Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Recycle, Remake, Reinvent

Back in April of 2010, I had attempted to make a wearable object from the yarn of Beth's sweaters that her grandmother had made for her. However, the shawl I made was the most hidious, disappointing, and down right ugliest thing that has every come off my needles. I was devistated.
So, I asked for the object of my distain back so that I could recreate it into something that I felt she wouldn't throw into the back of her closet and secretly send off to the garbage shoot when it became a lost memory for the both of us.

The sweater pattern I used was never intended to be used with this particular weight of yarn, but because of that, it evolved into a unique sweater that can never be duplicated.
The yarn her grandmother used was unidentifiable. I am sure it wasn't wool, but that is all I was sure about. I didn't have enough of the orange yarn to make this sweater, so used a crochet cotton for the rest, adding the blue/grey yarn from another yarn of her grandmother's that I have no conception of what it was either.

I think it's only fair to add that the knitting goddess thumbed her nose at me on this project. After I had it completed, I found that I had knitted one of the sleeves upside down.
Since it was an "after thought" sleeve, I was able to undo it at the source, turn it over and reattach it with a kitchner stitch.
I'm sure I will do this pattern again, but only with the yarn recommended and in one color. Lesson learned is that knitting teaches patience and humility EVERY day. :-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wesley's First Christmas

My oldest son, Christopher, has blessed our family by adding to his.
On October 8, 2011, Wesley Connor Brush was born. This automatically makes me a grandmother of which I have no experience. In fact, anyone who knows me will tell you that I don't really care for children.
Oh, mine were alright, I suppose, but even that was pushing it for me.
You see, back in 1990, I had a job in a daycare center where my children were attending. I never thought I'd make it past two weeks, yet I stayed there for six years. So maybe you could understand a little bit why I just don't really enjoy being around children.
Yet, Wesley was born and the person I always was seemed to just...disappear, and was replaced with what I am today, a picture showing, love gushing grandmother that chose the name Nana. You can color me surprised.
This has also effected my knitting choices as you will see. I decided to make an afghan for the precious tyke and not just any afghan, oh no, I wanted it to be heirloom, something that he will have and cherish for his entire life and I do mean his ENTIRE life.
I found the Tree of Life pattern off the Lion Brand website, got my materials together and on May 29, 2011 cast on the project that would consume my life for six months. I finished it on November 30, 2011.
My dear husband boxed it up along with a leather bound book of Twas The Night Before Christmas, and sent it off for Wesley's first Christmas.
May I present to you, my labor of love, for the new love of my life....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Long Time, No See

Where have I been?
Well, I've been right here, just not posting anything that I've been doing.
Why, you may ask? Hmmm, good question. It's not like I couldn't have taken the time to do so. I have been knitting like my backside was on fire, keeping six projects going at once.
That may be the reason.
My fingers have been tripping over the textures of yarn instead of typing on the keyboard. But it's a poor excuse and one I intend to rectify.

So, let's see what I've been up to since I last posted.
I told y'all about my precious sister, Carolyn being diagnosed with Acute Leukemia and that I made her a shawl to keep her warm while she was in the hospital.

What you may not be aware is Carolyn, has been in UAB hospital since July 6th after coming out of a three month remission.

I made her a few chemo caps out of the softest yarns I could find. This one is her favorite. :-)

Here are a few more....

Her bone marrow test still shows cancer cells after the last round of chemo. Her white blood cells are very low and she’s been plagued with fever and/or headaches daily.
Her doctors can’t give her anymore chemo. They were hoping that her white blood cells would come back up before sending her home, however, that didn’t happening either.
They gave her 2-4 weeks to live.

It is my pleasure to announce that she has passed that mile marker.
I talk to my sister every week, even though she is very tired, she is always interested in what is going on in my life and shares my joys as well as heartaches.

I called her last night to tell her about receiving a blue ribbon for the Crown Prince shawl I had entered in the Baldwin County Fair.
She said, "Susan, I thought you had already told me you had the blue ribbon."
"No", I replied, "I said I wanted the blue ribbon."
"Well I've been thinking all this time that you had already won."
"And that", I said without hesitation, "is the reason I received it, because it was already made real."

May I introduce to you, the Crown Prince from the book Knitted Lace of Estonia. My blue ribbon winner.

Even though it is folded on display, the pattern of the magnificent shawl is incredible and a pleasure to knit.

