i'll knit if i want to...or not

So this use to be my knitting blog, now its a purging place for all of my ramblings...whether it be craft, cooking, or just the craziness of my everyday life!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Domestic Bliss

Well it's been a few days...but I've been busy. For starters, the sun has finally come out. So spirits are high, and energy levels even higher after all those dormant rainy days. So what have I been doing? Well lets just say its been a little slice of domestic bliss in these parts...
JFC and I have begun doing yoga every morning. Which I know I am a bit late to the game...but it is terrific. Also I have been delving deeper into the culinary world. So yesterday we decided to start a little herb garden...just some basics-rosemary, basil, parsley. We are crossing our fingers that it works seeing as though we are going into winter..heh heh...but we use so many herbs in the cooking these days we decided it would be cost effective and JFC especially has been itching to put his green thumb to good use (racking up more man skills...it is a never ending quest, if he has it his way we will have some crazy multi-leveled self watering system filled with grasses, herbs, and veggies spanning the whole of our balcony and roof...yes, roof.)
As far as culinary adventures go...the sky is the limit. I have been doing everything from homemade pizza dough and ciabatta...to homemade sauces and biscuits (as in amercian style biscuits with soup and what these crazies call cookies). It will never cease to amaze me what you can do with a little flour....or a little string for that matter (and yup, just like that i am on to a new topic)...I have been knitting and I am so excited for this project. So excited I am not even going to tell you what it is I am making. In the end it may only amaze me...but it is just turning out magically. Hopefully not long to go before I can share the finished project with all of you...and now i leave you in suspense

Friday, May 26, 2006


Well it has now been raining here for 6 (and a half!) straight days. Sure the first day or 2 can be quite cozy...light the fire get snuggled up in front of it and knit to my hearts content. But now, as I look out on terrential downpour and gusting winds...I've pretty much had enough. My vitamin D levels must be at an all time low. Yesterday we decided to get out of the house and go on alittel road trip to help with the rainy day blues...I personally was uber-excited because from my internet research there were not 1, but THREE good yarn stores in the town we were going to. So the whole drive down I am imagining the yarn I want to buy, the projects I want to knit...and the rain...try as it may..could not dampen my mood. Then we get to town...2 of the yarn shops have been closed, and the third switched hands and is now a fabric store with a few balls of yarn in the corner. I almost cried. This isnt the first time this has happened...there was suppose to be a "yarn world" with the "largest selection of yarn ever!!!" near where we use to live...closed. How I miss my michigan yarn stores...I had 3 amazing ones right where I lived...not to mention the basic craft stores that had a decent selection. *sigh* The good news?? It seems all this rain makes for perfect lighting in the bush to take interesting macro shots. I really love bright green of those leaves...and that moss down there looks like it should be underwater. Ah nature...you cure my woes.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Do a little dance, Knit a little love, Get down tonight

So I have just been in a quickie mood lately...not motivated enough to knit something big, but itching to do something quick, something fun, something interesting...I needed something with a semi intricate pattern to keep my short-attention-spanned-self focused...but not too intricate 'cause I like to do other things while I knit...such as watching Coronation Street and Little Britian. So I cast on to do a hair wrap...easy and perfect for putting in a fun stitch pattern.

I decided to do this easy heart pattern, and was enjoying it so much I cast on in another color and knit both at the same time. As I was knit-knitting away I realized I should share the love...so here's the pattern...go ahead...do a little dance, knit a little a love, get down tonight...

I 'Heart' Highlighters Hair Wrap
(named after the first yarn I cast on with ...as it is the exact colors of highlighters...and yes I purchased it the same day as the "techni-color yarn mistake")

Needles: size US 4/3.5mm straight needles
Yarn: for the I 'heart' Highlighters I used a fine sock yarn by Patons,
for the I 'heart' Snow I used a sport weight merino wool by Naturally
I didn't bother doing a gauge...cause its a hair wrap and I'm lazy...but I suggest knitting quite tightly if you are using the sport weight so that it isn't too wide

Special Stuff:
*When I say YO, I'm not including the knitting the next stitch...so basically what I mean by YO since it is always on a knit side...is just bring the yarn to the front.
*SKP: Slip 1 stitch knitwise, knit the next stitch, then pass the slipped stitch over the stitch you just knit
*S4K: same as a SSK, but slipping 4 stitches knitwise, instead of just 2
*SK2togP: slip 1 stitch knitwise, knit next 2 stitches together, pass the slipped stitch over the stitches you just knit together


