Monday, January 29, 2007

Preparing for Valentine's Day

I'm in two dishcloth exchanges coming up in February and I wanted to do something extra special. So I designed my own Valentine dishcloth. Granted, it is not nearly as pretty on the backside as it is on the frontside, but isn't it the thought that counts? I just love working with color. I actually would like to try this pattern again in a solid color and just with texture stitches. I'll give it a try when I have a chance. I need to be back to my mystery skein knitting for my partner in Australia, and my socks that I'm designing for my "design my own sock" class.

A free copy of this pattern is over in the right if you would like it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

AMH Hat Exchange

I just completed my first exchange that was something other than dishcloths. Don't get me wrong -- exchanging dishcloths have been fun -- but this was much more challenging. Exchanging knitted or crocheted hats. I just received mine today and I love it so much I'm posting a picture of it here, WITH ME WEARING IT! Oh, AMH stands for a yahoo group I belong to called "At My House".

Okay just look at the hat, not the model (excuse all the make-up but I'm on my way out the door to do a show tonight). But it is so cute I couldn't resist -- even though I hate photos of myself -- this hat deserves to be seen. My partner was KyleAnn in Grove City, OH, and boy do I hope to get her as a partner again in the future. I wanted to make sure that KyleAnn had a nice hat so I've reposted a picture of the hat I made and sent to her.

I don't have nearly as much knitting experience as KyleAnn, but it sure was fun to challenge myself to make something nice for her.

Right now I'm working hard on my mystery skein exchange for my partner in Australia. Joy sent me a beautiful skein of hand spun, hand-dyed yarn to make something for her and then mail it back. I did the same for her. I just love getting surprises in the mail.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Show Me the Knitting

Well, so far I have very little to show for it, but I have been knitting non-stop. And I do mean non-stop. I have been working on many charity projects for my FROM THE HEART OF TEXAS group. Also, I've been busy designing afghan square patterns also for my FROM THE HEART OF TEXAS group to be KALs.

And it has been a long time, but I finally have found two knitting classes to sign up that I am enjoying immensely! One is an entrelac class and as I'm not a big fan of showing partly finished projects -- I'll wait to show it when it is done. I haven't decided whether I will felt it yet or not, but I am very pleased with how it is looking.

Another class I am taking is a design your own sock class. I LOVE this class in that it is freeing me up from patterns. Actually, up till now, I've only ever made basic pairs of socks. For the class we are learning to swatch a pattern from any pattern we see that we like and how to modify it. I am also going to take this opportuntity to learn to knit a pair of socks from the toe up.

In addition to these classes, I am also involved in a couple of exchange groups. One is an international exchange where you knit something from your stash and send it to your partner. My partner is in Germany. Based on the questionnaire that I received from her that she completed, I gathered that she would REALLY love a pair of knit socks. I'm working on the heel flap of the second sock, but here is the first. I think it came out pretty cute!

Now, I did not design this sock. It came from the book called SENSATIONAL KNITTED SOCKS by Charlene Schurch. Written very well for sudo-beginner sock knitters. Oh gosh, I hope my partner doesn't come and read my blog.

I'm also in another exchange called a Mystery Skein exchange. In fact, I think if you scroll down you can see the yarn that I sent to my partner in Australia to knit something up for me and mail it back. I just received her yarn yesterday that she hand-spun and hand-dyed. I need to come up with something to knit with it and send it back. It's going to be hard to send this yarn back as it is soooooo beautiful!

Any suggestions can be sent to me ( as to what I can make with it and would be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I've been tagged -- have you?

Well, apparently I've been tagged. I haven't been tagged since I was a little girl playing tag. But I'm game. I have been tagged by Jeremy at

Six Weird Things About Me

Well, to most people it would be my knitting. I knit everywhere. In fact, people have told me when they talk about me they always mention to each other "did she have her knitting with her"?

Not only am I obsessed with knitting, it is my mission to teach knitting to everyone who even shows an inkling of interest. I'm in a musical right now and have taught about 1/4th of the cast to knit. It's great seeing everyone knitting (both men and women) as we are waiting to go on stage. The only problem is that when I'm in a fast costume change and there will be someone there standing to ask me a knitting question. I think I've created monsters.

I cannot stand for a toothpaste tube to be squeezed from the middle. It MUST be squeezed from the bottom.

My favorite breakfast is cold pizza -- especially with Pepperoni. If that is not available then a hot bowl of chili will work just fine..

I love having to wait on trains and in carpool line and at the doctor's office. In fact, on the last two -- sometimes I will get there and wait particularly long. Why? So I can knit!

I borrowed this one from Jeremy because it applies to me too. I have an obsessive personality. This can work to my advantage or not. My current obsession is knitting and building my From the Heart of Texas charity knitting/crochet group at This is good. I have been obsessed with dieting, good and eating, bad. I need to become obsessed with exercise! Other obsessions are yarn and books.

THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the 6 weird things about you. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says you are tagged in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

I am tagging Rachel, Ali and Cyn

Anyone else who is reading this and has not been tagged.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Test pattern knitting

I jumped in for a chance to test knit a pattern. I figured how often would I get to do that. The project was for a child's sweater in three different sizes, and the pattern was written so that you end up with no seaming. The sweater was knit entirely in the round, the shoulders were bound off with a three needle bind-off, and then you picked up for the sleeves and knit them in the round until you bound off. Could not have been easier. It also was a great project for me to design a sweater for myself now -- again, to knit entirely in the round. In my opinion that is the way to go. And there was just enough pattern to keep me interested. My youngest, Natalie, is a sweetheart for modeling the unblocked sweater.

