Thursday, February 24, 2011

Revisiting My UFO's

As we are in the New Year I can't help but think about what I still have on my needles from last year - meaning UFO's (unfinished objects). How did you do with your UFO's?

I had to revisit my UFO list to see how I did and what still needs to be completed. You might have figured out by now that I am a starter of new projects. I just love all the variety out there to make. Then I get wrapped up in making samples for classes and so on and so on. Sometimes things get left behind for future finishing. But revisiting last year showed me that I didn't do half bad. Sure I still have some UFO's lurking around screaming at me saying finish me please. Looking at the big picture it is not that bad.

So what did I finish? I posted on several dates regarding my UFO's so let me see what I talk about and was it all talk or was there a finish line to those projects. Maybe you remember my post from June 1, 17, July 6, and October 8. On June 1st and June 17th I talk about the same two sweaters. They will not be completed. The Noro speckled yarn sweater needs to be sewn. The problem is I don't like it. The Noro yarn did not knit up as I thought. You know when you see a yarn and it looks good until you use it and you find that it doesn't come out as you envisioned. The chance of that one being finished is slim to none. I also had a cable sweater that I didn't have enough yarn to finish it so I took that apart. From time to time that can happen.

From the July 6 post I had five projects that I worked on. The knitted pinwheel rug needs to be sewn together. The knitted handkerchief lace shawl is complete. The knitted fingerless gloves are still unfinished. The Crochet pig puppet is complete. Three out of five is great. Or should I say two and a half since the pinwheel rug is not completely finished until I sew it together. Now these are projects that I posted about. If you look at my flickr you see that there are a lot of projects I did finish, but I just didn't include them in my post. I tell people all the time that I am not on a clock for time. I just love having fun.

That's why I didn't go to the yearly sale that Knit-a-Bit in Westfield, NJ has every year. I hadn't gone before so I was thinking about going, but my conscience reminded me that I have enough to work on and enough yarn for now. I'm on a yarn diet. But as one of my students said that I am on a fiber diet, which fits the situation. I like that one. So I passed up going to the sale for this year. It was easier to do than I thought. But you know what? It is something to look forward to for next year. Also, since I wrote that series on organizing your craft on my blog from October 28th thru November 24th of 2010, I surely don't want to be the one that is out of control.

So what about you? Have you put yourself on a fiber diet or are you running to the sales but with self control or are you just saying I'm livin large and what of it? Now that last one could get you in a world of trouble. Let's see what we do this year about our UFO's and our yarn stash.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Recaping My Trip To Pittsburg, PA

I can't believe it has been two years since I went to Pittsburgh, PA. I went mainly for the Annual Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival that is held in February. Well, last weekend marked the 7th year for the event. I wish I could have gone but was unable to, so I just started to recap my trip in my mind and I thought I would share with you. I had a great time that weekend that I went. It was only a weekend event, but now it is three days. Hurray for a successful event that keeps growing.

That was my first time in Pittsburgh and it won't be my last. I did my research and I knew someone that use to live there so they gave me plenty to see for my trip. If you have plans to go next year it is so worth the trip. I made it into a mini vacation. Let me give you some ideas of things to do prior or after the event. This is just in case you want to make a vacation by tacking on a couple more days on your weekend.

First, how was the convention when I went? It was really nice. It is held at the Sheraton North, Mars, PA and I stayed right there at the hotel. Now that is so convenient. I signed up on line and picked out my classes prior to going so I was set. I could sleep a little later and relax before the event started. It's not a huge event like Stitches, but the vendors were very nice and there was enough variety of yarn, books, and supplies for shopping. I took a couple of classes because I like to keep up with learning since I teach myself. The seating is tight for the classes but I can adjust so I had a good time.

I didn't go last year because of all the snow. Well, for this year I saw that from the weather report it must have been a great weekend for the event. I'm sure there are those reading this post that had an opportunity to go. I hope you enjoyed the event. I want to plan for next year to go. We will see what happens.

Now after the event, I continued my trip with visiting the city of Pittsburgh. There is a nice variety to see depending upon what your interests. For me it was great. I love different cultures so I visited the Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning housed in the University of Pittsburgh. That was so nice. It is a self tour and you are able to visit their twenty six rooms that represent the cultural backgrounds of various ethnic groups. Of course, since I volunteer at a zoo I had to visit the Pittsburgh Zoo. You might say in February you want to visit a zoo? On the day I went it was a crisp winter day but with enough warmth to walk around and enjoy. It is a very nice zoo and I definitely want to return. I also went to the National Aviary of Pittsburgh. I love birds and they have more than 600 birds from all over the world there. They were doing some renovations when I visited so I know by now it is even better. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra was still in town so I went to the Heinz Hall to see them perform. This was sweet musical food to my soul. Now I am into museums so I just had to visit the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. There are four museums all together in one place and I enjoyed going from one to the other. The last place that I really enjoyed was the Phipps Conservatory. The indoor gardens were beautiful. I would love to visit there in the summer to see the outside gardens because I know they must be something to see also. The one place I wanted to visit was the Frank Lloyd Wright house but it was under renovation at the time. I guess that means another trip to Pittsburgh in the future.