I honed my knitting skills on this pattern.
Took my lumps like a trooper too.
You can bet the lessons learned are ingrained and appreciated.

Wonder if I should tackle the Queen Susan Shawl? :-)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Heirloom Baby Blanket Ensemble

I sure am getting a lot of practice making baby blankets and stuff especially for someone who really doesn't like children.
I'm not Cruella DeVille like some people think, I have children of my own, but I don't necessarily enjoy being around other people's kids.
Actually, now that my boys are grown, I find that I actually have something in common with them other than being there mother.

Anyway, I was asked by a precious co-worker to make an heirloom blanket for her granddaughter who was due to make her arrival in February.
I got all caught up in the "oohs and ahhs" as this paneled blanket was taking shape that I decided that clearly, this granddaughter was going to need some socks to go with her blanket. We can't have her little toes exposed, now can we?

So, once I finished the socks I thought, well a good southern girl will need a hat to complete her ensemble. So I whipped out my crochet hook and two hours later, the child has a hat fit for a beauty queen.

I washed and blocked the blanket, socks and hat...stood back to admire my handiwork and thought, "What in the world are you doing?" Honey, I'm surprised that I stopped when I did before I knitted a onesie outfit or dress, because I most definitely had been looking at patterns!

Here's a few pictures of the project. But I would appreciate it that if you should see me making a stupid baby blanket again, that you will remind me that I DO NOT LIKE CHILDREN!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pirate Princess

My BFF Renee has a very old black short-haired miniature Dauchsaund named Schatzee. Renee and I were new friends when she brought Schatzee home and our sons were in first grade. Now our sons are in college and Schatzee is still with us, giving unconditional love to Renee and thinks I  love her too.

Schatzee doesn't know that I'm not a dog person. She thinks I'm just wonderful. She crawls in my lap and licks me as if I'm part of the family. I am more than happy to point out what a smelly, stupid dog she is but because the tone of my voice says anything but, she just knows that she is my favorite. After all these years, there is no point in telling her differently.

Living on Alabama's Gulf Coast, Renee has a love of the sea, sailing and the freedom it brings her, therefore, she considers herself a pirate at heart. (Renee and I also have a Johnny Depp fetish where Pirates of the Caribbean movies are concerned. But I digress...)

I was browsing through knitting patterns for some ideas when I ran across this pirate dog sweater. I knew instantly that I had to make it for her. I didn't buy any special yarn, I just used what I had in my stash which consisted of some off white baby yarn and ball of black acrylic. I found some pearl beads in the bottom of my beading tray, strung them on the baby yarn and sewed it around the collar.
I call it, Pirate Princess and hope that it's not too long, too wide or too garish for Schatzee's taste.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Needle Mania Giveaway!

GardenLynn is giving away a complete set of Knit Picks 4" DPNs!
They are Harmony wood and include sizes 0 - 4. These are a dream for knitting socks! They come in a portable, take along bag that keeps them clean and handy. 
Go to her Blog for complete details!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Carolyn's Prayer Shawl

My sister Carolyn was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia in August of 2010. She is 59 years old. 
I wanted to make her a special prayer shawl while she is having to endure chemotherapy and bone marrow tests. 
I chose the Rona Lace Shawl and the color Dusty Blue of the LB 1878 because I felt it truly represented in my mind the essence of my sister. 
Upon her first chemo treatment on August 12th I began this shawl.
Being dyslexic is a pain in the rear end. When I started this project, I thought it said to begin with 9 stitches. Well it’s not, it’s 6 stitches. 
I didn’t figure that out until I was well into the shawl. 
So the dimensions given for this shawl is larger than the pattern calls for. Holy cow.
Out of 153 rounds minus the edging, I’m now on 130 with one thousand stitches on my needles. It takes me an hour to go around one time.
Now on round 149. I can see the finish line. It’s taking me a little bit longer than an hour to finish one round, especially when I add beads. I am hoping to have this shawl finished, washed and blocked by this weekend. 10/25/10
Praise the knitting goddess I finally finished Carolyn’s Prayer Shawl on Halloween. It blocked over four beach towels and took 100 T-pins to secure. It’s just over 70 inches in diameter.
All the mistakes are my own doing, I attribute it to several wine nights and also not looking for the Errata for the pattern until well too late. We will just say it’s unique and hope that my sister will enjoy it for years to come.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Where Has the Time Gone?

