steamed rice. If you ever eat here, I would suggest ordering the hushpuppies. They are sweet and very tasty.

I hope all of you had a great weekend and noone got too wet.






Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Knit Stitch

As I mentioned in my first entry, the first thing my Grandma told me about knitting is that there are only two stitches, the knit and purl. Then she explained that the knit and purl stitch are the two sides of the same stitch. The pictures below show two sides of the same swatch.











As you can see, the knit stitch looks like a bunch of little V's and the purl stitch looks like a bunch of -'s put together. I'm sure most of you have seen this when looking at sweaters.

We will build on our cast on row from the last tutorial. If you would like to try it at home, cast on ten stitches. Remember that the slip knot counts as one stitch. Honestly it doesn't matter how many stitches you cast on, ten just seemed like a good number. Below, the knit stitch is written out step by step and there is also a video that demonstrates how I do the knit stitch.

  1. Take the needle with the casted on stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand.
  2. Take the needle in your right hand and stick it into the back of the loop of the first stitch (The last stitch you casted on, it is the closest stitch to the needle's point.)
  3. Place the yarn that is connected to your unused yarn on top of the the part of the right needle that is sticking out of the cast on stitch so that the yarn is just covering the top half of the needle's circumference.
  4. Pull the right needle through the cast on stitch that you stuck it through in the second step pulling the yarn with it.
  5. Slide the cast on stitch off of the left needle.
  6. Now you have one stitch on the right needle and nine stitches on the left needle.
  7. Repeat steps one through five until the end of the row.
  8. After you have completed one row, your right needle has all of the stitches on it and your left needle is empty.
  9. Turn your work. This means that you take the needle in your right hand that has all of the stitches on it and turn it around so that the yarn that is connected to the ball is on the right side of the stitches. Now the empty needle will be in your right hand again.
  10. Repeating these steps will not yield a piece of fabric that looks like the ones in the pictures above. It will produce a fabric that looks like this:
  11. It is called the garter stitch. When you knit something (that isn't knit in the round, we'll talk about this later for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about.) you create the garter stitch. It looks like all purls usually, but the only stitch that is made is the knit stitch. It looks like this because even though you are only using the knit stitch, every time you knit on the other side, you are actually creating purls. Remember that part about only two stitches and the purl is the back of the knit stitch. This is where that comes in to play.

Here's a video I put together, hopefully it will help everyone who learns better from seeing an example than reading instructions.

video

I hope that helped. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for making this tutorial better or more user friendly, feel free to contact me at KnittingKel@gmail.com.

Congrats to Patrick and Molly and Random Thoughts

I would like to congratulate Patrick and Molly on getting into the Charity School of Nursing. I'm very proud of both of you. Keep up the good work! I can't wait until ya'll are Nurses.

Some questions about Casting On have come up. The reason we cast on is to get stitches on the needles. Most patterns will tell you a number of stitches to cast on. The cast on edge is typically the width of the project.

Another question was “How do you get the stitches off of the needles?” Initially, I said, you leave them on, but I think I was thinking about the question the wrong way. You leave the stitches on the needles until you start the next row. When you start on the knit row, which a tutorial should be coming in a few days, that’s the point where the stitches on the cast on row get dropped off of the needles and the new stitches that you are knitting take their place.

I would like to thank the person who asked this, and please, if you have a question about something not making sense or just a general wondering about something, feel free to contact me. If I don't know the answer, I'll try to find it.

I would also like to thank all of you who are reading this. I hope you are getting something out of this, and I have a some other things planned for the blog. Look for more tutorials, more pictures of finished projects, maybe even restaurant, book and other reviews.

Sorry there aren't any pictures today.

Thanks,
Kelly

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Casting On

Let's start at the beginning, just about anything that is knit starts out with a step called casting on. There are many ways to cast on. I'll show and explain how to cast on today. When I do a tutorial, I really want everyone to be able to learn in the best way possible. Because everyone is different, I am going to include two different methods of teaching. The first will be written instructions and the second will be a video. I learn best from watching examples, but I know that some people also learn when they can read words that explain the process, and others like a combination of both.

My favorite method of casting on is very similar to the knit stitch. The first step is to take your yarn and form a slip knot. If you already know how to make a slip knot, you can skip the next paragraph.

This is done by holding the end of the yarn with one hand and with your other hand, place two fingers on the yarn a little closer to your ball of yarn. Make a loop with the yarn over your two fingers and with your other hand bring the end of the yarn up between your fingers, between the loop. Pull it tight and now you have a slip knot! It's called a slip knot because if you pull on the yarn, the knot travels up and down. If you pull hard enough, the knot will come out completely.

Take the loop formed by the slip knot and place it on your needle. Pull the tails of the yarn so that the loop fits snugly around the needle, but not too tight that you can't move the yarn on the needle. Take your other needle and stick it through the slip knot. Loop your yarn that is attached to the rest of the yarn, not the little tail on the other side of the slip knot, around your needle. Pull the needle through the slip knot loop and place your new loop onto the needle with the slip knot loop. Now, you have two stitches on your needle. Repeat this until you are comfortable with it. Now you know what to do when a pattern says cast on (CO) and number of stitches.





