Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Tale of Toasty Toes . . .

Meet my new rubber boots:
New Rubbers

I just lurve them so much!!  Now I can welcome the spring rains (whenever they get here) without fear of drenching my pants and socks.  I think I've mentioned before that I walk to work almost everyday.  Heavy rains accompanied by strong winds are no fun for walking. 

And while we're on the topic of feet, have you seen my slippers lately?
Phentex Slippers
My MIL made them for me two years ago--two years!!  Phentex is sturdy stuff!  How does she manage to work the two colours without actually twisting the colours together?  I never seemed to get the hang of it, although I came pretty close with these slippers I made for my son.

Unfortunately my own comfy slippers are showing their age.  Check out the bottoms.
Worn Soles
So I started making myself a new pair.  Remember the ones I whipped up in a day for my other son?  The pattern includes adult sizes too.  Last night I started and finished one slipper.
New Slipper
I'm using some white acrylic and another skein of Phentex (the colour is called denim, but it looks more like periwinkle).  All the knitting is done, but I have to gather up the toe stitches and them seam it .  Not bad for one night's work!  Maybe I can whip up the second one before the end of the week.

What's on your feet?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Additions to Knitting Library

Finally received some knitting books in the mail (fulfulling my Craft Book Club obligations--hee, hee).  I'd been eyeing both books for a while mainly because I wear cardigans.  A lot of cardigans!  I'm not a big pullover person 'cuz they can be very hot (and not in a good way).  The cardi option lets me whip off that extra warm layer if I get overheated (the unfortunate consequence of working in an old, old building that probably dates back to early 1900s if not earlier).

The first book is Simple Style
All the garments focus on a single design element such as the overall shape, colour, finished edging or a stitch pattern.  I also appreciate the simplified finishing and there's a section on how to simplify one's knitting.  This book is published by Interweave, the same people who bring you Interweave Knits (although a beautiful and inspiring magazine, I often find the patterns a wee bit too challenging).  So everything is well organized with schematics and close-up photos and the sizes go up to 50" (but not on all garments).  Of the 19 patterns included, there are 2 skirts, 1 jumper, 1 wrap, 6 sweaters, 2 vests, 1 sleeveless t-shirt and 6 cardigans.  Almost all are pretty, but I especially love, love the cardigans.

And while I'd love to make many of the items in the book, I've got two faves that I love:
Kokopelli Jacket

Offset Raglan
As to when I would find the time to make these lovely items is a question I cannot answer.  Still, there was much inspiration and knitting love after browsing the book.

The same cannot be said for my second book, Knitted Jackets.

Interweave also printed this book.  Except for a handful of items, I found many of the jackets lacking in style: too boxy, shapeless and unattractive.  Out of the 20 patterns offered, I'd only make 4: the cover jacket pictured above along with the three pictured below.
Northest Celtic

The Wrapper

Box Top

Despite the numerous disappointing designs, the book was still worth purchasing just to own  the above patterns.  Let's face it: I'm no designer and the four designs above I absolutely love.  What would be the cost of purchasing only those 4 patterns?  More than the $10 I paid for the book.  So for me, it was money well spent (gotta love "buy one, get 2nd half-off" book club offer).

What's in your knitting library?

Monday, February 22, 2010

And So the Sock Grows . . .

Past the Gusset Decreases

Surprisingly, my sock-in-limbo is no longer in limbo.  It's growing!  Mostly I've been working on it in dribs and drabs: fifteen minutes here; twenty minutes there.  It all adds up.  Managed to work the heel flap, turn the heel and get past the gusset decreases--all in one week!  Now it's onward to the toes (thankfully I don't have exceptionally large feet).  Just straight, plain knitting--albeit on spaghettini-sized needles!

Round and Wide

Having never made this particular pattern before, I'm knittting it as is.  No modifications (I've made the children's version, but the ladies is slightly different).  And I'm lovin' the rounded wide heel.  Sometimes the heel can be a bit pointy and I'm not too keen on that (especially since my feet seem to be widening with age).

Knit on little needles . . .

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Ubiquitous Dish Cloth (and Other Cotton Tales)

So the crocheting continues here at casa d'Acrylic Girl.  Looking through the growing stash, I came across some leftover Bernat Handicrafter Cotton from a toy project I made a few years back.

Have you been not been formally introduced?  The yellow fellow with the jaunty beret is our resident Francophone.  Meet Pierre, also know as French Bear (have I mentioned that my kids name their toys?).
French Bear (aka Pierre)

The pattern had come from Debbie Bliss' Knitted Bears.  Loved the pictures of the cute bears in lovely costumes, but intensely disliked the fiddly patterns with lots of pieces to sew (have I mentioned I dislike sewing?).  The one good thing about the project is that I "cut my teeth" on various knitting techniques and finishing.  I also learned to dislike garter stitch and worsted cotton . . .until today.  