My youngest son, Daniel, just turned twenty. Wow, when did I get old?
He's in college, wanting to major in Political Science. Who is this child?
Oh, that's right, he's not a child any longer. He is his own person, with his own ideals, thoughts and morals.

It seems I have made it to the other side after all. I wasn't sure I'd get through his teenage years. I wasn't sure my car would make it either. But then, something changed. A maturity that rose subtly like the dawning of a new day. I woke up one morning to an intelligent, focused young man.

One Christmas, I made him an afghan to help keep him warm. It was a stash buster, very colorful and cabled. Looking at it now, it seems inappropriate for him. He's outgrown it. Seems I will need to learn to adjust to this phase of his life, and mine.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Test Knit Christmas Stocking for Daniel

While I'm on my Christmas theme, I thought I would share with you a test knit from a designer on Ravelry.com
She has the most beautiful Christmas stocking designs I have ever seen.
I want you to know that I started and ripped this project three times before I finally completed it.
It had nothing to do with the pattern and everything to do with me just freaking out.
This is a fantastic design and I really learned a great deal working this stocking.
Who knew that patience is a virtue?

Christmas for Laura Ann

My sister in law, LA is always remembering me and mine during Christmas. I am the worst Christmas gift exchanger on the planet. It's not that I don't want to exchange gifts, it's just that I am not a shopper. Never have been, never will be.

I had just finished knitting an afghan for my son Daniel. It was decorated in beautiful cables and sported as many colors of the rainbow as I could manage. If my son had been named Jacob, it could have been a biblical afghan.

I had left over yarn from this project and was still in knitting mode, so I decided to make a sweater for Laura Ann. I found a pattern from the website Girl from Auntie and used her pattern Trumpet to get me started.

Trumpet has long sleeves and a short row cowl neck that this southern girl just abhors. Just looking at it made me break out in a sweat.

So I followed the pattern, omitting the sleeves and the cowl neck and added vertical ribbing for contour fitting. I used Caron Simply Soft in Deep Teal Heather and Denim Heather. 

Pleased with the outcome and giddy because I didn't waste a moment in a retail store, I had my sweet hubby wrap the gift to send with my mother in law since she was traveling to Birmingham to visit Laura Ann and other family.

Christmas will be here before I know it so I best get my patterns out now.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Test Knit

This is a test knit on Ravelry for designer Alison Hogg.
I would rate this a beginner’s weekend project.
Garter stitch body knits up fast.
Use of DPN’s for hat are a great way to expand knitting skills.
It was a fun project that made me smile.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sharing from Yanista's Blog

It was created before the horrible oil spill in the Gulf. But rather than just wring our hands, we've teamed up with A Good Yarn Sarasota to donate a portion of the proceeds of the sales of this colorway to the National Wildlife Federation, which will help rescue animals impacted by the spill and assist in cleanup efforts. It feels good to do something instead of just reading news stories about who's to blame and how horrible it is. If you buy Gulf of Mexico, the benefits will be threefold:

You'll get an awesome colorway (It's currently instock on a huge variety of bases, including Springvale Bulky, Adorn Sock, fabulosity Wexford Merino Silk, Galenas Merino, Springvale DK, and Springvale Worsted.)
You'll be supporting two small businesses: Three Irish Girls and A Good Yarn. Our businesses in turn support our families, our employees, and their families.
You'll be doing something to help the wildlife that's been so terribly affected by the oil spill.
You can order it by emailing info@agoodyarnsarasota, calling 941.487.7914, or by visiting the store in person. Directions are on their website.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Knit Picks Try It Needle Set

I had a gift card for KnitPicks and needed to spend it! I looked at all the yarn on sale, I looked at all the books, but here is what I purchased:

Can’t decide between the Harmony wood, nickel plated, and Zephyr acrylic needle sets? Our Try It Needle set gives you the chance to try all three types of interchangeable tips, in our most common sizes. You will receive a size 6 Harmony wood tip, a size 7 nickel plated tip, and a size 8 Zephyr acrylic tip, as well as a set of 24” cables. This set is also handy for knitters who already have an interchangeable needle set, but tend to work on multiple projects that require the same common needles sizes. This is also a great gift for new knitters who want to find their favorite needle finish, and buy needles that would work with many types of projects and yarn. $19.99

This should be fun!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sweet Dreams

I have a new nephew. Well, my niece had a baby boy. Does that make him my nephew too? LOL
Anyway, I am making him a baby blanket. At the moment, it is a work in progress.
I loved this pattern and would have knitted it as written, but I made it with a blue background and yellow moon and stars. I just had to make it my own. 
This is my first baby blanket. Never thought to make one before. This wouldn’t surprise my friends, they all know I don’t like children. :-) Link to the pattern is provided.

