I can finally post photos of my husband's Christmas gifts. I could have on Christmas day, but with my show opening tonight to a preview audience, it has been really, really busy. Needless to say, my husband, John, LOVED the scarf. Made almost entirely out of cotton, he was so happy as he cannot abide wool. It looks great with his black leather jacket. And being an architect, the modular scarf seems to suit his personality as well -- loves that geometric look.
I also made John a pair of fingerless gloves from Knitty.com's Fetching pattern.
As you can see I altered the pattern a bit so that there is no cable at the knuckles (looks more manley that way) and I continued knitting to extend the length of the gloves over his knuckles. He also just loved these. Men are just so hard to knit for.
Now for something totally unrelated to knitting, my two beautiful daughters. First, here is a picture of my oldest daughter, Alex on her 15th birthday, the day after Christmas. I know, I know, but she came early!
Then my second daughter, Natalie, who is now 12. Natalie normally will never let me take a picture of her, and we were only allowed to take this photo because she was working on her Science Fair Project and had to have photos to document the process. Lucky for me!
I'm almost certain that this will be my last post for the year 2006, so please have a wonderful and safe New Year's, and my family and I wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2007.
Can I just say for the record how immensely proud I am of our two little charity knit/crochet groups? For three months we were able to produce quite a bit and here is the official end-of-year tally of our donations:
Children in Common (orphanages in Russia): Vest, hat, scarf and 2 pairs of mittens Socks for Soldiers: 49 pairs of slippers Covenant House (home for runaway teens): 9 hats Caps For a Cure: 1 hat Save the Children (Caps for babies in 3rd world countries): 3 hats Catholic Charities (charity that helps all denominations in Houston area): 2 pair booties, 2 baby hats, 7 preemie hats, 1 child hat, 9 baby blankets, 1 shawl Blackfeet Indian Youth (Browning, Montana): 9 hats, 6 scarves, 7 coats, 7 sweaters and 1 flannel skirt Petco: 2 pet blankets Misc.: Houston Police Department - 1 pair fingerless gloves
You have to admit that for a short period of time that is rather impressive. I'm so moved by the outpouring of help from this group that I have changed the name and have listed it as a yahoo group so that anyone can join -- within or outside of the Houston area. I've also changed the structure some in that I feel it will help us concentrate on certain charities each month rather than just randomly making things. Some members may want to randomly make things or make something for a particular charity despite the charity we as a group are focusing on, and that is certainly okay. While most of the charities we will concentrate on will be centered in and around the Houston area, there are four times a year that we will look outside of Houston, Texas and the U.S. for those who are in need. The link to my charity group if you are interested in joining us is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FromtheHeartofTexas/. Happy Holidays.
I can finally post a picture of one of the Christmas gifts I made! I loved making this hat, I have to admit. I think I've really come to love doing Fair Isle. I like working with more than one yarn, but two seems to be what I am most comfortable with right now. I would love to try this hat again, but not with 100% wool. I ordered the yarn called for in the pattern at http://www.helloyarn.com, but it was very scratchy to work with and boy, 100% wool is definitely not needed here in Houston!
More Christmas made presents to come -- but I'm so excited to be able to share this one. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy Kawanza.
Need a quick gift? I found several -- and had an opportunity to try one out today. My daughters have many friends that they want to give gifts to during the holidays, but they are not very good about giving us notice. So when my youngest told me she needed a gift to give to a friend today, I just told her to pick out a couple of her friend's favorite colors and made this hat! Cute, isn't it! Granted, it is crochet, which I haven't fully mastered, but this pattern was so easy I was even able to manage it. Here is where I found the pattern: http://www.headhuggers.org/patterns/cpatt11.htm
Only one more week and I can begin showing pictures of all the Christmas gifts I have made. Actually, it is not that I have made that many, but I just can't show my favorites! I have been spending quite a bit of time knitting and crocheting for various charities. My two charity knitting/crocheting groups have also been very busy, and it has been satisfying being able to drop off bags of hand knit/crocheted items at various charities or in the mail. As the end of the year draws near, I will proudly list all of the charities and items that our little charity groups have donated -- for only being together for about 3 months, I think it is rather impressive.
About a year ago I started going to my husband's office (architecture) once a week to teach a group of women how to knit. At one point the group because quite large with even a couple of outside people joining us. Depending on various deadlines, the group would range from 3 people to over 10. We could never get any of the guys to come in and learn -- talk about peer pressure. Anyway, I had to stop going to the office for a few months due to rehearsing and performing in children's theater. Oh, JRA stands for Jackson & Ryan Architects, Inc.
