Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My Gold Medal

Wow, just look at that shiny Gold Medal! I'm so proud! I had so much fun participating in the Knitting Olympics. I really pushed myself, not only did I complete my very first sweater, I designed it and did it all in 16 days! It was a learning experience and a lesson in perseverance. It feels good to accomplish a goal you set for yourself. So thanks to Stephanie, the Yarn Harlot, for her inspirational idea, and for all the competitors, for the support of Team Alaska, and to my parents and non-knitter friends, who kept asking about my progress. The encouragement I got from so many different people was amazing, and I'm sure it's what helped me keep going when my hands started cramping! Ok, that sounds like a corny "acceptance speech", but I really am grateful, and just had a blast.

Now to keep up the knitting momentum. I started a fun seed stitch hat on Sunday after completing my sweater, I really liked it, but couldn't get the decreases to work, so I frogged it and will maybe make another attempt when I can work out the kinks. I have a lot of unfinished projects on the sidebar over there. I need to get back to work on those. Also, my sewing and quilting books came in the mail yesterday. I'm going to have to finish up my quilt and get cracking on the skirt for the Sew-Along. So lots to keep me busy.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Photo Finish!

I finished my Olympic Knitting with a couple hours to spare last night, but for a while there it was looking close! So without further ado, here she is:

Pattern: My own
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver, only 1 and a half skiens!
Needles: US 8
Notes: Ribbing was done on same size needles because I couldn't find my smaller ones and didn't want to loose time going to get some. I think it's worked out, but it would look more polished with smaller gauge for the ribbing.
I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, I like it better with a collared shirt underneath because the back of the collar sticks up a bit. For my first sweater I think it's a success!

Next up: My skirt for the "Sew? I Knit!" Sew-along and finishing the Phildar Sweater!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Twenty-Six (26)

Well, today is my twenty-sixth birthday. I can't believe I'm getting so old. Ok, I know it's not really that old, but I thoroughly enjoyed being 24 and would like to stay that way, thanks very much. As you can see, I've been in denial for a year now, and it just keeps coming. In honor of the occasion, I used TypoGenerator.net to create this collage. It's a fun little tool to play around with and that's what birthday's are for, right? Hopefully there will be lots of playing this weekend. I plan on going to dinner and concert with a big group of friends tonight, then tomorrow maybe some family fun or dancing, and on Sunday we're having a little Alaskan get-together. I'm really excited for Monday, I get to go see Low in concert. My friend is a huge fan and so I've just been introduced to them, but they are really good. I can't wait.

Last night I finished the bottom of the sweater and started the first sleeve. I'm almost done with it so I'm very confident I'll be able to finish the entire thing even before Sunday! I've even been weaving in my ends as I go along. You know, it's funny but I love weaving in ends! I even enjoy seaming sometimes, too bad there's none to really do on this sweater, but there are ends to weave! It's just fun to be able to make them disappear into the sweater. Yes, I'm weird. If all goes well, meaning I can find the time between all the playing to squeeze in a sleeve and a half, I'll have a new sweater to wear on Sunday!

And just for fun:
Your Birthdate: February 24

You understand people well and are a natural born therapist.
A peacemaker, people always seem to get along when you are around.
You tend to be a father or mother figure to friends, even to those older than you.
You enjoy your role, and you find that you are close to many people.

Your strength: Your devotion

Your weakness: Reliance on others for happiness

Your power color: Lilac

Your power symbol: Heart

Your power month: June

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Gold is in reach

So I've made some progress on the body of the sweater. Wow, just plain knitting takes forever! It's hard to tell how much you've done. I have just two more inches until I can start the ribbing. I think I'm going to do about 3 inches of ribbing for a wider waist band. So I believe I'm a little past half done, which is good because the clock is ticking - literally - there's a countdown clock going on over at the Yarn Harlot that makes me nervous every time I look at it. But I think I'm going to make it! I think I'm going to be forced to buy a pair of size 7's or 6's though, I thought I had some, but after searching and searching they are no where to be found. They must have been in my imagination. But I'm not too happy with the neckband ribbing so I'm going to try a smaller needle size for the bottom ribbing, see how it goes and re-knit the neck band if needed.

