Monday, February 22, 2010

Olympic Update

I've had a lot of fun participating in previous Knitting Olympics. The whole idea of knitting along with so many other people and the starting and finishing of a project in two weeks is great! This time, however, I had a feeling it might not go so well. I've been experiencing some technical difficulties and I'm lacking focus...something an Olympian really needs to reach their goal and have a chance at a medal.

At the last minute, I chose a pattern and yarn, signed up, and got started. I kinda had a feeling my project was a bit more than I could do in two weeks but it's something I've been wanting to make and we're suppose to challenge ourselves in this event, right?

I started "Gabriel's Wings" with some Berroco Comfort sock yarn that I had. I like how it's looking. But, even though the pattern is basically pretty simple, I've had trouble with silly errors and trying to figure out where they are and how to fix them. Ugh! Somehow the number of stitches became uneven on the two sides. I tinked and knitted, over and over, and eventually got the stitches back on track but later found another error where an eyelet hole should be, but isn't. I usually don't like to leave things like that but I had so much trouble getting to where I am that I've decided that it can stay. I think it's not that noticable, especially as the shawl gets bigger.

I have to confess that I haven't been very focused on just this one shawl project. I'm so excited about several projects that it's hard to ignore any of them. So, other projects have been sharing/stealing some of my Olympic knitting time.

With all of tinking and fixing and working on other projects, I haven't gotten very far. I'm pretty sure, at this point, that I'm not going to earn a medal at this year's games. But, the joy is in participating and I am having fun! I wish there were Knitting Olympics every year!

Cranberry Crochet

Yes! I love yarn! Yes! I love to shop for it. Most of all, I love to create with it. However, I'm not one to just buy yarn to have it. I generally need a reason, a project to justify it. Because of that, I don't have a huge stash. But, somehow, I do have one. And, for several months, I've been trying to bust through it as much as possible. I'm doing pretty well and I've used up some of my yarns. Although....I have added a couple here and there...but, for the most part, I've done more stash busting that stash enhancing. That's good!

Over the past week or so I've finsihed up several of those stash busting projects. Here's one of them...

It's a simple lacey crochet scarf . I used some cone yarn that's leftover from some blankets that I wove years ago. And, I can't believe it...I still have a lot left. This cone keeps going and going and going!

I always have so much trouble getting reds to photograph correctly. This is no exception. I've taken so many pictures of it in different lighting situations and tried to correct it with some editing and this is the best I could get it. It's actually a bluish/burgandy/cranberry color. It's very pretty and I think I have someone in mind to give it to. I guess this means I've officially started making things for next Christmas! Yay! Now, I need to make this a trend so it won't be a last minute rush when the holidays roll around.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lil' Bear II

I was thrilled last week when I sold Lil' Bear on Etsy! It was my very first sale and he went to a good home. It turns out that two people wanted him. So, this past week, I've been working on Lil' Bear II. Here he is...

This is the first time I've tried to copy something that I've needle felted. I think it went pretty well but it's not exactly the same. I think that makes each lil' creation special.

This one has a red heart instead of a coral one. I really like how it turned out.

This Lil' Bear has a lot of the same features as the first those cute little toes...

And, an adorable back side...

And, those sweet little eyes...

He's 4 inches tall and 2 1/2 inches wide.

He's just waiting for approval from his prospective new parents. Then, he may be off in just a few days to travel to his new home.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Life is Good!

The last few days have been full and fun...

1. I made my first sale on Etsy! When I found out, I was so excited that I was jumping up and down and we even opened a bottle of wine to celebrate! Thanks, Dave! Lil' Bear is on his way! Benita...I'll start working on another one! :-)

2. The opening ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics were awesome! All those special effects were incredible! I also loved all the history, stories and scenery that were shown about Canada. Our news and TV rarely show anything about Canada and I've never been there. After what I saw and heard, I can't wait to visit someday. What an awesome place!

3. I started my Olympic knitting project. It's a shawl pattern that I found on Ravelry called, "Gabriel's Wings". I'm using some yarn that I won at a LYS a few months ago...Berroco Comfort Sock in the colorway "Beach House"....It's charcoal, blue, turqouise, white, pale blue, and lime green. The shawl is building from the top/long edge down. That's something that confused me last year when I tried to make the "Flower Basket Shawl" and something I really want to learn and understand. This pattern is simple enough that it's working out great but the way it's building still boggles my mind.

4. We did a lot of eating out this weekend...not good for the wallet or the waistline but it sure was fun! On Saturday we went to a place called "Pizza Fusion". We've been meaning to go there for a long time and finally got around to it. They're all about healthy and organic foods. What we didn't know is that they also serve organic beverages as well...including beer and wine. The food was great but the beer I had was awesome! It was Bison Brewing, Chocolate Stout! Yummmm! Probably one of the best brews I've ever had. It had such a full and delicious flavor that on my very first swig I didn't want to swallow, I wanted to keep enjoying the delicious flavor. I MUST find some!

