Dye-namics Days!

It looks like there needs to be an intervention at my house.  I found some white yarn that I forgot I had (gasp!) and a few things I could dye them with and I can’t seem to stop.  My dogs are glad that they happen to not be a light color.  They might be green right now.

 

So anyway today I thought I would make an attempt to make a very quick gradient type of color.  Pinterest has so many fun dyeing tips that I pretty much spent an hour just lost on there.  That never happens to you, right?

I decided not to soak the yarn in water first to see what would happen.  I chose Cherry Kool-aid, Pink Lemonade, and Black Cherry this time.

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Here’s the yarn that I “forgot” I had:

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Anyway, again I filled the big ol’ kettle with just a bit of vinegar (just in case although everyone says Kool-aid is acidic enough), put my Kool-aid in.  I didn’t mix it hardly at all because I wanted to see what would happen just my laying the dry yarn in.

Then the exciting part:

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It’s just so fun to watch the color absorb onto the yarn.

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I submerged the yarn a little bit more to get the whiter spots a little bit more pink.

Then out it came:

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Kool Beans!

Now I’ll go wash it and hang to dry.

Man!  Obsessed.  Maybe I’ll start taking people’s socks and “unmentionables” to dye next as I am really out of white yarn.  Or I’ll just go get some more white yarn.  Heh heh.

On a side note, I’ve just opened an Etsy store (over on the side bar) called Pot O Gold Yarn so if you’re so inclined, maybe take a look.  I’m putting together kits and singles from my Yarn Shop days.  Thanks!!

I guess I’m a dye-addict-ly yours,

Here’s my Pot O’Gold-this moment,

Shana

 

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Wool And The Gang Know how to Party

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WOOOHOOOOO!  We just had a party!

Some friends and I just got together on Leap Day to really make the most out of an extra day on the calendar.  Yes, we had a knitting party!  There really isn’t a better idea for February 29 than that, I believe.  Unless you get invited to Willy Wonka’s or a donut factory.

Somewhere out on the internet one day I stumbled onto Wool And The Gang’s website and noticed that they have a tab for Parties.  Well, I’m sure not one to miss something like that so giddee up.  http://www.woolandthegang.com/parties

You can sign up to host your own event and make some quick big needle and yarn projects that WATG have put together.  They send you tutorials to watch in case you are stuck on anything or even if you’ve never knit before.  Each project has different levels so if you think that a project might be too hard or too easy, well, there’s one for you right in the middle, my little Goldilocks.

So we picked the Snood project because we all really need cowls here because it is freezing, windy, and pretty terrible weather in Wisconsin right now.  But then it will be 50 degrees and then 2.  It’s kind of like a teenager.  Don’t tell my teenagers I wrote that.

Here’s what it looks like when you receive your box of goodies:

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We all LOVED the needles in the kit.  Oh and the BEAUTIFUL yarn, Crazy Sexy Wool.  It was really Crazy.  AND Sexy.  And Wool.

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Peggy finished first because she is crazy fast.  Not crazy…just really, really fast.

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We really had a great time and hey, if any one wants to get together to party, well, I am right here.

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My Knitting Pilates Muscles

The other day I thought I just can’t get myself going.  I really didn’t want to do anything exercise related like I normally do.  My normal videos just seemed kind of boring.  It was just so cold and windy outside that even just hitting the road sounded pretty hideous.  So I went on YouTube and stumbled onto this nice site call efit30 http://www.efit30.com/ that has people from Australia doing Pilates videos.  Just the sound of their voices brought me to a nice sunny place.  So they have introduced me to Pilates.  I like how patient they are with beginning moves.  If you can really really think about breathing and focusing on your muscles, it’s pretty cool.  (yes, I have trouble remembering to breath and move myself at the same time, I guess.) People have all of these muscles but sometimes we don’t use them or think of how to use them better.  Of course I can barely touch my toes and probably am the most unflexible person in the universe.  Hence my challenge.  It just got me thinking.

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I’ve been watching the Craftsy.com website a lot and have thought about signing up for some of their classes and so I took the plunge.  Plus there was a 50% off sale so win/win.  I was interested in flexing some different knitting muscles that maybe I hadn’t thought about just like my Pilates experience.  There’s just so much to know and put to work with knitting.  I joined a Sally Melville class and a Lucy Neatby sock class.  So far it has been so worth the cash.  Plus on a windy cold -2 degree day, what else can you do?  I love hearing people talking about knitting no matter what particular subject they pick.  Podcasts are my saving grace in winter.  Well, then and in the shower.  Whenever I see a big event that may be located sort of close to me for authors presenting their books on knitting I always want to attend but usually cannot make it happen.  To have these two authors right there and available for questions is unbelievable.  Hearing their personal opinions on techniques and types of patterns, you are guaranteed to pick up tips to get your knitting muscles going.  Lucy Neatby and her double points showed me some pretty cool tricks in just the first couple of minutes.   The instructors give you written direction, patterns, and technique videos that you can have at your beck and call forever.  Well, kind of beck and call.  They are pretty good at addressing questions you post.

