Sunday, December 30, 2007

2008 To-do's

I can't believe that 2007 is almost over... I don't do 'resolutions' but there are a few things that are top of my list for 2008.

1. Get a dog. Working on that one now and hoping to adopt Charlie... all prayers and crossed fingers are welcome! If not Charlie, there will be another 4-legged friend to adopt soon.

2. Join the 365 Days Challenge on Flickr. I'm hoping that a soon-to-be-new camera will help with this, and the challenge will motivate me to learn how to use all the features of it.

3. Get my new studio room in order and start using it. I haven't decided any personal goals for 'creating' but I finally have a space to dedicate and want to use it.

These are all for me... and I'm sure there will be other themes, but for tonight as the New Year approaches, those are what I want to document for myself and my own accountability.

Can't wait to get started!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Another Melly Bag

I made another version of Sharon's Melly bag but experimented with contrasting colors... I love the way it turned out! L was enthralled with my felted bags when she was visiting so I decided to make one for her - unfortunately not done while she was here so it's en route to Romania now. I know she'll love it - in all her USA shopping, she bought mostly brown and green.

This one was made with Paton's Classic Wool Merino (doubled) so it smaller than the 'original' but it's still a good size. The Paton's felted really well (one cycle thru the wash) except the cream didn't felt as much as the other colors. I've heard that sometimes white doesn't felt in some yarns - anyone know why??

Christmas knitting is almost done (I'm a bit slow on posting!)...

A goal for 2008 is for better and more frequent blogging... working on some ideas for that now.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lovin' the Bags!!!

Here's a collection of a few recent bags... I've really enjoyed felting bags, but how many can one make?? We'll see... I've just cast on another one!

The top bag is the Ali Bag from She Knits - a great pattern and design by Sharon Dreifuss. I love the color combination and never would have thought to braid and felt the I-cords for the 'belt.'

The small purple bag is the Melly bag, also from She Knits and was a gift for a Christmas swap. I deviated from the pattern by making the cable design purple and really like the way it turned out. I think this is my favorite of Sharon's designs. I can't remember the yarn - I think it was Paton's Classic Wool which was a much lighter weight than the actual pattern (used Lamb's Pride Burly Spun) so I kept the stitch pattern the same and had a small, cute bag from it.

The black, gray, red & white was a birthday gift for E. I hope she liked it!! The bands at the top and the shoulder strap style were copied from the Ali bag... the rest I just made up as I went. It was made from Knit Picks' Wool-of-the-Andes.

I suspect there are many more bags in the future... who would have thought that "ruining" good knitting could be so much fun!!

In the meantime, a few non-felted Christmas gifts to finish...

Happy Knitting!
- JavaNut

Friday, December 14, 2007

Baby FOs

I've had a few items languishing at the 'almost done' for a while
and finally got motivated to complete them! Good thing... lots of baby boys joining the world over the next several weeks!

This poor little set has been short one bootie for a while and I finally got the other skein to make its mate. It's the cable hat/bootie set from babyknits Hats & Booties: 15 sets for Noggins and Tootsies

And then there's the 'teeny-tiny' baby sweater which is from my favorite book of baby patterns - Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Cherished Babies. This one is made from Rowan's All Seasons Cotton.

Now it's off to start swatching... twin baby boys due to arrive soon. I'm thrilled for the expecting couple, but I really wish they were having girls. I love the baby boys, but girls' sweaters are so much more fun to knit!!!

In the meantime... countdown for finishing all that Christmas knitting!

- Happy Knitting

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A few FOs...

I've been working hard on some Christmas Knitting...
Two pairs of Fetchings for coworkers. I never saw much use for fingerless mitts (living in California might have something to do with that!), but recently our team's admin at work was commenting on cold hands and how hard it was to type. She even mentioned bringing in old gloves and cutting off the fingers! So... that made for an easy project.

I used Malabrigo for the first time... WOW! my new favorite yarn! I liked it so much I got another skein to make another pair for a coworker who has circulation problems and her fingers often turn white when it's cold. She has long, thin hands so the brown pair is slightly elongated.

And finally... my second Clapotis. I never posted my first one... the yarn was a beautiful bamboo in different purples. The drape was amazing, but too 'drapey' for the pattern. This is with a lace weight merino. If I were to make Clapotis again I would use fingering, but the lace weight absolutely worked. This was given to one of my Romanian visitors - I hope she likes it!

Happy Knitting!
- JavaNut

New Sights...