Here's the video.

video


I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, just leave a comment below, or email me at KnittingKel@gmail.com. Thanks!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Global Wildlife Center











The Global Wildlife Center is located in Folsom, La.
I went there yesterday with my parents and some of my mom's coworkers, Patrick couldn't make it because of work. It was a lot of fun and I even fed a llama and a Giraffe out of my hands. Having the Giraffe eat out of my hand felt a lot like when I give my dog Dozer, who is a Boxer a treat. They have really soft muzzles and sort of stick their long tongues into my hand to make sure they get everything. The tips of their tongues are a very dark purple, almost black. The tour guide told us the tongues are this color so that they don't get sun burnt. They spend about half of their lives with their tongues sticking out picking leaves from high trees.
I've loved llamas since I saw the movie The Emperor's New Groove. That's the movie I watch when I'm feeling sick. One of my favorite things about llamas is their fur. It is very soft and can be made into yarn.
The scarf in the picture below was made with Baby Llama yarn. It is very soft and warm. I purchased the yarn last year when I was in Natchez, Mississippi for the Balloon Fest. The store where I bought it was really nice and the people were very friendly and helpful. The store is called Natchez Needle Arts. The store sells yarn and things for knitting/crochet on one side and needlepoint/embroidery on the other. Patrick and my dad's favorite part of the shop was the comfy sofa in the front of the store.

Going this time of year was interesting because of all of the baby birds and animals around. The cutest in my opinion were the baby Rhea birds. They were so tiny and they all stayed in a group by their father. Rachael, our tour guide told us that the males mate with many females and when the babies are born, the mothers leave the babies for the fathers to take care of. If, in about a year, the mother comes back and doesn't like the way the father is raising the babies, she pulls his tail feathers out. I'm sure this hurts, but the real problem for him when this happens is that the tail feathers are the way he attracts mates.
The Zebras are the one animal that we were warned about. Our tour guide said "The Zebras are black, white and mean all over". They really didn't look all that mean. They are beautiful, even if they aren't the nicest animals in the world.


There were also many deer, antelope, gazelle, kangaroo and even some camels.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I heart Plaquemines Parish

Yesterday I went to Plaquemines Parish. It was for work, not fun. Anyway, driving through the parish, signs of the destruction Katrina brought are still very visible. The area we went to yesterday was more of a rural area that didn't have much of anything, but I think it might have been like that before the storm. For those of you not familiar with Louisiana Geography, Plaquemines parish sticks out into the Gulf of Mexico. One side is the Gulf, another is a body of water called Breton Sound. It is pretty much split in two by the Mississippi River. Yesterday was a really beautiful day. Here's a place where we stopped for a little break.

My favorite part about going there is the people. The locals are very nice and friendly. The worst part of the trip yesterday was that we drove through St. Bernard to get to Plaquemines. St. Bernard still has so many scares from Katrina. Many buildings are still just shells of their former selves. One of the guys I was riding with used to live there, he showed us the field where his neighborhood used to be. He said he had ten feet of water in his house. He said at least he had a two story house, because their wedding pictures and stuff like that were not lost. I don't like to think about it, but I guess it's just a part of living in this area.

We ate at a restaurant called Lil G's Kajun Restaurant in Belle Chasse. It is a seafood restaurant, I had a fried crawfish po-boy, which was good. The restaurant has many taxidermy animals on the walls. I have pictures of two of the ones I thought were interesting. Sorry if the pictures aren't so good, the camera on my phone doesn't do all that well in low light situations.








This afternoon I went to a crawfish boil at my in-law's house. Patrick, his sister, his dad and his Aunt went crawfishing in the Bonnet Carre Spillway yesterday morning. They caught five sacks of crawfish, so we had a really nice boil with a bunch of people from the neighborhood.







When I was leaving, I stopped and talked to one of their neighbors, who happens to be the realtor that sold us our house. He said that times are tough for Realtors these days. Even I have noticed that there are way too many for sale signs around the city. I guess there are a bunch of factors as to why so many houses are for sale. It seems like the most common is that a lot of people just don't want to have to deal with living in a place so susceptible to Hurricanes or maybe they just don't want to be reminded of the destruction every time they drive down the street.


I'm not planning on going anywhere anytime soon. I've played with the notion. I've looked at other cities where I could just put all of this behind me and try to make this seem like a bad nightmare, but then if I moved away, I really don't think it would feel like home. I just like the people of the New Orleans area too much to leave. And the food is pretty good too. I hope that things improve and the city of New Orleans rises out of the ashes, becoming a great American City again. Only time will tell. Sorry if that was sad, tomorrow's post should be more upbeat.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Wii and the Booties

My favorite feline in footwear, Puss in Boots, was gracious enough to model the baby bootie I made this weekend.

Now lets get to something for those of you who read my blog because you love me, not because you have any interest in knitting. Have you heard of the Nintendo Wii video gaming system? There is a new game for it. It's called the Wii Fit and it's a lot of fun. The game is divided into four different exercise groups. There's Aerobics, Strength exercises, Balance Games, and Yoga. Each of these groups has different exercises. In the aerobics section, there are things like hula hoop, step aerobics, and running. The balance games are also a lot of fun. There are skiing games, a tight rope walk and a soccer game where you are the goalie.