I finally used a gift certificate to Overstock.com I got for Christmas. I ordered some sewing books. I debated whether to get knitting or sewing books, or even a magazine subscription. In the end decided to go with what looks like a really great sewing book, "The Complete Book of Sewing" and a quilting book, "The Ultimate Quilting Book". The sewing book looks great because it has photos of so many different techniques, plus a lot of the reviews said it was a really great book for both experienced and non-experienced sewers. I think it will be a great reference. I'm excited about the quilt book because half of the book is dedicated to the history of quilts with all the different types. I'm hoping I'll be able to get a lot of inspiration from it as well as some help with the different techniques. It also has full size stitch patterns, which is what I've especially been looking for so I can decide what exactly to use on my "Charm School" quilt. Now comes the fun part of waiting for Mr. Mailman

Monday, February 20, 2006

My Creative Family Tree

I come from some pretty creative stock. I don't get it just from my Mom. I have one grandfather who was an art major in college, became a carpenter, and now, in his free time, makes violins. My other grandfather is also an artist who paints in oils and watercolors and creates stunning stained glass pieces. Both my grandmothers were experienced seamstresses and dabbled in needle crafts as well. One was and still is an excellent knitter, who created gorgeous aran sweaters and suits and even argyle socks.

But going farther back, is Danquart Anthon Weggeland, my third-great-grandfather, who was the first of my family to come to America from Norway. He was a painter and studied in Denmark where he joined the LDS church. He later came to Utah across the plains with the pioneers, and we've mostly stayed in this area since. He is called "The Father of Utah Art" and was very influential to many of the early artists who emerged in Utah. A more in depth bio can be found here and here.

This weekend I was able to see a great exhibit at the Utah Museum of Fine Art called "Revisiting Utah's Past" (link to article), which was showing three of his paintings. I haven't seen everything he's painted, there's no compiled list as of yet, but I keep my eyes and ears open and in the last year have been able to see eight more of his paintings I'd never seen before, making the total I've seen around 12 or 13, one which hangs in our own home. I'm still amazed every time I stand in front of one of his paintings, admiring the skill, the brushstrokes, and just marveling that someone who's blood I share created it. Admiring a work of art is one thing, but admiring a work of art which you're conected to is something else. Especially when you see it hanging in a museum setting. Maybe people who are artists get this same feeling when their own work is displayed (or something like it) but it's strange. I hope to continue to learn about Dan Weggeland and his life, maybe I can be the one to help pull all the pieces together, wether works of art or details of his life.

Title: "Bishop Sam Bennion Farm, Taylorsville" - 1879
Media: Oil On Canvas, Size: 21" x 31 1/8"

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Show 'n Tell

It's Progress Picture Time:
I know progress pictures aren't the most interesting thing ever, but I wanted to show what I was able to finish yesterday on the Hipster sweater. I knit the neck band! It's almost more of a square shape than a scoop, but I like it. The only thing I don't like is how the cast off edge looks, I think it looks sloppy and thick, but for now it's the best I could do. I might do a little more research, or if anyone knows of a way that looks nice, let me know! I forgot to take a picture of it before I put it back on the needles, maybe soon I'll show you what it looks like on.

It snowed about a foot last night and it's supposed to keep snowing for the next 5 days. I'm really hoping we're not in for something like just happened to the East Coast! You know who needes the snow? Torino! Send snow to them! Those poor skiers, having to compete in such bad conditions. I guess it just means more bus knitting time for me! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Lingering Signs

It doesn't seem like it's been 4 years since the Olympics were here in Salt Lake City. There are still lingering signs of the games and the impact they had on the city. This structure is just a block away from my work. I've passed it almost everyday for the past two years, but now it's suddenly bringing memories back. I still can't believe I actually got to be a part of the Olympics, to witness the competition, see a medals ceremony, even just be in the atmosphere. It's amazing! I've been keeping a close tab on them this year, and it's been even more fun to feel like I'm a part of them with the Knitting Olympics.

The sweater is coming along. I'm still pretty confident I'll be able to finish it, I just need to keep pushing myself. I've already separated the sleeves from the body and once it has more to it, I'll take a progress shot. I think in a little bit I'm going to knit on the neck band, just to make sure I like how it looks before getting too far to frog. So maybe tonight I'll get to start on that, but I have some book stuff I need to focus on first.