It's been so long since a post... not for lack of knitting or other creative endeavors, but I loaned my camera to my visiting house guests and haven't had a chance to 'borrow' it back to take pictures of my projects... not that I've had much time for knitting in the past few weeks!

L & C are visiting from Romania. I've been trying to get L here for a visit for 3 years now... she just finished her first year of medical residency and it was a happy surprise that she was able to get a visa. C is here on her first vacation in seven years. She's had a difficult summer so this trip was a much needed respite. They're here for a month and it's truly been an experience of a lifetime for them.

We've been taking them all over the Bay area, introduced them to every ethnic food they could imagine (and then some!) and everything else we can think of... Here are a few pics from our recent adventures. It's been fabulous weather for November/December!!

Santa Cruz & L at Monterey... I love living here!

Lisa, C, me & L at Mt Tamalpais
Lisa, C, Vio & L from the top of Mt. Tam's East peak

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

One Baby Sweater done...

I've been making progress on my long list of baby gifts and recently learned that two more friends are expecting so the list is growing!!

The silver lining of a bad cold/flu this past week is that I got significantly more knitting time in that I normally would... completed this Placket-Neck Pullover (from Last Minute Knitted Gifts) and have some seaming and ribbing left on another baby cardigan.

I used Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere - wonderfully soft, but I had challenges with ladders from the dpns. Wool is so much more forgiving! But it's soft, and I used just a bit over 2 balls so it has good yardage.

Now hopefully I'll get to knit for a couple of girls...

Happy Knitting!
- JavaNut

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A wonderfully busy weekend

I spent last weekend with 3 friends outside of London, Ontario at a glorious house in the woods... it was the most relaxing weekend I've had in a while - good friends, good food, good wine, a great day at a spa. And plenty of knitting time.

I made the Everlasting Bagstopper from (using KnitPicks' CotLin) but instead of sewing ribbon handles on, I made I-Cord handles. It was a very easy knit, but because the pattern 'shifts' the handles aren't aligned very well when the bag is empty. This will be great for produce from the Farmer's Market! It was originally for a swap partner, but I think will be a stocking stuffer instead...

And for one of the many baby boys soon-to-be-born, I've got most of a cardigan done (from Erika Knight cherished babies book).

AND I also completed a scarf - it's blocking and still damp but will be mailed back to our 'host' for the weekend as soon as it dries!

Happy Knitting
- JavaNut

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

One bag, two bags...

Well - it's one of two bags! I've been working on two WONDERFUL bags from She-Knits but the second one will have to be for another posting. There's some finishing to be done and then the magical felting...

I was able to complete the Melly Bag before I left town for a work conference and I absolutely love it. I'm as happy with it as I was when Sharon first published the pattern in her Etsy shop. And it's an addictively quick-knit - made primarily with Brown Sheep's Burly Spun on size 13 & 15 needles. Addictively quick!! The yarn seemed a bit pricey, but it's worth it for the bulk and such a comfortable yarn to use.

Here's the finished bag (there's also an interior pocket).

It's slightly over-felted (I got distracted when I put it in for the second cycle) & the pocket got slightly 'wonky' during felting so it's not exactly straight anymore (I was able to stretch it back 'mostly' to proper shape).

I was disappointed that I didn't get them both done, but now I have something to look forward to when I get home.

Happy Knitting!

- JavaNut

Monday, October 15, 2007

It was calling my name...

Despite numerous projects on my needles, I needed to cast-on something that didn't require focused attention (how did I end up working on 3 lace shawls at the same time????)! I had a kit for a bag I've loved since I first saw it from She-Knits and although I intended to save my 'knitting-for-me' until later... yeah, right. who am I fooling?

I knew it would be a fun and relatively easy knit, but who knew it would be so addictive? All that's left is the panel for an inner pocket, a little seaming and some hot water! Sadly it will probably be the weekend before I'll be knitting again. I hate it when the day job creeps into the evenings.
Happy Knitting!
- JavaNut

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Miters are Bagged!

Whoo hoo! Finally finished the Mitered Bag from Bags, A Knitters Dozen... As I feared, despite 3x thru the wash (and a wonderful felted fabric resulted!), it's still much larger than I'd planned/hoped. But I still like it and perhaps it will be a bag for larger projects instead of the intended purse!
I modified the pattern a bit. I hate seaming & weaving in ends so this was much better and I liked the changes... the only design changes are that the stripes on the gusset blend into the stripes of the mitered squares which I like A LOT better than random striping up the side. I also made a single shoulder strap instead of two side handles.

Therefore instead of eleven pieces (and tons of ends), I had only FOUR pieces.

