Sunday, November 30, 2008

Read More Books!

With the economy so messed up lately, you may be wondering how to save a little money, but not give up the things in life that you enjoy. If you enjoy reading, an option that you may want to look at is your local public library. I came to a realization one day that my house isn’t getting any bigger, and the more things I have, the less space I have in my house to walk around. The library is helpful, because it saves me money and space. When I am done with a book, I just return it. I don’t have to worry about where I will store it, or if I should give it away to someone or a charity. I always feel sort of guilty buying a book, then getting rid of it, but I seldom read the same book twice, so its really not necessary that I hold onto it for a long time. There are exceptions, I do still buy books, one reason is that my library doesn’t have every single book I want to read. My library is connected to a bunch of different libraries in my parish (ya’ll probably call them counties), so there is a huge selection, but not every book ever written. Another reason is that sometimes I like a writer’s or artist’s work so much that I want to support them, so that they will be able to produce more books. This is true in the case of Stephanie Pearl McPhee, the Yarn Harlot and Stephenie Meyer, who wrote the Twilight series. I just enjoy the Yarn Harlot’s sense of humor and the way she points out that a yarn stash the size of mine isn’t really abnormal for real knitters. Actually the amount of yarn that I own is small in comparison to many other knitters’ stashes.

There are other knitting book authors that I enjoy reading, these include Wendy Bernard, who has a popular blog, Knit and Tonic, and recently released a book full of patterns and helpful knitting tips, called Custom Knits. Crazy Aunt Purl, and Lolly knitting around, are two blogs that I enjoy reading also. Crazy Aunt Purl, her real name is Laurie also has a book out too it’s called Drunk, Divorced, and covered in cat hair. I also like to have lots of pattern books at hand so that if I want to start a new project, I'll have many choices.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and if you aren't from the U.S. I hope you had a great weekend.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Upcoming Events

This Saturday November 29th is Arts Council of New Orleans - Art Market
From 10am -4pm at Palmer Park - at the Intersection of S. Carrollton and Claiborne

After that:
December 5, 2008 Festival of Lights
4-9pm at the Baton Rouge River Center Plaza
December 6, 2008 Baton Rouge Art Market
8am to 12 noon at 5th at Main Street in Downtown Baton Rouge
December 13, 2008 Baton Rouge Art Market
8am to 12 noon at 5th at Main Street in Downtown Baton Rouge
December 20-21, 2008 Arts Council of New Orleans - Art Market
From 10am to 4pm at Palmer Park - at the Intersection of S. Carrollton and Claiborne

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Swift and the Yarn Winder.

There once lived a knitter, who went to a yarn shop and found a beautiful Hank of yarn. The knitter loved the way the yarn’s colors looked in its beautiful Hank. When she arrived home, she realized that this yarn was so precious that she couldn’t waste it on some project that wasn’t worthy. So, for months she searched through knitting books, magazines and the magical internet for the perfect project to make with this precious yarn. One day, when she had almost given up on finding that special project, a pattern fell out of a book and onto her lap. It would be perfect!

The knitter triumphantly took the Hank of yarn and removed the tags from the Hank. She untwisted the Hank and realized what a Hank really is. The Hank looked like a big loop of yarn. Remembering that a big loop of yarn can to easily be brought to the dark side and tangled, she twisted the yarn back into the Hank’s Pretzel Shape.

Her quest began. She knew she needed to find a way to wind the yarn into a neat little ball of yarn. She knew that in the book Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook
there were some instructions for winding yarn into one of those perfect little balls, but having a Hank of yarn would probably get messy. She thought “I could get someone to hold the yarn on their two hands like in some old movies I’ve seen.” She asked her husband for help, and he said “there has to be a better way!” So, off to the computer he went to look up alternatives on the internet. His solution came quickly, in the blink of an eye. He learned that there is something called a Swift , which is used to hold up the yarn so that it doesn’t tangle. But there must be a better way to ball up the yarn into a center-pull ball. Suddenly he found what he was looking for. It was called a Ball Winder

It was so simple, but would solve his Knitter’s problems. He found plans to build a Swift online and also saw that he could easily purchase one from many stores. He found that Ball Winder
aren’t so easy to make, they are usually made of plastic, with a crank and a cylindrical part to hold the new yarn ball. The cylinder moves in a planer motion when the crank is spun around.