The group has shrunk since I have come back -- busy time of year I guess. But, we vowed last year that we would attempt to do a secret gift exchange. I guess we drew names in mid to late October, so we really did not give ourselves enough time -- but we ended up with a rule of a $10 budget. Although some did go over the budget, most were very good about becoming creative with their project. As you can see, although we were a small group that actually did the exchange, we had so much fun and the gifts were all so varied. I think there will be many more brave souls joining us for the gift exchange next year. I love my little bag with the attached cell phone holder that was designed by Rashmee. I'll have to double check that I'm spelling her name correctly.
I made a pair of Fetching fingerless gloves, a crocheted rose pin and an ice cream cozy for my secret person. I can't wait until next year!
Well, here is the poster/DVD cover of my first movie. Beautiful isn't it. Okay, grant me that I may be a bit prejudice. I'm going to see if I can attempt to upload the trailer at some point, but that may just be beyond my technical capability. And you can click on this link here to purchase the movie -
One topic I read on my various online yarn groups or amongst my knitting friends is the ongoing challenge of how to store a stash. It has taken me quite some time to come up with a solution that works for me. I'm lucky in that my husband has converted our garage into a studio/craft room. I used to be a costumer for the stage and so I needed somewhere to do my costume building, storing, etc. I have really pulled out of that and now use the room as my office, yarn and scrapbooking room.
I just thought I'd share how I store my stash. First of all, unlike many things I've collected in the past, I found it is hard to keep my yarn put away in any type of containers, because I was constantly pulling it out and going through it. I guess planning future projects, etc. In talking with one of my friends, she also told me that she liked to store all her yarn by colors. Although I haven't mixed my high quality yarn in with the bunches, they are still in the plastic containers on the shelf behind the yarn bins you see, I have decided to coordinate them by color. You will notice the sweater hanger to the left. That is where I store my unfinished objects. I actually just put that up and boy did it give me a visual of all my unfinished projects I need to get back to work on.
Is my room always this clean? Heck no. But we had my husband's office Christmas party at our house and we knew that some people would want to come and see the entire house (particularly the knitters in my husband's office) so it was a great reason to MAKE me clean and organize it. So, although it is rarely this clean and orderly, I thought I'd share other parts of my office with you. Basically, this is my daughters' and my play room!
I have started two charity knitting/crocheting groups within the past couple of months. They are both pretty small right now, but the blessings have been abundant. Not only have we received quite a bit of donations worth of yarn, but also other knitters and crocheters who are not particularly signed up with my groups have donated items for us to give. The more I look into needy groups, the more I find there is an overwhelming need of knitted and crocheted items to be donated literally all over the world. What better time to really focus on that that during the Holiday season.
I am just so proud of our ambitious little groups that I have to share what has been donated to date (since September when we formed).
Children in Common (orphaned children in Russian or what was formerly known as the Soviet Union) - a vest, scarf and hat Socks for Soldiers - 49 pairs of slippers for them to use while in their bunks. Covenant House (wonderful organization for troubled teens) - 9 hats Caps For a Cure (Chemo caps) - 1 hat Houston Police Department - 1 pair of fingerless gloves
We will have more donations before the end of the year which I will post -- but being a new group I feel our little groups have done a wonderful job. I also have baby blankets, premie caps, abandoned pet blankets and a shawl for a chemo patient still yet to find homes for before the end of the year.
Of all the above, you might think the Houston Police Department to be a strange donation. I have been helping out a local theater for the past few weeks for their children productions and there is a wonderful police officer who spends his off duty time working to help the children safely get on and off their buses, into the theater, etc. Although we don't experience snow, it can get quite cold here, especially when a wind kicks up. Sometimes it is just difficult to do anything with gloves like write. Also, our policemen (I believe) our grossly underpaid for what they have to do and the shortage that we are experiencing in policemen right now in our large city. So I decided to give Officer Joseph a pair of fingerless gloves. He LOVED them and was quite touched that I made them for him. I plan to continue making them for our other law enforcement officers. Don't I sound like I am on my soap box. I didn't realize that I felt so strongly about it either, but there you are. Perhaps its the Christmas spirit? Anyway, here are a picture of my gloves for Officer Joseph!
We take time from this regularly scheduled knitting discussion...wait. Sorry. I can't show you any of my knitting right now because they are all presents, and while I'm not sure that many of my family/friends actually frequent my blog, I can't take the chance that they will see their present! What this means is that after Christmas you are going to be bombarded with photos!!!