I'm also still sick, which isn't adding to the fun. Trying to knit while hacking up a lung doesn't work too well. My friend who's a dentist (so I'm not sure there's a lot to trust there) thinks I have walking pneumonia. I've put off going to the doctor because I hate doctors plus I really don't think they'd be able to do much for me without it costing an arm and a leg... But I may cave in soon since I've had it for over a week now. For now, I'm hoping sleep and fluids will help!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Heart Day!

"Take This and Break It"
Letterpress Pressure Print,
2005, edition of 22

This is a print I made last year in my letterpress class. The "(Break It)" is in silver ink, although it's hard to tell in this picture. I'm not normally this casual with my own heart...

Valentine's Day has always been one of my favorite holidays, probably becuase my Mom loves it. She collects hearts and we used to hunt for heart shaped rocks for her. She's got a big collection. I got a wonderful box from her yesterday, full of Valentine goodies. Personally, I think any holiday who's official food is chocolate is O.K. by me!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Knit, Lola, Knit!

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This is a knitting bag I made this weekend. The emroidery design is from an Aunt Martha's iron on transfer called, French Poodle. I think it's perfect for chez Knit, Lola, Knit.

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The bag is white canvas and the lining is a printed knit that reminds me of the Paris Metro.

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For the handles I sewed two pieces of grosgrain ribbon together. The pattern is my own based loosely on the Jordy bag on Craftster. I'm very happy with the results! It's now carying around my Olympic knitting for me, which is progressing very well.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

One of my favorite breakfast/snack foods. It's soft and crunchy in one delicious bite.

*Turn oven on to High Broil setting.
*In a small bowl mix 3 tbls butter, 3 tbls sugar and cinnamon to taste together until blended well.

*Spread on slice of bread.

*Place on cookie sheet and broil for 2 min. until bubbling or until desired brown-ness is achieved.
*Let cool for a minute.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Needed Distractions

Last night I just couldn't take the anticipation of casting on my Hipster sweater so in an effort to distract myself, I went through my stash of fabric and patterns to pick out what I want to do for the Sew? I Knit! sew-along. I've narrowed it down to two patterns and will probably do both at some point anyway so it doesn't really matter which I do first. So my choices are Simplicity 5503 in dark med. weight denim (one of the bottom views):
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or New Look 6149 in a light weight khaki twill:
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I'm excited about both, but I'll probably end up doing the denim one because I'm not sure I have *quite* enough fabric for the New Look one. I can't remember what pattern I had in mind when I bought the light khaki fabric.

I also started working on a future knitting bag that I can't wait to finish. For now it's going to be a secret, but I'll tell you it involves embroidery and my blog! I think I'm going to finish that today at lunch and start on the sweater tonight while watching the opening ceremonies. I was going to start the sweater at lunch, but that's still an hour earlier than the "2pm your time" thing Stephanie put up on her blog. Plus, as much as people might think the opposite, I really hate starting a project without *trying* to finish the one I'm currently working on. But after tonight it's nothing but Sweater knitting until the 26th! Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Look who I found!

I'm joining Team Alaska for the Knitting Olympics! I know, I'm not in Alaska anymore, but as they say "you can take the girl out of Alaska but you can't take Alaska out of the girl", right? Well it's something like that. Besides, no one's started Team Utah. I don't think people in Utah even know about the Knitting Olympics, other than the people I've told and they just look at me weird. It's ok, I'm used to it. I thought about joining Team Knitting in Public too, because I'll be doing a lot of that, but Alaska has my allegiance!

In other randomness, I think I've got my pattern all planned out. I'm a little worried about the increases for the scoop neck, but I guess I'll just have to do it and see how it looks. I think I'm going to call this my Red Hot Hipster Sweater. It's red, hopefully it'll be hott and it's going to be a hipster/tunic length, so there you go. Oh, goodness, I hope I'm not setting myself up for disaster! I'm getting nervous!

Also, in anticipation for V-Day next week (no, not that V-Day, Valentines...) Martha Stewart of course always has the cutest ideas. How easy and sweet are these?

