Double Vision

You know the craft book and magazine stash has reached the unmanageable stage when this occurs:


And yikes...double Doubles! So I guess now is as good a time as any to have a giveaway (and get rid of the evidence before my family starts to wonder if there is a little hoarding problem brewing in their midst). I am happy to have come across this book in the stash again, though. It is full of fun vintage-inspired knitting and crochet patterns. Many of the projects are very wearable if you look past the somewhat campy styling. One of my favorites is this elegant crocheted cardigan.

And how cute would this hat and sweater set look knitted up in a pretty Jackie O. pink? Love the fabric buttons!

Here are the giveaway details: 1) this will be open to all 2) the winner will receive both the magazine and the book 3) to enter, leave a comment (including contact information) under this post between now and February 28th.  I would love to know what some of your favorite fashion time periods are. I happen to love the sixties because of its wide range of fashions, from Jackie Kennedy's classic American glam to the waif look made famous by Twiggy to the hippie bohemian styles towards the end of the decade. Not to mention my all-time favorite fashion movie: Breakfast at Tiffany's starring the iconic Audrey Hepburn. But if I could go back in time, nothing would make me happier than to end up in Jane Austen's Regency England wearing an ethereal empire-waisted gown (and in the arms of Mr. Darcy!) 4) the winner will be announced on leap day February 29th. Good luck!


A Matter of Tension

After finishing up my second crochet project ever, I felt like I was ready to take up a new crafty challenge. Brioche, reversible cables, double knitting...Bring It On! To say that I was overconfident would be an understatement. But then when my feet touched the ground again, I decided to start out with something a little bit less ambitious, like working on my rusty fair isle knitting skills. After scoping out some projects on ravelry and the blogosphere, I settled on a simple matching cowl and mitts set a la the ever stylish Kate Davies. It seemed best to start with the cowl in order to get a feel for stranded knitting again without having to deal with double pointed needles. I also thought that I would be like the other cool kids and learn how to do two-handed stranded knitting. The result? A perfect mess! My tension went from too loose to too tight. My left hand cramped up. It seemed like it took forever to knit just one round. I know that practice makes perfect and that any new skill is difficult in the beginning. But the deal breaker for me was when I looked at the fabric I had knitted and saw how uneven and puckered it was. Rip! Now I am happily sailing along, using my old and tested method of picking up and dropping each color with my right hand. It's not cool but it works for me. Here is what I have so far:

I love the simple look of this motif.

(check out WIP Wednesday with Tami's Amis for knitting and crochet projects from the coolest crafters around)


Quiet Love

Flashback to August of 2005. It was the hottest month of the year and I was over nine months pregnant and miserably uncomfortable. I complained to anyone who would listen about my swollen feet, sore back and lack of sleep. One day, my father was the unfortunate recipient of a particularly bad tearful episode. Having gone through this with my mother four times before in his life, he very smartly listened quietly then made his escape at the first opportunity. But a few hours later, he came back with a footstool that he had fashioned for me out of leftover wood and carpet.

It was the perfect height and size to rest my sore feet on and I treasure it still to this day. However, after six years, it was in need of a little crafty makeover:

my second crochet finished object

I am so pleased with how this turned out...that it turned out at all! I had my doubts, let me tell you. Especially when I got to the end of the granny square and had to figure out what to do with the sides. After a little bit of trial and error, I decided to just extend the granny pattern.

The bright colors make me smile. I can't wait to show my Pop what has become of his little gift of quiet love.

 (Join the weekly FO Friday party at TAMI'S AMIS. Lots of wonderful knitting and crochet on display!)


Something New

In my New Year's wishes post, I deliberately kept "learn something new" open ended and vague. Why? Because in the past, when I resolved to learn how to play the guitar, learn how to quilt, learn how to bake a pie, etc, etc...my procrastination tendencies kicked in and by the end of the year, I was left with a failed resolution and disappointment in myself for not taking even the smallest steps towards completing my goal. So this year, the pressure is off and I have given myself complete freedom to learn SOMETHING! ANYTHING! How can I possibly fail, right?

Yesterday, I taught myself something that has made me ridiculously happy: how to cross stitch on knitted stockinette fabric! Dramatic and life changing it's not, but my hexipuffs will never be the same for it.

redwork heart hexipuff

The hardest part will be choosing from among the motifs in this book. Lots of wonderful embroidery and cross stitch ideas with charts for all of the motifs can be found within its pages.

In other WIP news, I am almost finished with my youngest niece's fingerless mitts. These were meant to be one of her Christmas presents, but now will make a nice little handmade Valentine's Day gift. Can't wait to get this final holiday gift project off the needles!

As always, check out all the great knitting and crochet on display at WIP Wednesday with TAMI'S AMIS.


An Oprah Moment

[As I was preparing my stash to be flashed, I had an Oprah Moment. I pictured myself on television with Oprah by my side. The segment was about Knitters Who Hoard. There were all sorts of experts on the show who were there to provide all their expert opinions. Dr. Phil was there (for his expert psychoanalysis). Dr. Oz was there (for his expert good looks). And then, after all the tearful confessions (from knitters) and angry testimonials (from their significant others), Oprah looked right into the camera and said, "Get a grip, people! These knitters are just exercising their creative rights to make beautiful objects instead of going out and buying mass produced goods manufactured without care or thought! I say, LET THEM BUY YARN!" Who am I to argue with the most powerful woman in the world?]

I wrote the above post over a year ago and never published it. Why? Maybe because I couldn't find all of the yarn that was randomly hidden around the house. Maybe because I was in denial that I had such a thing as A Stash. Maybe because...well...I love yarn and didn't want to stop buying it. This past year, I made a promise to myself to declutter and reorganize the house. The Stash cannot be ignored any longer because it is in almost every room of the house. I am going to try to take a realistic approach to my goal of Surmounting the Stash. I know that new yarns will be purchased and that's okay. But I will try to limit them to small projects that do not require much yardage. However, as far as the sweaters that will be made this year, The Stash will be my first place to shop.

my hoard of dishcloth cotton

(Care to join in the Surmount the Stash challenge? Then go to Revelations of a Delusional Knitter)

Looking Ahead

Another year, another new set of wishes:

*2012 will be the year that I will conquer The Stash. Just as soon as I remember where I hid all of it.
*I started a crochet project in 2011. Hopefully it will be finished in 2012. Without me having to relearn how to crochet (again).
*Learn something new.
*Knitted FO's in 2011 = 32. Books read in 2011 = 6. Read more books.
*Continue decluttering and organizing the house.

Wishes or wishful thinking? Don't you love having a blank canvas just waiting to be filled up?

My favorite Christmas present: A picture for the craft room created by my niece.


Lessons Learned in 2011

Once again, it is time to look back on my knitting adventures from the previous year and reflect on the lessons learned from them. At the beginning of the year, I had set myself some goals:

*finish up some longstanding UFO's
*knit garments that were practical and wearable
*take control of my unmanageable WIP list

Overall, I am very happy with how the above objectives were met. I only have a couple of UFO's in my basket and my WIP list is not quite as out of control as it was at the beginning of the year. Learning to pause before impulsively casting on for a project as well as seeing a project through to the very end were probably the hardest but most rewarding lessons learned this year.

I learned that in terms of wearability, I tend to favor cardigans over pullovers. Blue and teal green were the sweater colors of 2011.


Small knits once again ruled the knitting bag.

I discovered the wonderful world of knitted toys this past year. The two monsters and the Quintuplets were my proudest creations of 2011.

Here's to another year of exciting possibilities!