Pattern: eight squares, gusset, two handles

Mine: two 'upper' pairs of squares with gusset between them, 2 bottom corner pair of squares with side/bottom gusset and I knit the shoulder strap from live gusset stiches.

I love the way the gusset continues the stripes around the sides and bottom of the bag!

Also, I used Lion Brand wool - took significantly more yardage than the pattern called for (duh!). I had to get a second ball of the dark brown and light blue (although didn't use too much of them). Some leftovers of the light brown and white and I used the dark blue until it was gone.

Now that the bag is behind me I've started the Secret of the Stole. The 2nd chart was released today, but I still have about 15 rows of the first one. Not too far behind, but we'll see how well I can keep up! I love the Zephyr yarn and the beads are a perfect complement, but I wish they were bigger. I thought the dainty beads would be nice, but they get lost. Oh well - next time I'll select better! (as all lace - so ugly before it's blocked!)

TGIF & Happy Knitting!

- JavaNut

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Miters without end

Still working on the Mitered Bag... it seems to be without end! My hope for this weekend's knitting was to finish the bag and another project in order to clear the decks for the Secret of the Stole and another lace scarf I want to make.

BUT... this bag is HUGE! I didn't check the gauge when I bought the yarn. It was all about the colors (of course), and it's not like a bag has a fitted shape. When the yardage was off and I had to buy more yarn I should have clued in... but honestly, it wasn't until I sewed the four pieces together that I realized just how big this thing is.

I wish I'd made the top border wider, but hopefully that will become a compact edge once its felted. The whole bag is in garter
stitch - I haven't felted garter stitch before so this will be an experiment. I REALLY hope it shrinks up as much... both for the texture of the bag and to make the size more appropriate. Right now it's 24" wide when it's flat!
But I love the colors and the miters, so if it's too big for the intended recipient, I'll certainly enjoy it. There's no such thing as too many bags!
Hard to believe the weekend is over and getting ready for another full week at work...
But for the moms out there - here's a great laugh with Anita Renfroe!
Happy Knitting
- JavaNut

Monday, October 1, 2007

Monday Morning Progress...

Sadly I was waiting for some 11th hour work from a contractor and which became 24th hour delivery... so was up until 12:30 last night. I try to limit the amount of work and work related email time I spend over the weekend, but this was unavoidable.

The silver lining was that I made some good progress on a bag while I was waiting (and caught up on some TiVo watching, too!). The Bag is the Mitered Squares bag from Bag Style.

And last week I also finished the booties for the "Green Fizz" baby set. They're done with Cashsoft DK and are super soft and very stretchy. A baby will be able to wear that hat for LONG time!

These were done with the Grape Fizz pattern from babyknits Hats & Booties: 15 Sets for Noggins & Tootsies.

And for non-knitting, I'm starting the re-decorating process for my guest bedroom. It's a completely empty room now and I have my plan-for-the-plan. Now I just need the time!!
I am going to make the duvet cover with the swirly print as a center panel and the chocolate brown on the sides/back. The other print fabric will be for a valance and possibly a pillow or two. The next crucial step is paint... (and those are only some of the color samples). One wall will be chocolate brown (matched to the brown fabric), and the other 3 will be blue. That's the hard one... I was hoping for something to match the blue in the fabric, but was going to get only half the pigment in the paint to keep it lighter. But I'm having a hard time getting it right, so I will probably just get the blue paint matched to the fabric as well. If it's too dark/bright, I'll just put a white glaze over it or something.

I can't wait to get the painting done - hopefully this weekend. And since the room is empty, I'm going to go ahead and replace the base board and add crown moulding.
This weekend I also got my pal for the Christmas Around the World Swap. This is my first so I've been slow to get into creative planning for the swap, but now that I know my recipient I can't wait to plan a fun package!
Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Purple Stripey Hat & Booties...

One down... unfortunately these are too girly for my friends' babies pending arrivals, but finally did the dumb chain stitch ties to finish off this set. Plus, these are really 12 month size, not for a newborn. But I love the colors and it was all a pretty quick knit (unless you put off the ties for weeks!)

Happy Knitting!
- JavaNut

Monday, September 24, 2007

Some partly FO's

The Holiday KAL-CAL and the Stash and Burn One-Skein contest is motivating me to finish a few things - that and pending baby births! But I seem to have a new version of 'Second Sock Syndrome'...

I've completed 3 baby hats but can't get myself to finish the matching booties!
- Puple Stripey just needs some ties made
- Blue Cables has one bootie done
- Green Fizz has one bootie - needs it's mate & ties

I'll post pics when I get it all done (whatever motivation I can find!).