I enjoyed my visit to Pittsburgh and I recommend going to the knit and crochet event and exploring the city of Pittsburgh for yourself which will make a great vacation to plan. Now these are things that I enjoy just to give you an example of what is there to see and do. But for you there might be other things you would like to explore. The key is to do your research before hand to take advantage of your time, to make sure things are open, there is an exhibit you would like to see and calculating the price total for what you want to do. And if you have AAA at certain places you get a $1.00 off the price. Every dollar counts in this economy.

As always have fun with your plans.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Play On Color

Did you ever have skeins, hanks, or balls of yarn that you don't have enough for one whole project that you would like to use it for? Well, with my black and cream yarn that was the case. I was thinking about what I could use the yarn for. And it came to me that I had this pattern that I wanted to make but I didn't have enough of one yarn for it. Why don't I mix the colors of the two different skeins together. There is always room in the closet for a black top or a black and white (in my case cream) top.

This is a play on color. I am creating one row suttle stripes by switching each color when I get to the end of the round. It can be a suttle color difference or bold color difference as in my black and cream top.

Let's look at my pictures below to see how this is done.


1. Make a slip knot and place it on your needle as the picture shows with the working yarn hanging in front of the tail.

2. I used the long tail cast on. Choose which color you want for your cast on edge and wrap that color around your thumb when making the cast on. For this example, you can see that the tan is my cast on edge and the cream becomes my cast on stitches on the needle.

3. You need to work two rows of the first color to get back to where you will pick up the second color. Notice that I have completed two rows of the cream and I am back to where the tan working yarn is. Because I will be carrying the yarn up the side of each color as I change colors, I am laying the cream over the tan so that when I pick up the tan to knit with it then the cream catches as it is crossed over the tan. This avoids long strands of yarn that just looks like a loop on the side. If you are knitting with circular needles and you are performing this kind of color change, then crossing the last working yarn used over the next yarn to be in use will avoid a hole in that area.

Here is my black and cream top. It is a pattern from the Holiday 2008 issue of VogueKnitting Magazine called Ribbed Pullover. I just need to graft under the arms and weave in the ends and it will be finished. It is knitted in the round which makes it oh so easy to switch colors. I used the long tail cast on with both colors so that the bottom edge would be the cream and my first round would be the black.

As I knit around and come to the end of the round, the one color (black) is dropped and I pick up the next color (cream). Before I drop the one color (black) I crossed the yarn over the next color (cream) so that the two colors lock protecting from a hole forming as the two colors are carried up the side.

The second project is this hat. Also worked in the round, but it gives a little bit of a different look.

The third project is this skinny scarf made with the honeycomb stitch. Because this is not done in the round it gives more of a stripe effect. But because of the stitch the stripe is less pronounced, showing more of a decoration. If you do this in stockinette stitch then it is more of a traditional stripe.

The two things to remember are to cross the two colors at the end of the row or round, whichever method of knitting you are using and to make sure you pick up the right color to continue. Make sure your yarns don't tangle as you switch colors with each round. It is easy to know if you have the right color because when you come to the end of the round the round shows the color you just worked. If you continue with that color at the beginning of the next round you will be working on top of the same color.

A great time that this method of changing colors could come in handy is if you purchase some yarn and you go back to the store months later and you can't get the same dye lot color. You haven't started on your project so this is good. You can get half of the yarn in the new dye lot and mix the yarn you already have working two row stripe change and you will not be able to tell a big difference of color because it will blend all in together. Just make sure that you have the right total yardage for your project.

So don't rule out what you want to make and don't give up on the yarn you have before you give yourself a chance to tap into your creative side. Make a sample of the two colors in a square or work a sample in the round to see if you like the mix of the two colors you have with the stitch you will be using. You might be surprised at the end result. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Crochet Sessions - Franklin Township Library - NJ


If you or someone that you know lives in Franklin Township, NJ and would like to learn how to crochet, I have three spots open for 4 crochet sessions that will be held at the Franklin Township Library. The dates are Sunday, February 6, 13, 20, and 27. Call the library (732-873-8700) to sign up. Thank you.

Are we not having the most awful weather this year? Even the states that are suppose to be sunny and beautiful, like Florida has had some really unusual cold weather. Here in New Jersey we are experiencing tough snow and ice days. In fact, it has been a snow storm almost one a week. What a record this is becoming. I was stuck on the ice for four days. I just could't get the car off the ice. I finally got some help today and my car is finally free, at least until the next snow and ice storm. Whether you are in New Jersey or anywhere else experiencing some form of unusual weather, please be careful and don’t go out in it if you don’t have to.

I know there has to be a lot of people out there that are experiencing cabin fever. Did you start a new project? Have you been working on something exciting and you have taken advantage of the extra time because of the weather to finish it? I hope you are making the best of this time you might have off. It's not always easy to do. Try to keep focused on something positive.

May you all be safe.