CO 27 stitches
K first 3 rows (garter stitch)
Begin Stitch Pattern:

Row 1: k2, yo, k2tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, k3, skp, yo, k1, yo, k2tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, k3, skp, yo, k2
Row 2 & all even rows: purl
Row 3: k3, yo, k4tog, yo, k3, yo, s4k, yo, k3, yo, k4tog, yo, k3, yo, s4k, yo, k3
Row 5: k3, k2tog, yo, k5, yo, skp, k3, k2tog, yo, k5, yo, skp, k3
Row 7: k2, k2tog, yo, k7, yo, skp, k1, k2tog, yo, k7, yo, skp, k2
Row 9: k1, ktog, yo, k9, yo, sk2togp, yo, k9, skp, k1

Repeat stitch pattern until desire length...I would suggest anywhere between 35 to 45 inches. When you have reached desire length:

Knit thru Row 3 of the pattern
Row 4: purl
K 3 rows (garter stitch)

Voila...feel the love.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Surgeon for a Day

So what do you do when your darling dearest accidentally burns a hole in his (almost) brand new hand knit socks from yours truly?

First off, you can't help but look, I mean feel, a bit hurt...a creation you made has had a possibly fatal wound. Is it fixable? Can you salvage what was once your perfect skinny legs sock? Or will darling dearest have to walk around with one very cold foot?
I began by grabbing a needle and matching yarn and tried to graft new yarn over the burn area. Unfortunately the wound couldn't stand up to the poking and pulling and just began to crumble in my fingers. So then I tried to just sew the hole shut and then I would knit a patch and fasten it over the wound...so I begin stitching, and the slightly burnt yarn I was sewing into, slowly but surely began to tear.
Dooms day thoughts begin enterting my head and I am sure there is no way I am going to be able to fix this poor sock, and I will probably have to knit a whole other sock (which is fine...but I had other projects lined up..). Then luckily a light bulb went off in my head. Hadn't I just seen, the very day before, and episode of knitty gritty where they undid parts of sweaters?? Couldn't I apply the same idea to fix these socks???

So I scrambled to get my neon red yarn to use as a tourniquet and very carefully thread it into one side of each stitch all the way around the top of the burn. I then very carefully snip snip snipped away until I had successfully removed the ankle/foot from the calf.

That having gone smoothly I carefully slipped all of my "new" live stitches back onto the DPN's I had knitted the socks with in the first place. And then went thru the tourniquet procedure again with foot, carefully threading my waste yarn in and then snip snipping away.

With the injury amputated from the sock, it was time to replace the area I had removed. I simply counted how many rows I had cut out, and reknit them straight down from the leg. Easy Peasy!

So now I have the leg to the point I need it, and my foot is ready and waiting...I just needed to reattach them without leaving a big noticable line. So I arranged the leg stitches on to 2 needles, and then the foot stitches onto 2 needles, held them together and used kitchener stitch (3 needle bind off would have worked just as well i'm sure) and voila!

It was an intense procedure, but the sock is back and beautiful and ready to keep JFC's skinny little legs toasty warm. Aren't I clever?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Topless Mitts on Rainbow Mountain

We had a friend stay for the weekend and so it was jampacked with fun filled activities. Including climbing rainbow mountain. Now this was no Everest, but 1 and 1/2 hours of a continuous steep uphill hike...and it gets you puffing. But once we got to the top it was spectacular and wouldn't you just know it...a perfect place for a photo shoot for my new topless mittens! One of the differences between my new home and my old is that they don't usually have any central heating in new zealand. Now coming from michigan...you would just about die without central heating. Here you just light the fire and snuggle in close. But even with JFC's amazing fire skills, I find my hands and nose still going numb with the chill. Now I don't plan on knitting up a nose cap anytime soon but these fingerless/topless mittens are just terrific. I can keep on knitting with my fingers free to do as they please, but my hands toasty warm in their new wooly homes. I got so excited I knit up 2 pairs because it only takes about 1-2 hours per mitt. The pattern is from Weekend Knitting and I used Naturally Harmony 8 ply 100% NZ merino in white & gray and Naturally Merino & Fur 10 ply (NZ possum/merino) in purple and black for one pair. And the other pair was made out of Hummingbird Calliope 8 ply in that lovely red color. The thing I really liked about this pattern is that it is knit in just garter stitch...but from the side instead of top, so it gives it a totally different look and best of all, you pick up stitches on your co edge and then do a 3 needle bind off with the other edge and voila! a tube with no annoying seam rubbing along on your hand. So as the grand finale...here is a picture of me in the official Team Zissou pose on top of Rainbow Mountain wearing my new Topless Mitts.

