Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Love New York City!

I just love New York City. We took our Australian exchange student there to spend Christmas with us. For New York, the weather was pretty mild and very tolerable. Of course since there were four girls and one boy (my husband), we did a lot of shopping, a lot of theatre, and generally had a lot of fun. My husband did get to see one museum though so he was happy. From performing at TUTS here in Houston, I was lucky to meet some really great people who just happen to be performing on Broadway right now. We really enjoyed seeing Bobby Creighton play the Chef in LITTLE MERMAID. Kristyn Smith was gorgeous as the center Rockette! What a great show. And then we felt so lucky to be able to get in to see Jen Cody play a shoemaker's elf in the new musical, SHREK. Then when the girls went on their own to see WICKED, again, John and I went and saw IN THE HEIGHTS. I can clearly see why it won a Tony. It was original, fresh, awesome.

Okay, but this is a blog about knitting (or really whatever I guess I feel I want to share), so I was excited to actually get quite a bit of knitting done. I love to travel because there are airports to wait and knit in, planes to ride and knit in, cafes to sit and knit in...well, you get the picture. Of all the times I've been to New York, this is the first time I actually went to a yarn shop. Since I knew I had one day to myself, I look specifically for a yarn shop cafe and and found Knit Point Cafe in Greenwich Village. Its on Bedford Street for anyone interested and I do recommend you go and spend the day. The ladies there were very nice and inviting. You don't even have to knit to go there because it is also a cafe with some pretty tasty treats if I do say so myself. Although I had no intention of buying yarn, how could I resist when they hand dye the yarn there themselves. Beautiful yarn. So yes I brought home some delicious yarn to knit up. Once I finish them I will definitely post them. Oh, let me show you the project I finish while I was there. My leg warmers.

This legwarmer pattern is a pattern I've created myself, but I'm not totally happy with the way the pattern came out so I'm going to tweak it a bit more before I post a freebie pattern. I forgot that you have to adjust what you do when you are cabeling in the round. I created these legwarmers with my co-worker, Laura Gray, who is an incredible dancer in our company (not to mention a strong singer and lovely actress). Yeah, I hate her, she's a triple threat. No I love her to death and am designing these legwarmers with her in mind. I don't think she actually uses legwarmers when she dances, but she wears cute outfits during the day and loves to wear cowboy boots. I just think these will look really cute with the cowboy boots and so have dubbed them "La's Legwarmers". I know she'll love them even if they are not the final product.

I also knitted (and finished) one sock today (we also just flew back from NYC today). I'm really happy with the result and again, took a pattern and modified it more for my own taste. I'm getting to wear I really enjoy doing that. Anyway, I'm a nerd because I'm not going to post them until I finish the second sock. Hopefully in the next few days.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Warm Hug

Slowly I'm beginning to churn projects out again. It makes me so happy to actually complete items. Especially this time of year. I am actually not knitting any Christmas presents this year just because of the craziness of my job, Hurricane Ike, etc. I didn't want to add any additional pressure to myself. I figured I'll just finish things when I can. This is a project I've been working on for quite awhile, not because it is difficult, but because I simply haven't had time to knit. Now that I am trying to fit more knitting in I actually was able to finish this little shrug. I love making these because they look great on every figure. I just used Homespun yarn -- two skeins to knit this. My Australian exchange student, Katie, is modeling it for me.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Ultimate Knitter Junkie!

I've actually hit the pinnacle of knitting kingdom nerd-dum. Seriously. Well, I just hate when I go to all the trouble to knit socks and then only I can admire them by the feel of them. Its not like I churn out pairs of socks one right after another. They seem to take forever to me, especially when I design them. ANYWHO, I heard of these shoes and ordered them right away so that I can admire my handknit treasures!

Arn't they cool! I absolutely love them. My husband just gave me this funny look and my kids, well, made it clear they would not be caught dead in them, but anyone who has knitted a pair of socks and knows the amount of work and love that goes into each sock (especially people like me who still only know how to knit one sock at a time). I ordered them from Journey's online. Can't wait to wear them to work tomorrow. I'm sure I'll get some comments...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Just Gabbin!