Generally worsted cotton can be hard on the hands, especially when knitting.  But for crochet?  Well, its not too bad, especially when working a small project (like the items pictured below). 
Matching Dish Cloth and Dish Soap Apron

With my handy dandy hook, I finished a simple dishcloth and a dish soap apron. Does dish soap need an apron? Maybe not, but it sure does look cute. N'est pas?  Both patterns came from a Bernat booklet I picked up in the fall  for a dollar.  Both items allowed me to practise my crochet skills, especially decreasing and increasing.  And I need practice.

Adding a Splash of Colour at the Kitchen Sink

Happy hooking! ;)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Knitting Updates

So I finished my red mittens--yay for me! 

More Red Mittens

My only complaint wth the pattern is that the thumb runs a little long, but that's an easy fix--just work one or two less rounds before decreasing.

And I've picked up my sock again--remember that sock that was started way back when?  It's now my take-along project.  I don't have an updated photo, but I'm working the heel flap and hopefully will work through the heel turn and gusset by the end of this week.

And of course, still working on my Bernat projects, but I soooo hate the "finishing" part of any project (the weaving in of ends and the sewing of buttons).  How do I motivate myself?  I start another project of course!  That's some leftover Bernat Softee Chunky Twists (loving the colour).

Another Beret

It's the same pattern as my blue beret minus the modifications.  This beret is gonna be knit as written (I'm actually farther along into the pattern than pictured above). 

Hope you've got a great week ahead!  Happy knitting! ;)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Love Day

Hope you're having a nice day with the ones you love.  And remember that you shouldn't wait for Valentine's Day to say "I love you"; you should say it every day (along with thank you).

There is knitting content to share, but my brain is feeling fuzzy and I need my morning cup of jo'.  Catch ya later.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Busy Cleaning . . . Can't Blog

Who am I kidding?  I can spare a moment or two from the laundry, the scrubbing and the polishing . . .yuck!  Anyone else hate cleaning as much as I do?

Cleaning Supplies

Even managed to re-organize our kitchen cupboards where supplies were housed in a way that hindered meal prep.  Now all the canned goods, baking items and dried goods are more accessible and easier to find.  Sadly we had to toss lots of stuff--items that were out-dated and past their expiration dates.

Why the cleaning spurt?  After a month of household neglect due to dedicated knitting, I've finished my big project!  Yippee!  I'll post an updated pic to my flickr photostream once the ends are woven in and the buttons attached (and of course I'll post a link to Bernat Yarns once that post goes live).

Now back to cleaning before I lose all momentum  . . .

Happy cleaning :S

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sticks and Hooks

Despite all the time spent on knitting my big project (which is almost done--just needs button bands), I managed to sneak in some knitting on the red mittens.  They're not done yet, but they should be done in a week even with sporadic attention.

I really do prefer the Bernat pattern to the one from Knit Simple.  The final product looks nicer and is much easier to adapt for a larger hand.  The one from Knit Simple looked too small (especially the thumb), but that may have been a result of my yarn substitution (and we won't mention my gauge issues, LOL).

And I started my crochet project.  Just to get back in the hook of things (oops, that's a bad one), I made a practise square on some scrap yarn.  Funny how your fingers remember what to do.  Feels like the hook never left my hand.  So I've been busily searching for crochet resources and found tons in one of the crochet groups on Ravelry.  One good site to visit for the basics is Lion Brand .  And check out Crochet Cabana for more tutorials.  For more links, check out Crochet

Happy hooking :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Greetings from the Deep Freeze

Snow, Close-Up and Personal
(from unknown photographer in wallpaer torrent)

The joys of a Canadian winter!  With frigid temperatures all week (not a fan of -29 C wind chill), I haven't been able to walk to work.  Missing that little bit of daily exercise.  It was my time to think, ponder and enjoy the relative quiet (minus the passing traffic).

Poor kiddies at school have been out sporadically this week, whenever the sun shone and the wind died down.  And my toddlers at daycare haven't been out at all (although surprisingly they haven't been too shack-wacky). 

How's winter treating you in your neck of the woods? 

The good news: February is a short month and the days are getting longer.  Conclusion: spring's just around the corner!

Moon Rising
(photographer unknown from wallpaper torrent)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Where's Me Hook?

I am so psyched to start a crochet project.  Nothing too difficult or too big--just a small, manageable project suitable for a "beginner".  And its not just 'cuz I found my doily from way back when. 

I read many, many blogs (perhaps too many--100 at last count--which reminds me that I gotta update my blogroll soon).  Many are knitters, but some of them also crochet.  Their collective creativity has got me inspired:  
I'm not ready to work on something so ambitious as a cardigan, but surely there must be something out there for me to try (and I am scouring the free pattern libraries).  Meanwhile, I'm perusing some instruction books I picked up over a year ago from Crafter's Choice Book Club .  

Me thinks me needs to find me hook!
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