Saturday, August 22, 2009

Review of Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside The Lines

I recently read the book: Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines: Patterns, Stories, Pictures, True Confessions, Tricky Bits, Whole New Worlds, and Familiar Ones, Too by Kay Gardiner & Ann Shayne, the authors of the popular knitting blog: Mason-Dixon Knitting.
This book is a fun read. Lots of interesting patterns. Some of the patterns seem a little strange, but others are very tempting. (But beware, I've heard there are some errors in some of the patterns in this book, so before you start knitting a project, check the publisher's site to see if there are any errors listed. This may save you lots of time and annoyance.) The patterns I found tempting were Belinda (Raverly link, you may not be able to see it unless logged into Ravelry), which is a shawl in two layers that mimics Plaid. Belinda (Ravelry link) is very light and airy, just the right amount of warmth on a cool winter's day. The Errant Socks are pretty, it seems like it would be fun to play around with different cable patterns on a sock. I also really like the Liberty (Ravelry link) throw. It's a Fair Isle blanket that is knitted in the round, then steeked so that it lays flat. Ann and Kay go into detail of how to do Fair Isle knitting, and steeking. Also, they have plenty of knitting humor and fashion humor. Their color wheels are funny, so is their Personal Style: A Look Back, where cartoons portray their looks through the years. Another part that I enjoyed was their Mason-Dixon Knitting Hall of Shame at the back of the book where they show some of the design ideas that didn't quite work out. I think this is a good book, it incorporates Kay and Ann's sense of humor and some very nice patterns. I think there is something for everyone with the different sections of patterns. The description of this book on the can be seen by clicking on the following link:
Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Duck two ways...

Lately I have been knitting a lot of toys. And these toys have all been from the book World of Knitted Toys. For the ducks, I made one duck the way the pattern called for, and then I made another using DPNs . I decided that knitting it in the round would be a good way for me to avoid sewing up the seams. It was and I preferred knitting it this way. Using the magic loop method would probably work too, but I actually prefer using DPNs . Here's how I transferred the pattern from knitting flat to in the round: first, I casted on the required number of stitches using the Eastern Cast On (you may want to mute the video, I need to fix the video but havn't had the time). Then I started working the round (I didn't actually mark where the round started, but this would have been a good thing to do at this point) Then I continued the pattern using the same number of stitches that it specified. I followed the pattern to the end and the only things I had to sew were the wings onto the body and the beak onto the head. I knit the beak in the round also, but I think it would've looked better if I would've knit it flat and then sewed it up. What do you think? Which duck do you prefer? Some other toys I have been making from World of Knitted Toys are: Cleo the Clownfish, Zooey the Zebra, and the parrot.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cleo the Clownfish

This clownfish pattern is from the book World of Knitted Toys
by Kath Dalmeny. This is knit from some of the yarn my Grandma gave me from her stash and a ball of orange yarn leftover from the time I made a hunting hat a few years ago. All of the yarn is acrylic. It is usually very relaxing watching fish swim around in an aquarium. Clownfish have a way of taking cares away and cheer me up with their bright orange stripes. I’m sure Clownfish became more popular as a result of the movie Finding Nemo. It was a good movie, sad at points, but it had its happy times too. I don’t completely agree with the “Fish are friends not food” mantra that the sharks kept saying. Some fish taste too good not to eat. Like Trout and Redfish and Halibut. Yum! You can tell I come from a place where locals love to fish almost as much as we love to eat. What is on your needles? What kinds of projects are you currently working on? Please leave some comments with your current projects, they don’t have to be knitting projects, can be anything. I’m just curious about what my readers are up to. To see other projects I've made from World of Knitted Toys, see Zooey the Zebra, and the Ducks.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Presenting Zooey the Zebra

Zooey is from the book World of Knitted Toys by Kath Dalmeny. I decided to name her Zooey after the actress Zooey Deschanel, who was in movies such as Elf, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galley, Failure to Launch and the TV miniseries Tin Man.
Zooey the Zebra was knit with some yarn that my grandma gave me, she asked me to go through her stash and take whatever I wanted. I figured a lot of the yarn she gave me would be good to make toys with. All of it is acrylic, so if the toys get dirty, they can be washed easily. The first white yarn I used was some sort of old Phentex yarn. I couldn’t knit with it; it literally sent chills down my spine. I have the same problem with the cotton that used to come in medicine bottles. Yuck! Anyway, I switched to another acrylic yarn and was fine.

Knitting Zooey made me remember my least favorite part of knitting, having to sew everything together. I am really not a huge fan of sewing, either with a machine or by hand. I am always a little apprehensive when using a sewing machine. I just never wanted to catch my fingers with the machine’s needle; I’ve heard this happens when you sew with a machine a lot. Hand sewing is tedious, which I don’t mind too much, the other thing about it is that I am really not good at it. My mom is good at all sewing, but somehow whenever I try to sew seams, I end up with something that looks pretty bad. The stitches are uneven and the pieces never lay flat. Maybe sewing will come with practice, but it seems like no matter how much I sew, I still end up with something that just doesn’t look right. I know a lot of people who are really good at sewing, maybe I should ask them to help me out. Or maybe it’s just not one of those talents I possess.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A twelve step program for dealing with yarn addiction.

After writing yesterday’s post, I realized that I might be addicted to yarn. Not that there is really anything wrong with that, I mean, yarn isn’t really hazardous to your health. Unless you are allergic to it, and I guess some people can be accidentally strangled by it, but besides that, I can’t think of anything that would be all that adverse about owning yarn. My problem is that I own a small house and large quantities of yarn. I’ve been pretty good about keeping the yarn stored in just a couple of rooms of my house, but I have noticed that the yarn keeps multiplying. Whenever I go stash diving, I find all of this really nice yarn I must have bought last time I had a yarn binge. Anyway, I’ve devised a strategy to handle my growing yarn collection. This would also work for pattern books or almost anything that is taking over the space of your house.