Although I've no knitting photos to add I wanted to share my, hmmm, I wouldn't call it frustration, just puzzlement really, of why I seem to be having problems with a cable pattern. I forgot that sometimes when you work a pattern in the round (such as a sock or as in this case, a leg warmer), that knits and purls don't always translate well because a pattern will assume that you will be knitting back and forth. Hence the reason the cables on my legwarmers are coming out a little wonky. By wonky I mean they are not exactly clear cut. I think I'm still going to go ahead and finish the one I've started as I'm almost finished with one of the legwarmers. I'll post it when I've finished one. I'll go ahead and make a second one and gift it to someone. My non-knitting friends won't realize that the cables arn't supposed to look that way. But then, I really want to be able to create a cable pattern in the round. I guess I'm going to need to pull out an established sock pattern with cables so that I can try and understand how it works. Then I can try to rework my pattern again. I know, it sounds complicated, but it helps to get it all out in the open for me.

On another note, our Australian exchange student, Katie, arrived yesterday. We simply ADORE her. She is only going to be with us one month and I just hope we don't totally wear her out. I don't think she is quite used to the constantly going schedule that probably most American households run. Nevertheless, it will be fun to show her a bit of the U.S. We are taking her to New York for Christmas to see some shows that my friends are performing in. Looking forward to that. I'm hoping I might be able to find one of the yarn shops in NYC. We've been to NYC several times but I've yet to schedule a trip to a yarn shop. Maybe this will be my year....

Well, as I said I don't have a photo to post of any knitting, but I will show a post of what Hurricane Ike did to our house. Two 70-foot pine trees fell on our house. We were lucky that the tree you see in the below photo got caught up by the tree in the backyard so it was not able to completely go through our house. If it hadn't, our youngest would have most likely of been crushed. Needless to say we feel very blessed.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Knitting Once Again!

Almost a year has past and I've been busy with life. Since taking on a job as a resident actress and costume shop manager with Masquerade Theatre, my life has been a bit more full than I would like. I've taken a stand to find balance in my life though and one of the first steps is to renew my love of knitting. I had forgotten how the mere feel of yard soothes my spirit. The excitement of looking for a project, the fun of choosing the colors, etc. I was excited to finish two projects that have been going for over a year while waiting backstage in our production of MUSIC MAN. A pair of adorable pink socks which I think I will gift to a co-worker, and an easy, adorable little shrug which I think I might also gift. I'll get pictures of them here soon. I've also whipped out a couple pairs of fingerless gloves (Fetching on They feed my spirit of needing to see something accomplished quickly. A purple pair, and a requested black pair modeled by my daughter below. I know, she requested black. What a boring color to knit with. But her smile says it all.

I've now decided that I want a pair of leggings that I can wear over jeans and down over clogs. I actually found a picture of what I would like on, but when I tried to knit up the gauge I couldn't figure out why the pattern came out so wonky. Drove me crazy. I know it can't be a difficult pattern but for some reason I just couldn't seem to get the ribbed cable pattern to work. So instead of giving up and since I can't find exactly what I am looking for, I've decided to create my own design using my knowledge of knitting socks and a cables pattern sample book. If they come out I will certainly post the pattern here.

I have been swamped, as I mentioned, with Music Man costume building which received rave reviews in the paper I must admit. Although I am very proud of the work my staff and I were able to accomplished as we built nearly the entire show, I am looking forward to a much smaller show in the future. Here is a scene that shows a bunch of the costumes I designed.

I'm starting with smallish projects to get my feet wet, but I hope to move on to some Fair Isle Knitting soon. I really want to knit a Fair Isle sweater. It is just such an expensive endeavor. ESPECIALLY when you live in Houston where it is rarely cold enough to pull out a sweater. And ESPECIALLY, ESPECIALLY when you are going through pre-menopause. You ladies know what I'm talking about. Oh well. I can dream, can't I?

I want to leave this post with just an adorable picture of my daughter in her Halloween costume. Here I am, a professional costume builder, and my kids would rather have store-bought costumes! Well you can imagine my excitement when my youngest daughter asked me to make her and her friend's Halloween costume. At least, I was excited till I heard she wanted to be a cupcake. A CUPCAKE??? Couldn't it just be an adorable costume from Simplicity or Butterick? I really have to figure out how to make a cupcake? Well, here it is...