5. On Sunday we went with my mother-in-law and father-in-law to a local winery...there are many as we live near the southern California wine country area of Temecula. We went to Keyways Winery. It's small and not as crowded as many of the other local wineries. And, it's the only woman owned winery in Southern California. They had some unique and delicious wines. The weather was warm and sunny...a beautiful day to sit outside and enjoy wine and great company. Afterwards we went out for a great Mexican food dinner.

After all that eating and drinking, I MUST do better with my walking workouts this week! Plus, I have a lot of knitting and needle felting to do! I better get busy!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Just a few random thoughts for today...

1. I listed a couple more items in my ETSY store yesterday...the cute lil' bear in the picture, and a pin cushion. I'm so excited and inspired about this right now. I'm planning to spend a lot of time in my craft studio today. I can't wait to see what transpires!

2. My heart smiled yesterday when I read Lenora's post about her experience at Sunday's Magic Ball and Shawl workshop and got to see the pictures of her beautiful work of art. You can see it on her blog, Yarns from the Southland. This experience was wonderful and just keeps getting better. I can't wait to see all of the other beautiful creations at our upcoming fashion show!

3. Speaking of inspiration...I'm feeling so inspired lately. That's something I was missing for a while and it's so wonderful to have it back. A big part of it is the time I've been spending at Knit N Stitch. The people are so warm and welcoming and the store is overflowing with talented knitters and inspiration. I love it! It's hard to control myself and keep from casting on a bunch of new projects. I'm trying to finish up some WIPs so I can get to some new ones. I can't wait!

4. I'm excited to see that my weight is dropping! Yay! The 10,000 steps a day really works! I haven't done so well the past few days. But, the last couple weeks I did. In fact, there have been several days that I hadn't reached my goal by evening and had to jump on the treadmill before bed. One night I went from 1,300 steps at dinner time to just over 10,500 by the time I went to bed. Whew! There have been a couple of days that I didn't plan well or pay enough attention to my pedometer during the day and I had to make up the last couple thousand after everyone went to sleep by walking around and around the downstairs of the house so I wouldn't wake anyone. The sun is shining again and that will help me to get back on track. I've lost over four pounds and still have at least 10 to go.

5. Valentine's Day is coming fast! I need to get ready...I have cards to make and a meal to plan! My husband and daughter and I have a tradition of making a nice meal, decorating the table for Valentine's Day and exchanging cards. I love my family! :-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stash Magic

Last week, as I prepared for the magic ball and shawl workshop, I wanted to gather materials to use as an example and to have a project of my own. I pulled out my stash and started mixing and matching to see what I could find. I wanted a combination of colors and textures that would be beautiful, I'd love to work with, and I'd enjoy wearing.

I was inspired by some off white yarns. What I had was a great start and I was able to get a picture in my mind of what I wanted but it just wasn't enough. So, off to the store I went. I bought a couple more skeins in different textures. And, when I came home, I pulled a couple more from my stash that all of sudden seemed to be perfect. I couldn't wait to get started.

I'm so pleased with how these yarns are coming together. I can't stop looking at it! And, I can't wait to wear it. My daughter has already asked if she can wear it too. :-)

The more I work with it, the more I love it! It's hard to put it down.

The yarns I'm using are (from left to right):

1. A boucle from my weaving stash. I have pounds of this stuff...and I've already woven yards of great fabric from it. It's nice to find another use for it.

2. JoAnn Sensations "Beautiful". It's sooooo soft. This is one of the yarns I picked up to fill in. I wanted something fluffy, soft and angora-like. This works perfectly, at a fraction of the price.

3. Caron Spa left over from a cowl project. I love that little touch of pink!

4. A white terry cloth type of yarn, left over from a poncho I made years ago. I have no idea what kind it is but the bright white adds a nice highlight to this shawl and the texture is nice too.

5. Rave by Crystal Palace. It was waiting for just the right project. I love how much this ribbon adds to the look of this. I have to use it sparingly though as there are only 44 yards in the ball.

6. Bernat Satin...another yarn that I bought to fill in. It was inexpensive and adds some shine.

7. Off white Fun Fur. This is the kind of yarn that got me interested in knitting about six years ago. I'm not crazy about it nowadays but it sure adds a lot of texture and interest to a project like this.

I'm using size 11 needles. I started by casting on a few stitches and I'm increasing at the beginning and end of each row. I was inspired by one of the students at the workshop to mix the yarns as I go. It kind of feels like I'm painting a picture...when I feel I need a little more pink here or there or shine or fluff, I just cut what I'm knitting with, tie on the new yarn and start knitting again. It's a lot of fun!

The pictures came out pretty good but it's much prettier in person. I'm trying to figure out a name for it that expresses the glamour and prettiness but the casualness of it too. Do you have any ideas? I'd love to hear them.

Thanks for stopping by! :-)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lemon Cake

You know the saying..."when God gives you lemons, make lemonade". This year, with so many lemons on our tree, we're making everything we can think of with lemons. We've made lemonade, mixed drinks, marinades, salad dressings, chicken soup and now...cake...