A twelve step program for dealing with yarn addiction.
Step 1: Admit that you are addicted to yarn.

Step 2: Believe that yarn will not take over your life.

Step 3: Make a decision to go on a yarn diet. Set a budget of the number of skeins/balls/hanks of yarn you will buy in the next year.

Step 4: Make an inventory of all of your yarn. Really just sort of count how many balls of yarn you have. Also count the number of projects that are on the needles.

Step 5: Admit to the skeins of yarn that are hidden in strange places around your house and anywhere you have decided to store it.

Step 6: Be willing to go through your stash and either use up some of the yarn that has been sitting there for years, or give it away. Give away anything that you know you will never knit with. You know what I’m talking about, the skein that sends chills down your spine whenever you touch it. The balls of yarn you bought for 25 cents per ball, but soon realized that you paid too much.

Step 7: Humbly ask someone to help you with this process

Step 8: Make a list of all of the projects you want make with your yarn. Match yarn to pattern. Ravelry is a great resource for this.

Step 9: Stop ignoring the partially finished projects that have been on your needles for ages. Either vow to finish them very soon, rip/frog them and make them into something else, or cast off and find a new use for whatever it was. A lot of knitted things are flat, maybe get a bunch of these abandoned projects and sew them all together, making a blanket for those cold winter nights. If you have some sleeves from an unfinished sweater, sew them on your blanket too, you could make one of those blankets with the sleeves like the ones seen on TV. Be Creative! Have fun!

Step 10: Continue to take inventory of your yarn stash. It is probably overwhelming and a little scary, but it can be overcome.

Step 11: Knit a little of something you seriously want to knit. Change takes time, and if you work too hard at all of this too quickly, you might get overwhelmed and disgusted with the whole process.

Step 12: Have a yarn awakening, think about what you like in a yarn and what you don’t like in a yarn. If you know that you absolutely hate knitting with cotton, or silk or wool or acrylic, stop buying it. Even if the yarn is on sale for an awesome price, avoid it, if you know that you won’t ever enjoy using it.

Just remember, there are worse things to be addicted to than yarn.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Might as well face it, you’re addicted to yarn…

Top 10 ways to tell if you are addicted to yarn:

10. Your yarn stash takes up more room in your house than your bed.
9. You go to a yarn shop one weekend, buy sock yarn, then the next weekend, when you are at another yarn shop, you see sock yarn ½ price and have to buy it, even though you have lots of sock yarn at home.
8. Even though your yarn stash takes up a very large amount of space in your home, you still have the need to take any yarn that is offered to you.
7. You have this fantasy that involves owning a yarn shop, or developing a line of yarn.
6. You secretly wish you could move to the country, buy a few acres of land and raise any animals whose fur/wool/hair can be made into yarn. Alpacas, Llamas, and Merino sheep are on the top of my list for this.
5. You wish they would sell yarn in your grocery store, it seems like they sell everything else.
4. Whenever you buy new skeins/hanks/balls of yarn, you have to tell your significant other to sit before you tell him/her how much you spent, or how many new skeins/hanks/balls of yarn he/she is the new owner of, because you share everything, right?
3. You knit a sweater for someone who is much smaller than you, but when you try to give it to them, its almost impossible. Not because you need this sweater, but because you wonder if this person will really understand how amazing this Alpaca yarn is.
2. You take up spinning so that you can make more yarn.
1. You carry yarn around with you at all times. Never know when you will get stranded somewhere and need something to do.

Check out the follow up to this: A twelve step program for dealing with yarn addiction.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Taking a break for the Hands

I hadn’t blogged for a while. This was for a few reasons, time is a big one, but not the biggest. From knitting, my hands started hurting, I guess I was on the verge of a repetitive stress injury, but now I'm feeling a lot better. I was probably being over cautious, but still, I decided to pursue some other hobbies for a few months, hoping that my hands would feel better. I do have some worries about being able to knit and work with my hands when I get older because there is some history of arthritis in my family.

I started drawing and painting again. I read some books and started Geocacheing with my husband. He just started a blog to tell about our adventures with Geocacheing. It also explains what Geocacheing is in case you were interested.

A month or so ago I decided to start knitting again, not knitting as much as I had at one point, but starting off slow. I started on a scarf from one of the One Skein Wonders books, either 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders: A world of possibilities inspired by just one skein
or Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Small Indulgences
, I can't remember which one. I used a couple of skeins that I bought sometime back from the yarn shop on Metairie Road. It was a variegated light blue color, very pretty, very soft merino wool. I can’t believe I didn’t take pictures before I gave it away. The pattern is called Winter Windows; it’s a nice basket weave pattern with some lacy portions. The lucky recipient of this scarf was my grandmother’s sister, Juliette, it was her 80th birthday present.

I’m glad I took a break from knitting; it gave me an opportunity to miss the actual click of the needles and the feel of the yarn between my fingers. I’m hoping that I will have more time to blog and more material to blog about soon. Right now I am working on a Zebra stuffed animal, I’m thinking about calling her Zooey. I will tell you more about Zooey next time on KnittingKel!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Article about Lane Lefort - The Photographer

This post doesn't have anything to do with knitting, but be patient, I have some new knitting posts in the works.

In the July/August edition of the Acadiana Profile magazine, there is a feature article about the photographer, Lane Lefort. You can see the article The Natural Beauty of South Louisiana as seen through the Lens of Lane Lefort here:

His website is at Feel free to look through his online gallery and maybe even buy a little piece of Louisiana as seen through the lens of Lane Lefort.