The next night, when the knitter came home from work, she noticed two boxes on her chair. The smaller box had a card, which read, “Because I love you.” She opened up the first box and inside was the ball winder her husband showed her on the site last night. She opened the other box and found a beautiful New Wooden Swift . It was a light colored wood and was made up of many triangles. Just then, he walked through the door. She started to cry, they weren’t sad tears, just happy ones. He looked at her wondering why she was crying, and she said “I’m just so happy that you actually remembered our anniversary!” He thought for a moment and realized just how lucky he had been, because he actually did forget about the anniversary, and just wanted to make her happy, not fulfill any gift requirements for a special occasion. The husband smiled to himself and promptly set a reminder on his cell phone for next year’s anniversary. He didn’t ever want to disappoint her on their anniversary again.

The knitter later learned that most yarn shops who sell Hanks of yarn do have ball winders and swifts in store and if you ask, they will usually be very happy to transform your Hank of yarn into a beautiful and less messy ball of yarn.
The images are from They have a great variety of yarn and knitting tools.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Stitch Dictionary

I've always thought it was amazing how two little stitches, the knit and purl could combine to make all sorts of things. Actually it's the combination (Knit 2 Together) and lack of (Yarn Over) these two stitches that creates numerious stitch patterns.

People have been creating different stitch patterns throughout the years and written books which contain many of these stitch patterns. Why would they go through the effort to figure out all of these combinations? One use for these guides is for anyone who wants to create a pattern to have some inspiration. Another use for these books is the fact that they give knitters semi-easy way to modify patterns to the stitches that they prefer. This may take a little effort and some math, but may take a pattern from ok to perfect for it's recepient.

In the past few years, Vogue knitting has released some very good stitch dictionaries. These books have very clear directions and good photographs of each of the stitches so that the knitter can get a good idea of what the finished pattern will look like. There are currently three books:
Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume One: Knit & Purl
The Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume Two: Cables
The Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume Three: Color Knitting
There are other stitch dictionaries out there, but these are my favorites. Their presentation uses very nice yarn in neutral yet beautiful tones, which makes it easy to imagine the pattern in any yarn.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Has it really been that long?

So, it’s been a while. I just got to a point where I had no desire to knit anymore. I think I just needed a break from knitting. One reason was that my hands were starting to hurt. I wasn’t sure it was the knitting, but I didn’t want to take a chance. Another thing is that I somehow messed up on my gauge swatch (should’ve washed it before measuring) and the hat I was making for Patrick for Christmas was huge. The hat more closely resembled a sweater than a hat, even after I did another swatch (that I didn’t wash) and took away 40 stitches. The entire time I was knitting it, people made comments that it was too big, or looked at me funny when I said I was making a hat, and I didn’t want to listen, I kept thinking, this is merino wool and I can just full or felt it and it will somehow magically become the perfect size. I really believed it, but then I was scared that what if I did that and it just didn’t turn out right and I wasted this beautiful yarn. So, I have learned my lesson and will wash the swatch before I measure it to see how many stitches to cast on. Wish me luck with this.

Well, I’m back, and I’m hoping that I can keep the blog up. I’m still learning about what exactly I should include on my blog. I’ve gotten comments that I shouldn’t include so much personal information on the internet. That was one of those points when I really reconsidered the whole blog thing. I really didn’t think I was exposing myself to the world too much, but there was still a question, what is too much information? I mean I’ve told ya’ll some things about myself, and about interesting things to do and places to see in New Orleans. I was just trying to help tourists see the New Orleans that I know, its not like I go to any of the places I featured on my blog constantly. Patrick actually cooks a lot, so eating out is more of a special treat than something I need to keep from starving. I cook occasionally, but not as much as him. I try not to include pictures of my friends and family, just to keep their lives private. I don’t include a lot of pictures of myself, there are some, but they usually don’t show me completely.

I’m not really sure if this blog should be just about knitting, but I really don’t think so. Maybe mostly knitting, but I still like to write about things that non-knitters will find interesting. I want people to come here and to be able to learn about knitting. If someone doesn’t know how to knit, I hope that my instructions are clear and my videos really do illustrate the concepts well. I’m thinking about redoing the videos in the tutorials because the video camera I was using flips everything around and I worry that it might be confusing to someone who wants to learn. I’ve deleted a few posts which didn’t really have anything to do with knitting and didn’t really add to the blog.

I’m going to try to keep the same schedule as I once did with the blog:
Mondays: Upcoming Events
Tuesdays: Knitting Tools
Wednesday: Random thoughts or Rest
Thursday: Tutorials
Friday: Project Profiles

Thanks and have a great weekend!