Friday, May 19, 2006

When Good Yarn Goes Bad

I can't really blame the yarn...it was my own fault. I wanted to make another Dream Swatch out of something a bit finer and more colorful then the last one. Unfortunately I think I must've had on some rose tinted glasses when I spotted this techni-color dream yarn and thought it was a great idea. Something about all the neon colors got me all excited and I thought it would look just fab in my blonde hair. Even after JFC tried to sneak in a suttle warning "its awfully bright don't you think? kinda like kid styles?" my response"no honey, its fun, you've just got to imagine the finished product!" Unfortunately the finished product was a neon mess that when worn is bright enough to guide planes down a runway...just another dream (swatch..heh heh) to bright to come true. I am thinking I can just knit it into some slippers which i can hide under long pajama pants.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Man Skills Scarf

JFC has an obsession...obtaining more of those coveted Man Skills. He realized about a year or so a go when discussing the matter with his friends, that he just didn't have many man skills...especially compared to the men of yester-year. From that moment it has become his quest to learn manly skills, such as fixing the car, chopping wood, starting a fire (and i am talking about a long burning very carefully attended to fire), building things, fixing household items and so on so on so on...all the way to just having a good sense of direction.

So when JFC hinted at the fact that he was expecting a new scarf soon (as he is under the impression he gets one every year), I wanted to do something with a little more pizz-azz then years past. Mainly just to save me from the boring task of plain scarf knitting. So I decided to incorporate a stitch pattern, but it had to be something manly, so that JFC could perform all of his man skill tasks in true man skills style. I decided to go with a nice bulky natural new zealand wool in a chocolate brown and used a stitch pattern that looks like a flat oversized cable. Worked on size US 9 needles, it went by quickly and painlessly, and now JFC is nice and snug while chopping wood for our fire.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Friendly Fast Informed Fun!!

So yesterday I did something I never thought I would do...I had to go to a 9 hour lotto class. As in the lottery. As in sitting in a room with 10 other people learning about lottery...and how to sell it. Hence the title of this post...thats the Lotto's Motto. It all began with me being the last one there...and the only available seat was dead center. There were some bonuses to having to do something like this...namely the other people involved. There were of course the few that were really into it. Chit chatting away with the instructor, asking lots of inquisitive question, cracking jokes...then there was the 16 year old teenage girl, really only there so she could skip out on a day of school. The one male (who was extremely well dressed for a lotto class), and last...and my most favorite the 40-something who wore hip hugger low cut jeans, a tummy shirt (as in a shirt that young teenage girls wear to show off there tummies) a glittering belly button ring, too much black eye makeup, and nice big frizzy hair (in the U.S. we would refer to this along the lines of white trash...here in New Zealand they are known as bogans). By the end of the day she was hootin' and hollerin' and cracking dirty jokes left and right. I had the 16 year old sitting next to me and cheating off my quizzes (yes we had quizzes...and posters...and almost play role, luckily we ran out of time). To frost the cake that was my day, we had to correct the quizzes, and everyone called out the answers as we went along...unfortunately the only question i decided to answer i answered wrong. I get one question out of thirty wrong...and that is the one I decided to yell out (not to mention i shouted at a delay...so everyone heard my wrong answer loud and clear.)

good news...I get a lotto badge as I am now a professional learned lotto girl.

Well I am now being distracted by my glass of wine...back to knitting matters tomorrow :)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Just a Quickie

Just wanted to do a quick post and then i am off to bed! Here is the "man skills" scarf I am working on for JFC. He is constantly trying to obtain new man skills such as building fires, fixing cars, and packing up moving trucks with heavy furniture (hence the name). I decided to do a nice bulky stitch pattern which looks basically like a giant cable. And the nice rich brown new zealand wool has been wonderful to work with. Here is the close up:

Friday, May 12, 2006

It's the little things that count

In downtown Rotorua there is a Trade Aid shop, which basically is a store that sells fair trade goods from different countries around the world. They have great jewelry and gifts and even coffees and chocolates. And this...this fabulous little pencil sharpener. Now I am usually a pen girl all the way...but with the whole design aspect coming into my knitting I have begun keeping a few pencils in the stash...and now I can't wait to sharpen them. This little lady is just so perfect. Her little handpainted face and pearl necklace...red lips and long eyelashes. I just think she is wonderful. I think I will name her Felula, and have her by my side at all times...I may have not made any real girlfriends yet in my new home, but now I have Felula...and its all good.