OK I have completed the blanket and can move on to the next new and exciting project. (I hope)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Swap Clubs Rock

I told you previously about the Eco-tote bag that I made for my swap buddy on Ravelry. I received my package from [Sewucan] when I got home from work last night. The care and thought that went into this package just blows me away. She sent me: two hot pad holders from the skein of yarn, scarlet red crochet thread, red crochet hook, box of cinnamon stick tea, red metal water bottle, red stitch counter and Twizzlers (all this wonderful red for the "scarlett" in my name) a magnetic picture frame, seeds from her garden, a beautiful heart pin to wear or put on my knitting bag and a patriotic yo-yo! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Going Green with the colors White & Blue

Boredom takes many forms. It can be the instigator of mischief or the catalyst to something you've never tried before. Luckily for me, it took the latter and in a positive way.
On Ravelry, I joined a Swap Group from Lion Brand Yarn. The idea was to include the following in your swap package:

  1. One (1) or more skeins of Lion Brand organic cotton yarn (i.e., Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton or Lion Organic Cotton)

  2. Item handmade from at least one (1) skein of Lion Brand organic cotton

  3. Eco-friendly gift (i.e., organic coffee or tea; reusable shopping bag; stainless steel water bottle; rainforest treats; flower seed kits; or jewelry from recycled materials)
 I purchased the yarn and gathered the things I wanted to include in the swap box but was having a devil of a time thinking of things that I could make with only one skein of yarn.
Now you might say to yourself, "Susan, you have thousands of patterns at your disposal that are for only one skein of yarn." And you would be right...but I wanted to make something that went with the Eco-friendly theme and that was harder to find.

I found what I wanted to make. It's called "Eco-Tote" and it was the perfect item for grocery toting eco-friendly conscience people. However...out of the three skeins I bought to put in the box for my swap buddy, I used two skeins to make the tote. (Insert major guilt here) I could have used the third skein but stopped myself.

I hope my swap buddy will enjoy her handmade gift. Here is what it looks like.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Matriarch

I fell in love with lace knitting. Shawls mostly. I want to knit them all...circulars, squares, triangles, you name it. I have almost a hundred great patterns for lace shawls of all shapes and sizes. 
On the Ravelry website, I found this fantastic pattern called Haruni. 
Haruni is a triangular shawl, worked from the top down, with a crochet bind off. You can easily adjust the size of this shawl by knitting more or less repeats of the first chart. A great story is behind the name. It seems that Haruni means "Grandmother" in Quenya, Tolkien's elven language. :-)
I cast on May 1st and cast off May 22, washed and blocked, taking well over 125 T-pins and needed more.
When I had finished I sat on my couch and stared at it for 20 minutes thinking, "Wow, look what I made."
I will be giving this shawl to my eldest sister, Diane who is the matriarch of our family and my second mother. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tea for Two?

I found this precious knit pattern for a teapot cosy at www.knitty.com called Kureyon Kozy that I just had to try. When I had finished it, my Mother in Law gave me a beautiful white teapot with seashells embossed on the sides to go with it. I am sending it to my daughter in law along with the casserole carrier.

Grandma's Love

Beth G. is the Sales Director in our office. Her grandmother used to make her sweaters that over time became unwearable and were about to be tossed out. I had asked her for the sweaters and told her I could unravel them and make her a little something that she would have to remember her Grandma's love of knitting. Here is Beth's shawl.
I must admit, that the knitting goddess saw fit to slap me upside my head where this pattern was concerned. I went at it with the attitude that if I would just plunge in and go for it that I could make a work of art. I thought I knew what I was doing, but I didn't. I didn't get upset when I had to frog the project 7-8 times and start again. Oh no...but when I realized that I didn't know how to block the darn thing is where the lesson in humility knocked me off my feet.