Now, if only I had the time, or someone to make them for! I certainly have all the supplies, so maybe I'll find the time. Who wouldn't love one?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Training and Prep

The Olympic training and preparations have started! Wanna see?:

Here is my gauge swatch for the sweater I'll be doing. Specs: I'm going cheap here and using 100% acrylic Red Heart, but I have no money to be spending on expensive yarn, however much I want it, so I'm hoping it will soften up with washing. I'll be sending this swatch through the wash tonight so I'll have to report back the results. It's a deep red color, pretty close to the picture. Needles: size US 8 for body and US 6 or 7 for ribbing (probably 7 because it's already really tight with the 8's but my gauge is spot on).

Ok, I'm starting to stress out. Not only is this *hopefully* going to be my first completed sweater, but it's also my first time designing a garment. I have some things to help me, but since I only have 16 days, I'm trying to really plan it out in advance. I really want to start knitting already. The suspense if it's all going to work out is killing me!

Here's a sketch of what I'm thinking so far. I've been doodling and figuring on a bunch of different scraps of paper, but this gives an idea of the overall look I'm going for.

I might be re-thinking the sleeves. Since we're quickly moving into spring I'm probably going to make them just above the elbow. But I want this sweater to fit like some of my favorite shirts, fitted in the bust, then straight from there down to the hip so it's looser around the tummy area. It's going to have a very low scoop neck and I hope it will look cute over a collared shirt. I'm planning on top-down raglan but wondered if it's easier to do a scoop neck on a raglan from the bottom up? Anyone know?

I worked all the needle issues out, so if I'm not quite finished with Clappy before Fri. it's not the end of the world, but she's coming along, growing at a steady rate.

In other news, I got sick over the weekend and am now battling a cold. Hopefully it won't interrupt the knitting. Wish me luck! I think I'm going to be in for one heck of a ride!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Playing Catch-Up

I've been working on Clapotis whenever I get a chance over the last few days, mostly on the bus and at lunch, when I have large blocks of uninterupted time. It's coming along and I just joined my second ball of yarn! I wish I were a faster knitter sometimes, then I might be able to actually finish a project at some point. But I'm rededicating myself to finishing this because I'm determined to get some wear out of it before winter is over, which acording to Mr. Groundhog yesterday, should be another 6 weeks, yikes! Plus, I'll need these needles to do the scoop neck sweater I'm planning for the Knitting Olympics! So that gives me until Feb. 10th! Gah! That seems close. These photos were taken with my camera phone, so I appologize for their overall crappiness (I really did try to fix them...).

Isn't this just the coolest pattern? It's so simple and yet so complex. My needles are driving me insane. They will not un-curl themselves. I've already tried the hot water thing, and I thought if I just kept knitting with them, at some point they would eventually straighten out, but it's not happening. I think they're curling more, of late, if that's even possible. The yarn is a dream to knit with tthough. So soft and squishy! I can tell I'm going to love this scarf.

Since progress shots of my Clappotis aren't all that interesting (espcially since it hasn't grown much since the last shots), I'm going to do a "meme" here. This one's been going around for a while, and a few people said to do it if you want, rather than passing it on specifically.

4 Things Meme:

4 jobs you have had in your life:
* Singer/Entertainer/Manager at a Chocolate Factory. Best. Job. Ever. (read: free chocolate)
* Safety Librarian
* Sales rep at J.Crew
* Book Conservator

4 movies you could watch over & over:
* A&E Pride and Prejudice
* Sense & Sensibility or Emma - really anything Jane Austen...
* National Treasure
* Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

4 places you have lived:
* Anchorage, Alaska
* London, England
* Kingwood, Texas
* Bakersfield, California

4 TV shows you love to watch:
* The Office
* Scrubs
* Friends

4 places you have been on vacation:
* Orlando, Florida
* Paris, France
* San Phillipe, Mexico
* Las Vegas, Nevada

4 websites you visit daily:
* Bloglines
* Hotmail
* Paper Source (well almost)
* The Book Arts Web

4 of your favorite foods:
* Chocolate, or anything with sugar
* Potatoes
* Halibut
* My Mom's Cheescake

4 places you would rather be right now:
* Boston, MA
* My craft room at home
* London, England
* Home with my Mom

4 bloggers you are tagging:
None because I'm probably the last person in blogland to do it!

Also, I seemed to have missed National De-Lurking week. So, since I LOOOVE comments, I'm asking you all to pretend you didn't miss it either and leave a comment! I'd really love to know who reads my blog! Please say "Hi!", really I don't bite!