Where I am not at liberty to share this pattern right now, you can find out more about it by going to the yahoo group called CIC - or Children in Common. A charity focused on making sweaters, socks and vests for orphaned children in the former Soviet Union. Since this sample sweater was also knit in 100% wool, I am going to send it to CIC as well. Whereas we do need clothing here in Houston at our homeless shelters and such, 100% wool is difficult to wear here.

Since this was such a simple pattern to make, though, I can see making them quickly for local children here as well.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Fair Isle Hat

Anyone who has read my blog may have correctly surmised that I love to make hats. I guess because they can be as challenging or as simple as you want, yet they are small enough to complete in a relatively short period of time. I so love having a sense of accomplishment.

This hat was made for a cap exchange I am in. I hope my partner does not come and look at my blog here as I have not yet even put her hat in the mail! I was just so pleased with the result though that I couldn't wait. I've done very few fair isle projects, and this was certainly the largest attempted. I really enjoyed it and even though it may look difficult, I enjoyed that it still only used four colors.

The pattern was free on-line at and the designer worked very hard to try and make the pattern as simple for beginners as possible. I did find some descrepancies in the pattern and have e-mailed the designer. Unfortunately, I haven't heard from her, but as you can see, I still managed to complete the hat beautifully.

Now that I have made this hat, I am ready to start designing my own. Not my own Fair Isle patterns of course, just the hats. Once I find a Fair isle pattern that I like, I will incorporate it into a hat. I'll need to check on what the copyright laws are about posting a hat with another's fair isle pattern, but if I can post what I design, I will.

If you read this then you might be interested in a new project I am starting on January 15th. In my charity knit/crochet group I will be posting two KALs (knit-alongs) a month, only a few lines a day for a total of 5-6 days until the recepient has created an afghan square. The idea is that the recepient might be learning a new stitch, and at the same time creating a square that could later be incorporated into an afghan for the needy. Either for one of our charities, or a charity in their own home town. If you would like to join our group so as to join in on this monthly afghan square, then click on the "Join Membership" over to the right. It is free to sign up and the group is called From the Heart of Texas. Because there are so many needy charities, we will focus on one charity a month. January's charity is focusing on a homeless shelter.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Mystery Skein Exchange

I belong to this yahoo group called Mystery Skein Exchange. We are paired up with someone that we send a skein (minimum of 3 oz.) of yarn from our own stash that we purchased at some point but have not yet decided what to make with it. Then, our partner, after they receive our yarn, knits or crochets something up with it and then returned the completed project back to you. Likewise, you do the same with the yarn you receive from them.

I don't know why this idea excites me so much. My partner is Joy in Australia, and we have a little bit of a late start because both of our original partners kind of flaked out on us. However, we have met on-line and our packages are going out to each other this week. Joy apparently is president of her spinners organization there and is also involved in hand-dyeing her own yarn. I'm not nearly that talented, but I am sending her three hanks of yarn that I bought on one of my trips that is hand-dyed. Here's a picture!

I know, the colors don't seem to go together at all, but can you believe they came together in the package that way? I was so excited when I purchased it, but then when I got it home I couldn't for the life of me decide what I was going to do with it. I'm hoping that Joy has better luck than I did. I know she is sending me some of her hand-dyed yarn. I hope I don't screw it up, but I have a couple of ideas on what to make. Can't wait to get my hands on it. We have two months to complete our projects and get them back.

I have my own knitting group here in Houston called The Houston Knit Chicks. I have put a poll out to see if my members would also like to have a mystery skein exchange. Can you tell I like this idea?

Start of 2007 with a bang!

Well, as evident by the lack of new posts I haven't had much time for posting -- but I have been busy knitting and crocheting like crazy. I had started some knitting groups -- one called The Houston Knit Chicks that meets once a month and a Charity Knitting and Crocheting group that meets twice a month but in different parts of the city. I had to pay quite a bit of money to maintain the membership on, so one of my resolutions was to be more efficient. I moved both groups over to yahoo groups and they have both taken off by storm!

Right now on the needles I have a scrap afghan that I've been working on. A great way to get rid of lots of scrap yarn. Crochet -- and I'm working on the border. I also have multiple hats going, I'm test knitting a children's sweater for Children in Common - an organization that supplies knitted and crocheted sweaters, mittens and socks for orphaned children in Russia. Here is a picture of the sweater that I have so far. Actually, I'm quite a bit further than this photo, but haven't taken a new photo yet.

In addition that these I have also been working on a pair of self-striping socks, I took a class today on how to design your own socks so have been working on those gauge swatches, crocheting afghan squares whenever I get a moment, and working on a knitted small blanket for Project Linus.

On top of maintaining these two groups I've also been helping my daughter with her fundraiser. Alex has committed to raising $2,000 for the American Diabetes Association. One of the ways she is raising money is by collecting old cell phones. There is a company that will send a check to her favorite charity for turning in used cellphones. So, any of you who read this, consider sending me your old cellphones. I'll even help pay for postage!

Back to my charity group -- I have restructured it and have renamed it to From the Heart of Texas. Cute, huh? Our focus is now to focus on one charity a month. There are just so many charities that I want to help that I found I was wasting more time on trying to figure out what to make. This way I can narrow down my decisions. For instance, this January we are focusing on The Star of Hope -- a homeless shelter. They need everything from babies to adults, blankets, toiletries, etc. Everything is needed. Next month we will be concentrating on a Title 1 Elementary School (an underprivileged school) and making hats, scarfs and mittens for the children.

I've also been very busy performing in URINETOWN, THE MUSICAL. Talk about a high energy show! It has been keeping me busy. I have a matinee to perform tomorrow and then I get two days off. I can hardly wait.!