It must have been just one of those days because when I thought of my projects that I’m knitting, I also had that bored feeling.  So I decided to jump on Ravelry to see what people were doing.  I ended up scrolling through people’s test knitting pattern sections and thought, Hey, I’d like to do that so I joined up with a couple of them and have been test knitting hats.  How cool is this!  I’ve had a really good time doing some different techniques that I hadn’t ever thought about doing and learned some pretty cool things.  Check out the twisted German cast on technique that I’ve just recently had fun doing:

Great video for twisted German cast on that I LOVE

I also got to chat with some knitting people which is a blast.  While there I also thought I had better give my notebook of projects a look.  I’m a bit guilty of forgetting to log projects in there when finished.  When I look back I think, geez.  I haven’t been good at all doing that.  How fun it would be if I’d really gotten ALL of my projects listed there.  Another muscle I forgot how to use.  Ravelry has so much to offer to us that I wonder if I will ever get it all figured out.  There’s ear-burning, KALs, PMs, and swooshes.  Lions, tigers, and bears…oh, my.  (hey, visit my project page maybe:  http://www.ravelry.com/projects/shanabanana

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Hey, exercise balls are also good at holding projects for you to take pictures of.  AND dogs like to watch.

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Maybe you can give me exercise advice for my muscles and my knitting?

Pretty sure I’ll be sore tomorrow-ly yours,

-here’s my pot o’gold-this moment!

Shana

 

Super Bowl Knitting

Yay!  It’s the day of snacks and knitting!  The Super Bowl:  what commercial will be the favorite?  Oh, I mean which team will win?  (who cares…it’s not the Packers…hahahaha)

Just reminiscing today about a year ago when I was able to travel to my hometown of Beatrice, Nebraska to see my Dad for his 80th Birthday Surprise visit.  I took two kids with me and we traveled across Wisconsin, Iowa, and finally Nebraska in pretty nice weather, maybe 40 degrees.  We surprised the birthday boy and it was a great time…until the icy sleet and then snow started in the afternoon of the party.  Sunday morning we were supposed to head back home and wouldn’t you know it…we were stuck.  We actually were snowed in.  So we were going to watch the Super Bowl right there.  Oh, but did I tell you the satellite dish was iced up and there was no TV and my phone was in roaming so Sprint had just cut off my usage?  WHAT???  What do people do with no TV or smart phones?  Luckily I had some socks to knit and also a pair to repair from my Dad’s previous gift pair.  My kids had to do homework and then hang out with the grandparents.  That lasted a few hours and then we were dying for TV so it was time to send Tommy up on a ladder outside to knock ice off the dish.  He braved the Nebraska winds and snow successfully without even griping and we had TV.

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I usually make chili for the Super Bowl so I was a little worried we wouldn’t be able to eat our traditional food and then another miracle happened. The grandparents had some chili in the freezer!  Score!  We were really living it up.  It was a pretty fun time being snowed in.  (it really was a treasure of a time)

The next day we had to head back.  (Did you know that 5 minutes outside of Beatrice, Nebraska Sprint service comes back to you?)  I was sure glad we didn’t try and drive the day before.  There must have been 100 cars in the ditch and more semis than I could count the whole way to Des Moines, Iowa.  Yikes. Even driving the next day was white-knuckle experiences.  I had cramps in my hands after gripping the wheel so tightly.  (lucky I knit and have pretty in-shape hands!)   I also learned that Windshield Wiper Wash doesn’t do you any good if the little squirty things are frozen and buried under ice on your car.  After Des Moines to Wisconsin it was smooth sailing.  Pretty sure I won’t be venturing out on another long trip like that for a while in the winter.  Hey, unless someone’s having a party and there’s cake.

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So what are YOU going to work on in between snacks and chili for this Super Knitting Day?

A few posts back I had pictures of a project I had just finished for a special baby.  Here’s the baby wearing my football baby cocoon:

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Got to like it when a plan comes together!  AND when someone takes a picture for you of such a cutie pie wearing your knitting!

Yesterday I was trying to organize my needles and maybe some of my bags of projects that I’ve put on snooze.  Yep, trying to get my creative space in shape along with of course and always, the bod.  I found this over the door hanging organizer for just a few dollars at the store and think maybe, just maybe this will be the thing that really keeps me on task to finish projects.  (do you believe what I am saying?)  Well, it’s a start.

