Thursday, December 23, 2010

Labors Of Love

Whew! It's all I can say. It's been a mad dash since Thanksgiving to finish Jake's Log Cabin blanket, and it is finally finished, washed, wrapped and under the tree. This gift was truly a labor of love. The fact is, I hate knitting blankets. BORING! The project that seems like you will never get it off the needles. Now, here it is, all in it's glory. Can't wait to see his face when he opens it.

Then, off to the next. My mother-in-law apparently spent several years knitting all of the little squares in this blanket. My father-in-law brought it to me, in a box, after my mother-in-law passed away in 2009. It was knit as little 4 inch squares, and the squares had been stitched together to make 3 large strips. Assembled, this covers my king size bed. I crocheted the 3 strips together, with plans to give it to my step-daughter for Christmas. After getting this done, I wanted to wash it, given I didn't really know how old the blanket was. This is what happened......

She sewed all those little squares to together, and they all came apart in the wash. Guess I know what Miranda is getting next year for Christmas.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Gift Making Madness

Each year, I find myself more interested in giving hand made items. When I started knitting, I was a bit selfish, and would only gift hand knitted items to a few, carefully selected people. Times being what they are, and needing to cut back on spending a little bit, this year, I decided that most everyone on my Christmas List was going to get handmade. After all, I have all that yarn, and fabric, just sitting there, haunting me. It's time to let some of it go. My goal was to knit my husband, myself and the 2 boys stockings. Well, I got stockings done for the boys, but hubby and I will have to wait.

Jake has been asking me for his own knit blanket (He likes to scoff mine) for 2 years. I decided to make him the Log Cabin, to use up some Encore stash that I need to move. While I love the way the blanket is turning out, and I'm nearing the last round of knitting, oy, I AM NOT A BLANKET KNITTER!! The rows have gotten so long, it takes me 2 days to get one block of color done. Not to mention, that the blanket that was intend to eat up my stash, has actually added to my stash. If I stopped when I ran out of yarn, it would have been too small. I've since had to purchase 8 more skeins, and I'm knitting this thing until the Encore is gone!

Then comes socks for hubby. Size 0 needle, 80 stitches, with a 5x3 ribbing. Enough said. I've pierced my finger more times than I can count knitting these socks, and I'm only about 60% of the way done.

There are other small items on the needles, hats, fingerless mitts, and bath mitts. With just over 3 weeks until Christmas, I'm up at 3am, trying to get knitting time in and get these done.

The list goes on with sewn/quilted items, and it seems this year that I am making more gifts for others to give than I am making to give. I've got several quilts in the work, (I'm not hitting panic mode because 2 of them just need to be quilted and binded, but I have to get them shipped by the 15th. AGH!), finished my granddaughter's stocking, and few other little surprises that I cannot post about here, just yet.

All of that said, I'll be in hibernation for the next 3 weeks, trying to get all of these project done and out the door. December 26th, I'm knitting for ME!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sweater Knitter Wannabe

I have knit alot of things in the 7 years I've been knitting. Toys, washcloths, towels, socks (socks, socks and more socks), lace, hats, mittens, etc. The one thing that I have to actually finish, and be able to wear proudly, is a sweater. Not for lack of effort, for sure. I currently have 3 sweaters on the needles. Nice, easy patterns, straight knit or stockinette. I thought when I cast them on, that my first sweaters should be simple, so that I might actually complete them. Did I set myself up for failure? While I have these 3 sweaters on the needles, I also have about 5 pairs of socks on the needles. 2 of which are stockinette. 1 of these pairs has been on the needles for about a year and a half now, while the other 3 that are patterned area all coming along nicely. Stockinette.....boring! That said....why an entire sweater in stockinette?

During the late summer, I cast on for Iced by Carol Feller. Knit in a bulky weight yarn, I knit the body of this sweater in something like 4 days. Then there was the knit collar. Here, I got stuck. Seemed like it took me forever to knit this 6 inches. Once I cast off, I was tickled, all I have left are sleeves! Until I try it on. The 6 inches of knit is about 4 inches longer than the sweater (I couldn't tell while on the needles, since it was on a circular needle). OUCH! I obviously picked up too many stitches along the edge of the body. Now I have to go back and rip the blasted thing out. My tendency in the past would be to just put this aside and try a different sweater at another time. However, I love this yarn, and the simplicity of the pattern, and if I'm every going to knit another sweater, I really should be able to Ice this baby!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My First Design!

When I started knitting 7 years ago, my ambition really, was to design. While I've made several attempts, truth be told, I hadn't knit enough to really learn how to manipulate the stitches to design. While there is still a long way to go to become a well versed designer, I did just publish my first design, Hope Grows. It's a breast cancer awareness sock pattern, knit from the toe up. As was the case with cable and lace knitting, I was quite intimidated by the toe up construction initially, and looked at it from afar for about 2 years. Now that I've done it, I think it's my sock knitting structure of choice. Much less waste!

Proceeds from the sale of this pattern thus far, will be going to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day For The Cure. I'm thrilled to say this pattern has been well received, and has already contributed $100 to my fundraising goal!