In the meantime, I ran across this interesting little name survey that I had to share. You can check it to see how many share the same name with you. Apparently I am somewhat unique (as if my family didn't know)!
I didn't think about this when I sat this blog up, but I think blogging is going to be a type of rite-of-passage in the sense that I'm forcing everyone (who voluntarily comes to my blog at least) to view my family growing up. My oldest daughter Alex, who is a Freshman in high school, went to her school dance tonight. Going to an all-girl school, they tend to stress modesty to the point that even we, as parents, had to sign a contract that we understood they were not allowed to wear strapless or spaghetti strap dresses. I agree with the school that on their casual dress days that they should not be allowed to wear spaghetti straps, halter tops, etc., but I don't know if I totally agree with the same rules when it applies to a formal occasion -- especially when it is impossible to find a dress with sleeves these days. My husband must of taken my daughter to five stores in an attempt to find a flattering dress -- and none of them had sleeves (I had a performance so couldn't take her).
What does any of this have anything to do with knitting you may ask? Well, Mamma to the rescue but I knitted her a shrug to match her dress. I think it came out very nice -- and it was my first time to use such lush ribbon/yarn. Unfortunately, this beautiful little shrug cost almost as much as the dress! The upside? Where other girls at the dance who did not heed the warning got detention. Also, one size fits all. The shrug is now MINE! Ahahahahahahahahah. Okay, no more dramatics. but it is definitely a quick knit to fix a modesty problem. It is the easiest thing in the world to make, but I'll post a pattern just in case there is anyone who is not sure how to do one. I've made tons of these out of scrap yarn and they make great gifts. Alex's shrug was made with Prism yarn called Flirt in Mink color.
This year we are hosting my husband's office Christmas party in our home. I love to have parties. I love planning for them, decorating for them, cooking for them (although we are getting a caterer for this one), and everything to do with hosting parties. The only time I don't like it is when I'm busy, kind of like right now. Well, it really isn't as bad as all that, but I'm finishing up performances for INTO THE WOODS through Sunday, and then Monday I go right into rehearsals for another musical, URINETOWN. Also, I'm trying to organize my craft room and especially my stash before company comes over. No easy feat. I'm going to be reading all the e-mails I've seen go around lately on how to organize your stash. Finally, I'm desperately trying to finish the felted Poinsettia Wreath by Pick Up Sticks. There are basically seven flowers to the wreath, and each flower has four layers of petals. I'm almost halfway done with knitting the petals. I'm not even going to get into what it will take for felting and then assembling.
I have been a hat making fool! Literally. I've made so many hats that I've actually created my own pattern -- called the Easy Peasy Cap, versions 1 and 2. You will find those patterns over to the right. I'm still performing in INTO THE WOODS and these are the hats that the actors and stage crew have asked for. It is a great way to use up my stash yarn! After creating these hats and handing them out this evening, the rest of the cast basically came up and asked if I would make them a hat. As our show ends this Sunday, not likely. I did tell them that if they wanted a hat, I would be happy to make them one -- they just wouldn't get it until after Christmas!
Here are pictures of the cast in their hats, or some are of my daughter modeling the hat.
Finally, another one of my hats for Michael who is playing my son Jack in the show. He is soon going to be a new and first time uncle. As I adore Michael, I wanted to make sure that he would be the favorite uncle by making a matching cap for his nephew-to-be.
On the needles, or OTN (my daughters hate when I talk in knit), a Harry Potter scarf for another cast member which I don't think will be finished prior to Sunday's performance, a bunch of petals for a poinsetta wreath that I am going to felt, a pair of fetching fingerless gloves for my MIL for Christmas and a pair for my DH as well, a self-striping sock and too many charity projects to mention.
I know, I know. What does this have to do with knitting. But I had to share the fact that my first film won Best of Festival and the Audience Choice Award at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, and "Most Dramatic Film" at the What You See is What You Get Film Festival in San Francisco. I had a supporting role, but the film won based on our leads and the beautiful filming/editing. Anyway, you can see a trailer of the film here at www.theoathfilm.com
The film is going straight to DVD and will come out on December 5th, 2006. I don't know where the film will be available yet, but anyway, I just had to share my good news!