Also I am making steps forward in the cooking world. Me and JFC have a horrible habit of finding 2 good recipes and rotating that day after day, week after week. We have eaten so many stirfrys in the past 2 years we are going to start sprouting broccoli and tofu from you don't want to know where! Now I would love to delve into the world of Indian cooking or maybe Malaysian or Thai (well besides thai green curry...we've mastered that one)...but am still a bit intimidated by how long the dishes need to cook for and the huge range of spices necessary (many of which can be difficult to come by). Wow I am really straying from my point here...back to it! So I have begun dipping my toes into the Italian pool. I am currently slow roasting some tomatoes in the oven with basil, garlic, rosemary and olive oil. And tonight I am going to serve some cannellini crostinis with are normal hearty potato soup. So far everything smells great...but I am still keeping my fingers crossed until those tomatoes are done. When tomatoes first came into season we bought a huge bag of them and I attempted to make a fresh marinara sauce...it was less than great.

Oh yeah...as far as knitting goes I am just working on the Man Skills Scarf while trying to work up the motivation to frog a couple items that have been sitting in a basket for ages...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Back to Basics

Alright so here she is...the to dye for (or in my case to stripe for) sweater from snb handbook. All in all i think it turned out good. It is big and cozy. I am going to taper the sleeves a bit, as the bell on them is literally the size of my head, and a bit too "piratey" for me.

Last night i decided to get back to the basics and cast on for a new "man skills scarf" for jfc. i am using a more masculine and bulky stitch pattern and a nice heavy brown new zealand wool. i didn't think i would be doing a scarf again any time soon but JFC seems to think he is entitled to a new one every season...so here we go. Besides that I just plan to do some touch-ups on other projects while snuggling next to the fire.

Oh! and since I am a blogtard and can't figure out how to link my free pattern for JFC SKINNY SOCKS I will just email it to anyone interested in a pdf file. Just click the "email me" link in my sidebar there, or leave me a comment with your email address.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Very Dreamy Indeed

Well this Dream Swatch freebie from Wendy at Knit & Tonic was the perfect conclusion to my day last night. After working about 3 days solid on my sweater I needed something quick easy and interesting to knit up. (and yes the sweater is finished and blocking, i will probably post pics tonight). I had just happened to buy a fun ball of yarn the other day that i figured i would just make socks or something out of but this is way more fun. It only takes about an hourish to knit up and voila! perfect for after sleeping on my wet hair. I got a little picture crazy, and it is always hard to decide which one to use...you know the routine - well this one the hair wrap is nice and clear, but my nose looks better in that one....and this one i kind of have a lazy eye thing going on, but my hair looks good...ect ect ect. So you get three! enjoy

Monday, May 08, 2006

the Curse of Confidence

Ah confidence...it seems like everyone always has too much or not enough. Can't it just be spread around equally?? I personally am severely lacking. Sometimes after I have a good long chat to myself (you know the usual "you're fine just the way you are, love yourself - flaws and all!") then I feel good, for a little while. I have a very contorted image of myself. So I try to keep this in mind as I peer into the mirror and "love my curves!" But then of course that little evil voice in the back of my head says "eheh...that'd be a lot easier if those curves were in the right places!"....

now don't worry, this isn't a rant complaining about my poor self-image, I actually do have a point...I am only mentioning my tortured relationship with the mirror because I am finding it hindering in the ways of knitting. I see a sweater or top or any garment really and first thing I try to do is picture it on me instead of the mannequin shaped girl in the magazine. and by now i pretty much know what I can pull off and what I can't. So I decide to do the project and i am so excited, visions of granduer (aka me looking fabulous in my handmade top)...and I begin working away. But the farther along I go, the more worried I get. What if it doesn't fit right? Excencuates all the wrong areas?? Worry begins to plague me more and more with each stitch i knit. Its not like at the store where you just try it on and if it puckers funny or hugs a bit too tightly you toss it into the "not in a million years pile" and move on to the next item. But when making it yourself you put your feelings, time, and money into it.