I've got several more designs floating around in my head....feeling particularly motivated now to finally get them on paper :-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Felting Frenzy

Take a look at the new books that are coming out this fall for fiber lovers, and you'll see there has been a shift in the tides. You will find an overwhelming number of books coming out about felting and spinning. Both have been on my to do list for quite some time, but with 2 little ones, it's been a bit of a challenge to get the time to do them.

A few months ago, I decided to do a project with the kids, in which we tried to make felted beads. Seams simple enough....take some roving, add a little soap and water, and work in the hands to make a ball. For the life of me, I could not make these things into balls. They are oval, and there are places where it just wouldn't felt together. I'm okay with them being a little uneven, off centered if you will, and once they were beaded, it made a pretty bracelet. Will definitely be spending more time practicing this, once the kids have started school.

On the same day, we made a different kind of bead. One that to me, seamed much easier. I had a sampling of brown rovings, and layed them out in thin layers on a bamboo window blind (on the counter of course). I wet the roving, added a little soap and then rolled the blind up, rolling up the layers of felt with it. I then applied pressure to the blind, and rolled it back and forth, checking the roving every now and again to see if it was felting. Once it started to felt, I unrolled the blind, rolled up the layers of fiber, and rolled them back and forth (like shaping a play dough snake) until it felted to my liking. I let it dry, and once dry, I cut the roll into pieces (beads). LOVE THEM!! Not one of them is exactly the same as another, some are larger in diameter than others, and when strung, they look awesome!! I've ordered more roving to make more of these types of beads. Guess what the teachers are getting as gifts this year? Unless, of course, I find something better in all those new felting books out there.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Taste Of Fall

New colorways coming August 15th!

Knitting With Human Hair....Really?

We knitters have definitely been know to do some crazy things at time, all in the name of getting a fiber fix. Not only do we knit with wool, alpaca, silk, yak and possum but we've been known to knit with our pet's hair/fur. I've seen it all now.....the Twist Collective fall issue has an article in it about an artist who knit this entire gown using human hair. Suddenly, the Habu lace I'm currently knitting seems awfully bulky!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sweet Little Knits

I have been on a crazy shawl knitting craze this year. Not sure how I got bitten by this bug, especially since I rarely go anywhere to wear such beautiful hand knits (socks are way more practical). However, my closet is filling fast with a variety of shawls. The latest, the Emily Dickinson shawl by Keiran Foley. This is an incredibly simple shawl (that I somehow made complicated - just for me), and knits up quick with only 300 yards being used.

There are 2 charts for this pattern, and they are very simple charts, yet, somehow, I couldn't follow them. You have to cast on 545 stitches and decrease down to 197, within the first dozen rows. What you should get are very defined points for the edging of your shawl. Somehow, I missed those decreases, and didn't catch it till later. Rather than frog and recast on 545 stitches, I opted to modify. I am quite pleased with the result, but it's definitely not the same shawl. I also decided to knit it in stockinette, rather than the called for knit all rows. I really wanted the beads to pop, since this will probably be a wedding gift for my step sister. I love it! (more pictures can be found on my Ravelry page here.)

This pattern is so beautiful, and now I want so badly to go back and "get it right" that I've cast on a 2nd Emily, using some Habu Stainless Steel that has been in my stash for years. This stuff is like thread, and it's black, so it will take me some time to knit (since my knit time is typically at night, and not in the best lighting). I'm determined to get it right, to prove to myself that I can read simple charts. We'll see how that goes.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Time To Celebrate!!

4th of July is always a big day around here! We don't forget for a minute, how fortunate we are to have our freedom and independence. Our country may not be as "great" as some would like, but to us, it's the best! It allows me the opportunity to run my own business, be home with my kids, and enjoy life to it's fullest. In honor of our great country's independence, we are having our 4TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS IN JULY SALE over at BB KNITS! Hurry on over and check it out!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ready For A Change

Almost 4 years ago, we started BB Knits, and at the same time started blogging with Xanga. While it served it's purpose when we started, we've learned a lot along the way, including some things we need to change. The key to running a successful internet business is to, of course, be on the internet. This has not been one of our strong suits, as our old blog was not incredibly user friendly, so it really bogged us down with updates. That said, we've obviously moved here to Blogger, which is much more user friendly, and will hopefully help us stay motivated to be online more.

We also felt it important to change the name of our blog. The fact is, this blog is not only a knitting/business blog, but we frequently blog about family life, our quilting endeavors, and whatever suits us along the way (although it's primarily knitting and quilting related). While we've heard from many how much you like that we've put a "human face" on our company, we've also heard from several that they wish our blog was focused more on knitting. While I'd love to commit to that, I know better. I do like to write, and I write to what suits me at the moment. Some of our best customers have been loyal customers for almost the 4 years we've been in business, and have become dear friends along the way because they've come to know who we are.

While our Xanga site will still be up and available for several more months, we are going to try to see what, if anything, we can move to this blog. If we can't move it, we just start anew.

In the meantime, go ahead and subscribe, so you can be the first to know about new colorways, patterns, yarn clubs and various other additions coming to the shop. Here's looking forward to the change :-)