I took this to the Super Ball Sunday, "Magic Yarn Ball and Shawl" workshop yesterday. It was a hit! It's very easy to make. It's a simple lemon cake mix but after it's baked and still hot, I poked holes in the top and poured a mixture of the juice from two meyer lemons and two cups of powdered suger. The holes look a little funny so I dressed it up with a little dusting of powdered sugar, a few lemon slices, and leaves from our lemon tree. It's moist and delicious!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Ball Sunday!

One of my favorite yarn shops is "Knit N Stitch" in Riverside, California. It's been there a long time. In fact, rumor has it that it's been in business (with various owners) for over 50 years. I keep meaning to ask and confirm that but whenever I go there I have so much fun and get so inspired by yarn projects that I forget to ask. I remember going there with my mom when I was in high school! It's a 25-30 minute drive but it's worth it. I often find new and exciting yarns and I'm often very inspired. One of those inspirational visits happened last year when I saw this....

Sue had started knitting this sweater, using various yarns. I love the color and texture combinations. It's so pretty and fun!

Around that same time, I saw a ball of yarn someone had bought that was made up of various yarns. And, another local yarn shop was selling skeins of yarn made up of various yarns of different textures, sheens, and colors. They were gorgeous but way out of my price range...around $50 each!

Those things inspired me to come up with the idea of making "magic yarn balls" with stash yarn. A group of ladies that I was knitting with regularly liked the idea and we got together, swapped yarns, started cutting and tying and came up with beautiful balls of yarn on our own. It was a great way to breathe new life into old stash and get gorgeous new yarns without spending more money. It was a lot of fun!

Several of us knitted our new "magic yarn balls" into shawls. I blogged mine HERE last year and put it on Ravelry. Someone saw it and the next thing I knew it was featured on the "America's Knitting" website along with other projects made by knitters in California. What a fun surprise!

A couple of months ago I took my shawl to Knit n Stitch to show Sue, the lady that sparked the inspiration. She and others that were in the shop that day fell in love with it and and quickly arranged a workshop.

We had the "Magic Yarn Ball and Shawl" workshop today, on Super Ball...Sunday! It was so much fun! There were about 14 ladies that came. They were so excited and we quickly got started...

Right from the start I heard "this is fun!" and I kept hearing that throughout the day. That was like music to my ears.

There was a little trading going on, a little shopping to find yarn to finish off what they had brought, and the store had some bags of yarn that they had coordinated ahead of time and were selling for 35% off.

One of the great things about this project is that there really aren't any rules. It's all about color, texture and creativity. So, not only was it fun to see the yarn combinations, but also to see the various ways that the ladies assembled their yarn balls.

The combinations of colors and textures were gorgeous! Just as beautiful as those $50 skeins that I've seen.

I think the magic yarn balls are special because each one is unique and personal to the person who creates it.

Some of the ladies had so much fun making the yarn balls that they just spent their time working on that...sometimes making two! Others were anxious to dive in and get started...

Just as there are no rules to making the magic yarn balls, there are no rules on how to use them. Some of the ladies are making triangular shawls...

Some are making scarves. She's making her's lengthwise and it's going to match a lot of the clothes in her wardrobe...

We're all getting together again in about a month for a little show and tell, fashion show. I can't wait to see the magic that each lady creates. It's always so much fun to see how different each project turns out. I know they are all going to be gorgeous!

One of the things I love about this store is the unique and beautiful projects they have on display that use various kinds of yarn. This is one of my favorites...

I love the textures and the colors! It's so pretty! I just might have to try this one...after I finish my vest. Which, by the way, is coming along nicely. :-)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Did It!

A few years ago, I opened up a little fiber arts shop at the local farmer's market. It seemed like a great place. I was selling comes from a farm. It fit into so much of what I believe in and love...a place that was down to earth, natural, creative...real...It's hard to explain. And, the rent was cheap. It seemed like the perfect first step to eventually owning my own yarn shop.

It was so exciting to have my own little store. I did lots of research, opened accounts with vendors, got everything ready, loaded up my SUV on Friday nights, left early on Saturday mornings, set up my shop, did spinning demonstrations, and had lots of fun! However, there were a couple of problems...most of the people that went to the farmer's market were just there for fruit and veggies; I was tucked into a corner, away from where most of the people were shopping; having wool around food vendors didn't work (it could absorb the odors); and rain or hot sun don't work well with wool. Needless to say, my little shop didn't last long.

I've sold beautiful rovings and supplies since then at fiber parties in my home, to friends and people that I meet, and on Ebay. Enough that I've even been able to order more. And, I had every intention of opening a shop on Etsy. In fact, I opened an account quite a while ago but didn't list anything. I wasn't sure about shipping, etc. I let fear get the best of me. Until today! I did it! I finally did it! I listed three items in my Etsy shop. I'm so proud of myself! It may sound silly, I know. But, what can I say?!

If it works out, I think it could be a lot of fun, at the very least. And, I could even make some money...that would be great! I listed three things for now...until I'm sure I have the shipping and other things figured out. If all goes well, I hope to list a lot more very soon. Be sure to stop by and see my shop. The shop name is AcornFiberArts (Acorn to Oak was already taken). Wish me luck! And, let me know what you think.