Boy have I been busy this past week. I just opened a musical called INTO THE WOODS, and with late night rehearsals and then performances every evening and two matinees, blogging has been moved to the back burner. I actually have been working hard on a dishcloth with the Monthly Dishcloth KAL (photo to come later), another beret for another actress in my show (again, photo to come later), working on a cap for charity, a Harry Potter scarf, and trying to figure out an entrelac hat. BUSY, BUSY, BUSY. I did want to post a pic of the sweater I made for my daughter though. They wear uniforms at her school -- very strict dress code. However, the Freshman class was allowed to select a "class color" and was told they could wear a sweater/cardigan of that color on Fridays. They chose lavender, and this was in late August. There were no lavender sweaters/cardigans to be found in August, so darn it all, I had to knit one for her. I let her pick out the pattern, and lo and behold, she picked an old pattern of a sweater pattern from the 70's. In fact, my mother made me a sweater from the same pattern when I was in highschool. Anyway, as I have not done many sweaters, I was rather proud that it came out pretty cute (of course, I think anything on Alex is cute). More importantly, she went with me to pick out the buttons and she loves it. I think that she really likes that she did receive many compliments on it and she was proud that she could say that her mother made it for her. Even some of her teachers seemed to be impressed. I also made her a pair of fingerless gloves to match with the leftover yarn. Okay, I'm through with my bragging for the moment. I thought you would like to see a quick cast shot from the show though, I'm the older woman on the left, playing Jack's Mother. What you can't see is that under that mop cap is a wig piece with enough ringlets to make Shirley Temple proud -- a fun and silly look for the second act!
Well, here is another attempt as my design for a dishcloth. Marge kindly asked me if I would give it a shot. I did try to knit up the OSU logo, but it was so busy that it was very difficult to read. When I get a chance, I think I will take what I created, though, it try it in intarsia. I bet that might come out nice. In the meantime, and until I get more time, I wanted to get this posted for any OSU fans out there. Maybe someday I'll even attempt a design of Brutus. In the meantime, the pattern is listed free over at the right.
A friend of mine also asked if I would knit a hat for her daughter. Of course, she knew exactly what she wanted. A design that I had not seen, so here is my creation of "Sarah's Bobble Hat". I know, Sarah is just so darn cute it is hard to look at the hat, but the pattern is listed at the right. Let me tell you too, that this is a very fast knit and is a great way to use up scrap yarn!
Okay, here is another hat made for a cast member. Lakiaya, a sweet girl playing the part of Florinda asked for this Beret. Although it came out kind of big (she does have big hair though), I think it is still cute on her. I seem to be having the continued problem of my hats coming out too big. What, measure for gauge? It just seems like the patterns I have never call for the type of yarn that I have. Here is another view and yes, she still looks cute in it. This was a really, super fast knit. It got to be a little boring after awhile, just because the decreasing part took forever! I think I would like to make one for me too. Oh, wait, another cast member has already asked for a hat like this. Oh well.
This cloth is for all you Texas Longhorn fans out there. Actually, Diane asked me if I would consider designing a Texas Longhorn dishcloth -- so this is my shot at it. I thought it came out kind of cute, even though I'm really a Notre Dame fan.....
Anyway, you'll find a link for this pattern for free over to the right. Enjoy.
I'm in the midst of rehearsals right now for the musical INTO THE WOODS. When I'm not on stage, and when I need to unwind (rehearsals can be a bit stressful at times), I knit. It is amazing how the simple act of knitting will draw people towards you. First, they watch in silence. Some will say "I have always wanted to learn to knit" which I then happily reply that I will be happy to teach them. Some will ask me if I am knitting or crocheting. Then others, will bluntly ask me to make them something. I don't mean bluntly as in rude, but I have to admire the guts to just come on out and ask. Usually it is just one person. But once the first one asks, and then proudly shows off his/her knitted item, they come in droves. The hat pictured is a result of that. The actress pictured is named Karen (very talented actress), and when she saw that I had knitted something for someone else, she promptly found a pattern of an R2D2 hat (she is very big into sci-fi). Of course I thought, when else would I ever get the chance to knit something like this -- so I happily complied. It is also a great hat to use up scrap yarn, as well as working intarsia. Unfortunately, I don't know where she found the pattern, but I'll bet if you Google R2D2 Beanie Hat, you'll find it.
Some people call me a prolific knitter. Okay, to be honest, they just call me nuts -- but truth be told I do manage to get many knitted items out in a rather short period of time. Of course, I have an Aran sweater that I've been working on for over a year, but only because I can't really travel with it and I have to set the chart up in front of me and not have anyone talk while I work on it. With a husband, two teenage daughters, two cats and a hectic work schedule, that doesn't happen very often.