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What organizing tips do you have for me?  I need lots of them.

Now I am going to ponder:  shall I work on one of my current WIP or start another??

I found this really neat pattern on ravelry…  haha…  check out my facebook page and see all of the ones that catch my eye, er eyes.  There are enough for a couple 100 blizzards.

Not snowed in this year-ily yours,

-Here’s my pot o’gold-this moment!-

Shana

 

Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Workshop

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Buffy gets it.  This is her favorite book.

My first Elizabeth Zimmermann book was Knitting Without Tears.  It was a gift from my lovely mother-in-law.  Truth be told, it frightened me a little bit.  I had to take a nap after I opened it.  (that’s how I deal with stressful things I’m discovering…take a nap)  I really wasn’t sure I could ever follow EZ’s directions or ever really make anything worth wearing.

A little back story:

Before I was married and the very first time I met my soon to be mother-in-law it was after midnight after a very long road trip from Nebraska which is my home state to Wisconsin which is Dave’s.  We were doing the Meet the Parents trip.  Yikes!  Think about meeting people for the first time very late at night and being super road-dust-dirty.  Both of the Parents were so kind to wait up for us and as we got to talking, my Mother-in-law was knitting away.  She wasn’t even looking at her hands.  One time I looked and there was a row done and the next thing I know a sweater.  She’s fast.  I like to brag about her.  Anyway, I had never ever picked up a knitting needle.  Just never.  Later on the Parent Visit I was able to see so many beautiful knit things.  It was amazing.  This stuck in my head and-jump forward to just after getting married-I grabbed some yarn.  I started crocheting first and then stumbling my way to knitting.  I guess I thought knitting was too hard because there were TWO sticks.  I spent a lot of time at the library and found Elizabeth Zimmermann’s videos for the Knitting Workshop.  They were awesome and hilarious and awesome.  Did I tell you, they were awesome?  My MIL and I had a fun time talking and watching those.  I learned a lot, tried a lot, ripped out a lot and then was able to go back to my Knitting Without Tears and I didn’t take a nap.

EZ is just so smart.  AND she’s funny.  I love her stories about the Gaffer.  One of my favorite visions of her is her sitting on the back of his motorcycle and she’s knitting.  What a view that would be.  I would totally have dropped my yarn.  Or a double point.  But EZ would have a circular.  She’s so smart.

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You should work your way through the Knitting Workshop.  Start with the hat.  End with the Surprise Jacket.  Laugh along the way.  Your brain will absorb so much info.  If you’re a beginner this workshop helps ease your way into with explaining the very basics about yarn, stitches, and styles.  It gets your knitting brain into shape.  It forms the foundation for a knitter who won’t need a pattern at all someday.  It will empower you.  Baby steps first though.  If you’re more experienced, take a look at this again.  You may just gain a little something more.  Or try one of those projects you haven’t.  Each time you will grow.

The thing about knitting is you will never get bored.  You will continue to grow no matter what your skill is.  It is inspiring, fulfilling, interesting, colorful, soft, warm, and cozy and a puzzler.  I like to take time to go back and see the things I did when I started.  I check out my very first sweater I made that was hideous.  I see how I’ve grown.  I see that I need to keep growing.  There’s never an expiration date.

I hope you’ll spend some time with EZ.  What a treasure.  The thing I most love about her is that I have fabulous family memories and laughs to enjoy thanks to her.

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Without Tears and No Nap-pily yours,

-Here’s my pot o’gold-this moment-

Shana

Ode to Mason-Dixon Knitting

I just can’t wait.  Is it Christmas morning?  No, better than that!  It’s just 2 days until the Mason-Dixon Knit-Along starts on February 1st!  Party!  See, it’s hard to explain but events just make me so motivated and happy.  Goals…that’s it.  Everyone needs goals.  I just mean more yarn and projects really.

A week or so ago I stumbled across a post on Facebook from Mason-Dixon Knitting for a yarn give-away for a beautiful cowl kit of many colors.  So up my alley.  Many colors.  Shiver.

I went on and entered that give-away.  I don’t think I won though.  Or did I??  haha  Positive spin.  I started following M-D’s page and I remembered why I enjoy reading all that they can give me.  They’re just so funny.  And they know so much technical stuff.  Win-win.

Have you read their books?  Meet Kay and Ann:

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(look-you can see me in that shot above)

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I just spent the afternoon going through my books that I’ve had since my mother-in-law told me about their Warsh rags and swiffer mop covers.