*sigh* ok so i am being a bit dramatic. and i love the thrill of it just as much as i hate it. if i only wanted to make surefire things i would just stick to mittens and scarves and toys, right? but you have to branch out, right?? You've finally just got to look in the mirror and say "i love me for me, whether this sweaters looks good or not." right?

**the picture up there^^^that is the cute little lamb we saw on our walk to the lake for our afternoon tea. isn't he adorable?? i love him...and his gimply little leg in the back there. i bet he has no confidence issues. He just trotted along with his not so perfect hind leg and munched away on grass.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Swatch-Buckling Good Time

Well I've had it up to here with swatches! I know they are important, and not to be messed with...but well, they just feel like such a waste of time & yarn...and so boring! Now usually I wouldn't be such a complainer...but here's my problem. So all those ones to the right there (minus the teapot cozy swatch)... I did for the mancala game I plan to make. Now if you look closely you will notice the green one is felted, but the other 2 orange toned ones are not. This is because I made the foolish mistake of not reading the label closely, and only after trying to hand felt them for about 15 minutes, did I realize they had been treated so they are machine washable (=no felting). So I can't use them for the game. So I went and bought more yarn today, which means I will have to do more swatches. In the meantime I just finished up that little black mohair swatch for the "to dye for" sweater out of SnB Handbook. It looks really simple, and with all of the disasters I have had in knitting clothes so far, I am hoping this one is a bit more fool-proof. (speaking of, I plan on frogging the fad-classic tonight so I can begin reknitting it in the smaller size...oy) Now my only worry is after knitting that little swatch, if I pull it one way it is 4 inches across but 5 inches tall, then i pull it the other way and it becomes 5 inches across, 4 inches tall. So do i just go for it and pull it in the hopefully right direction when I wear it? Ah the drama. I also would like to try knitting the pattern from the top down, as my torso is about all of a whopping 3 inches long and everything is always way to long on me..but that equals me rearranging the pattern...and do I really want to do that to myself knowing my previous bad luck history in knitting sweaters??? choices choices...swatches swatches swatches.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Logo Love

Well with a little boost of inspiration from my blog friend Saskia (check out her fabulous button in my sidebar!!), and a lot of hand holding from JFC (not to mention the required computer programs on his computer) I designed my very own logo. And if you don't mind me saying, I feel fantabulous. It was so much fun to just start by sketching out some doodles and then sit down and actually turn it into something! JFC is even going to screen print it onto a hoodie for me (mmm..merchandising). If you scroll down a little bit you will see the thumbnail you can use to link to me!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Satisfaction Gauranteed

Well here is the coziest cozy in action...keeping my english breakfast tea toasty warm as we get ready to pack it up in a thermos and enjoy it sitting by the lake. The vogue mini sweater...i ran out of yarn, i have the front and one sleeve done...and now it is put on hold til' my dear mother rescues me and sends me another skein (wink wink mom). I have a pair of knee socks brewing and also I am thinking up a felted mancala board game. But for now, its been a busy day, and at the ripe time of 9 p.m...i am off to bed to snuggle up with a good book and ponder my next projects. (Especially because i have been staring at the word "gauranteed" in my title for so long, trying to figure out if i spelled it right that it doesn't make since anymore and my brain is now fried)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Better by Hand

Well photo #1 is me wearing teapot cozy as a hat with a ponytail hole before felting. (okay yeah...i've had a couple glasses of wine..heheh) Farther down is the post felting pick of the teapot cozy drying on some pinecones on top ofthe fire place. I must say, I think i may just be a hand felter from now on. I felted my laptop bag by machine wash and well..it just didn't turn out so hot. some spots didn't felt as much as others, it took ages, there were creases, waste of water..and i realize now how much better it could've been, with a little elbow grease, dish soap, and hot water. Tonight I created a perfectly felted little teapot cozy that i just can't wait to throw on my teapot tomorrow morning...and then well, just sit back and enjoy a hot cup of tea. also i just did the pattern as i went along (ok so it is pretty simple...but still...with the felting and gaps for the handle and plunger...it took some math) and it just made me all that more excited to keep writing my own patterns. In the beginning it is horribly scary...thinking about it not turning out...the wasted yarn (well at least post felting)...wasted time...and feelings of failure...but then...to have it turn out...and better than you expected. well, it just is so worth it. soooo...all is happy in the knitting world.