I do love quick projects though. I just feel a great sense of accomplishment. The fingerless glove (I will make the second one) is going to be for my nephew for Christmas. I was visiting my Mom in Bakersfield a few weeks ago, proudly wearing my Fetching gloves when he said how much he would love to have a pair of fingerless gloves that he could use for work. As my mother sent me home with a huge suitcase full of yarn (granted, it was all acrylic and I will use most of it for charity), I found a variegated ww yarn that I really liked and thought it would make a nice pair of gloves for him. Also, they are completely washable. Since he also has a Jack Russell dog that he loves, I thought I'd make the dog (Bruno) a matching sweater. Too cutesy? Oh the pattern for the fingerless gloves was created by Amanda Gill, and the pattern is free here http://www.gaea-creations.com/fingerless.pdf.
The hat, another quick project and a great way to use up fragments of yarn is a knitted hat believe it or not. Everyone who saw it thought it was crocheted. A very talented Laura designed this hat and this pattern can be found at http://www.poormissfinch.com/index.php?id=D20041101. I made this hat for Amanda, a young actress that I am rehearsing a show with right now. Needless to say, she was estatic and is eagerly awaiting for our show to open so that I will teach her how to knit.
Woo hoo! I had so much designing this dischloth for Diane Schultz who is a co-member of Monthly Dishcloth KAL. Granted, it is still a little rough, but the most important thing is having fun -- right? I'm tring to figure how to put a link to make this pattern available because Lord knows I don't want to have to retype it! Bear with me gang!
Thanks to the Yahoo Group - Lonesome Skein KAL - I was challenged to knit something with a single skein of 100% cotton. Oh, what to knit besides a dishcloth (which I love doing by the way)? Then I thought, what about an ice cream cozy! Why, you might ask? Well, I don't know about you, but when I pull out some ice cream to eat, I don't bother with a bowl. Why do dishes? Just pull out the pint -- but it is just too cold to hold in your hand. Right? Of course, right. Then I thought, I'll put it around an empty Baskin Robbin container, add some beads to the tie, and then include a gift certificate in the container. What a nice little gift it would make for someone -- and cost me very little money. AND a fast knit. That's three pluses in my book.
Well I'm giving the idea of creating my own patterns a try. I seem to remember doing this same thing when I was first learning to cook. At first, I would never, ever deviate from a recipe, and for years I could literally not cook anything without a cookbook. Now, I rarely use one. Knitting is evolving that same way for me. Some designs are coming out by accident! Like this hat. Well, some of it was by accident and some on purpose.
This hat was created for a musical production of FROG AND TOAD which will begin performing at Main Street Theater here in Houston -- for the character Toad. I actually made a hat for both Frog and Toad, but Toad's hat had to be silly! I think it is. Unfortunately, you can't see the ginamous tassel hanging off the top of the hat. I'll try and get another picture of the actor wearing the hat in costume and make-up. Should be a hoot!
I have also been very busy making Fetching, the fingerless gloves from Knitty.com. I just LOVE making them. They are very fast, and I love wearing them. I think they will make fabulous, inexpensive Christmas gifts. Here are a couple that I made, one with the recommended Debbie Bliss Cashmerino in chocolate, and the lavender pair from leftover Cascade 220 that I had.
Finally, I have joined a monthly dishcloth exchange group for a year commitment. I thought it would be fun to actually try and design a dishcloth to send to each of these ladies. This candy corn cloth is my first attempt. Of course, I am only showing the cloth after my recipient has received it as to not spoil the surprise!
I love reading everybody's blogs, but I've been very timid in trying to create my own. So bear with me as this may be rough ride!
I am excited to show my first pair of knee high socks for my 12 year old. My children never want me to make them anything. Isn't that the way it always is? I also sew -- used to costume professionally but have put that aside as I prefer performing on stage and knitting. But, when I sewed I always offered to make my daughters their Halloween costumes. Did they want that? Noooooooo, they wanted store-bought! So, when my daughter asked me to make her a pair of pink and green knee high socks, I jumped at the chance.
I knitted them top down on dpn's, but I want to eventually try, circulars, magic loop, toe-up, etc. I bought some self-striping yarn to try the toe-up option next. In the next couple of days I'll post some of my other recently completed projects. I've been working mostly on smallish projects as I have had a need of completion. I also have a number of Christmas gifts I need to get busy on.
As I am involved in a couple of dishcloth exchanges, I have also focused on those. So much fun.