When I open up the first book I just feel like I’m chatting with good friends.  I challenge you to make it a couple of pages without busting into a broad smile.  Or snorting.  They write like they talk and it’s a good way to read.

The first book will guide a beginner knitter and cradle them as they explore their way through fiber-ty.  The second one gets into the knitty gritty and challenges the knitter to grow and become their own knitter-self.  Plus the favorite Warsh rag carries over to the second.

The funniest page I’ve ever read was in the first book -page 90-The places they have tried to knit and failed.  I can’t say more.  You have to read it yourself.

The pages of both books are crammed to the rim with info.  Treasures.  I need to go lay down now and just reboot as my brain wants me to go and get some cotton and get to making some warsh rags and the fancy powder room gifts.  Must make gifts for the ladies.

Also I need to think about my Stopover sweater for Monday with the Knit Along.  I wish I could knit faster!!

Go and visit their website:

http://www.masondixonknitting.com/

Get in there and I bet you’ll have some warsh rags before long, too.

Knitalong impatience-ly yours,

-Here’s my pot ‘o’gold-this moment-

Shana

 

 

Sweater Workshop

Dreary winter days give me the remember whens.  Remember when we got 18″ of snow the year Tommy was born?  Remember that ice storm?  Remember eating chili when it snows? (we eat lots of chili) Remember when I started knitting?

Today I was thinking about when I first started knitting things other than squares.  I had just two kids some twenty years ago and I was just loving every knitting book I could get my hands on and trying to master more techniques.  I was making baby hats for the hospital and trying to master knitting in the round.  My mother-in-law gave me Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann and at the time it kind of blew my mind.  I went to the library and checked out her Knitting Workshop videos.  I really felt like I wouldn’t ever be as near as good as she was.  Then on another trip to the library I stumbled upon The Sweater Workshop book by Jacqueline Fee.

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OH!  This book was it for me!  There was information on how to take any yarn and make whatever you want.  Empowerment.  Hold on.  That’s what Elizabeth Zimmermann always talks about.  Jacqueline Fee was connecting the dots between me and EZ.

In this book one of the first suggested projects is to make a Sampler.  It helps you to figure out many techniques that you might want to use in a sweater or any project.  You practice it and move on to another.  It also is something that won’t be worn so you can go nuts on experimenting and if you make a mistake, well…who’s going to know but you?  Or of course you can do the proper thing and go back and fix it, like you should.  (heh heh).

So I grabbed my yarn and dove in.  I discovered a lot of things that day.  Wow, I knit loose.  I also didn’t want to put the thing down until I had finished every last technique.  The family had to starve until I was done.  There was no time for laundry.  Or housekeeping (or who wants to do that ever?).  The place just blew up.  Not really.  It actually went quickly.  My brain was on fire to get to the next step.  Do you want to see it?

Such beauty.  Such a masterpiece.  Oh, such skill.

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What??  Is?? That??

My Shelby doesn’t get it.  Also these two things are almost the same age…more than 20 years old.  They should be friends.

Here are close ups of the steps (remember it was my first time so don’t look too closely):

Knitting in the Round, Knitting garter stitch, stockinette, different ribbings, and adding color:

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Increasing:

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Color work, pockety thing, decreasing:

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Oh, yeah!  I signed it:

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Edgings:

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I-cords!

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Anyway, if you are a person who is wondering about making whatever you want without a pattern, want to improve knitting in the round, learning new techniques, figuring out Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Percentage System, want to make a weirdy little thing-y like this PLEASE!  Go get this book.  It is so great!  One other tip is if you do get this book in your hot little hands and it’s not spiral bound, go to Kinko’s or Office Max and see if they will do it.  You will be grateful a thousand fold.  (sure, sure)

There’s also a cool pattern for Spiral Socks that I made for my very first socks.  I can’t find those any more but let me tell you they were blue and pink and just about the coolest socks ever.

There are patterns in the book to follow to make sweaters or you can make your own up with whatever design styles you want.  This makes me think of those kid flip books where you could change the characters tops, middles, and bottoms.  FUN!

You can also go on Ravelry and explore the Jackie Fee Sweater Group:

http://www.ravelry.com/groups/jackie-fees-sweater-workshop

You can see other people’s samplers.  Yep, they are better than mine.

Here’s a picture of a bunch of them:

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They’re ALL better than mine.  But I got so much out of this book I can’t even…can’t even.  haha

After this I went straight to Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Workshop and sat so proudly reading it.  I got it.  I really got it.  That lady was a trail blazer.

Please go try this out!  Let me know if you do.  Yours will be better than mine, too!

Pretty loose knitting-ly yours,

-Here’s my pot o’gold-this moment!

Shana