Last night I had a few hours of happy knitting time. It would have been the perfect opportunity to finish them all, right? Right! Did I? of course not... instead ripped out the start of a Mitered Bag and re-knit with different colors.

But have requests from Ravelry to use the baby hats as the featured photos - so better get the booties done quick!

Happy Knitting...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Ouch! and I mean OUCH!!

My finger and my car door had a minor altercation on Sunday. Sadly, my finger lost.

Three days later, it's looking pretty nasty. Medical advice: soak in warm water with epsom salts. It's helped with the swelling, but certainly won't help the nail.

At least it was my left hand... but knitting is slow going (and left-hand typing is crippled).

Sloo-w-l-y Knitting...

Monday, September 17, 2007


Despite the many WIPs I have at the moment (7 at last count - high for me), I am most excited about the upcoming Secret of the Stole. Nautical Knitter has sent out a swatch pattern to test yarns/needle sizes and the Yahoo group discussion is raging over colors, weights and beads.

I decided to go with Jaggerspun Zephyr (50/50 wool & silk) in Steel. It's a bit darker than I expected, but I think it will be lovely. I got 3 different beads to try - and my favorite is a black-lined crystal, but they might be too small. I've never been a great one for swatching... with shawls and baby items the size just isn't that important (babies grow quickly!). But I've swatched the SOS (even with an extra pattern repeat) and am considering another swatch to see how the beads look!

We were so in gauge
In our test swatch days
We were cool on craze
When i, you, and everyone we knew
Could believe, do, get gauge that will be true

Embarrassing to admit what's been going thru my head as I post this!! Not to mention the decade this reveals - ugh!

Anxiously awaiting the SOS clue on Oct 5th...
Happy Knitting!
- JavaNut

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Introducing my 'Jaywalker Bag'...

I finally got some photos of my completed Jaywalker Bag! After the disappointment at the original Landscape Bag pattern, I reworked the stitch pattern of Grumperina's famous Jaywalker socks for the scale of the bag. I must say I'm quite pleased with the results!!
See pre-felting and then the finished bag...

I love the way the stitch pattern made the peaks & valleys along the top hem, but even more so with the shape of the bottom. I know it won't keep the shape when filled with goodies, but it was a fun surprise when I took it out of the washer!

For those fortunate enough to have a Ravelry account, the explanation of the recalculated stitch pattern is in the comments of my Jaywalker Bag project.

Today I was able to make some progress on my Embossed Stitch socks (from More Sensational Knitted Socks) while enjoying a wonderful outdoor concert performance by the SF Opera. A great picnic with friends and surprisinly warm weather for the city!

New on my needles are some baby hats & booties from, well, babyknits Hats & booties... I foresee a season of baby showers ahead!
Happy Knitting -

Monday, September 3, 2007

Another blogger's contest

Noodleknit is having a contest! Go to her blog and leave a comment as to what makes you an obsessive knitter to enter. Winner gets to pick from yarn choices...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Christmas Questions...

I'm so excited to be in my first knitting swap. In previous craft-lives I did many card/stamping swaps and always loved getting the return cards... this is WAAAAY better. Knitting & Christmas. Can't beat that!!

So here are my answers for the Christmas-Around-the-World 2007 Swap questionaire:

1. Are you religious?
Yes. I am a Christian and my faith is very important to me.

2. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider yourself a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced?
My grandmother taught me to cast on and knit when I was about 8 (30 years ago) and I self-taught myself the rest all through high school and college. After a 'hiatus' of many years, I started knitting again about 6 years ago and can't stop. Sadly, after an 18 month battle with tendonitis, I do have to pace myself and limit how much I knit at a time. I consider myself Intermediate.

3. Do you have any other hobbies besides knitting?
Crafty hobbies include quilting, altered books/collage (beginner!), card making & other paper crafts. I love traveling (for work and fun).

4. Favorite color(s)?
Purples, blues, greens. I also love earthy/mediterranean colors and neutrals. Not a fan of orange/yellow.

5. Do you collect anything?
Yarn & fabric, of course! Can't think of anything else - I have a few Willow Tree angels & Nativity set, but not really a collection.

6. Are you allergic to any fibers or animals?
I'm allergic to cats, but fortunately not to any fibers

7. Do you have any pets?
No, but I'm hoping to get a couple of dogs later in the fall. I've wanted to for years and finally have a job that doesn't require a lot of travel.

8. Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?
With the moniker of JavaNut, what else but coffee!! I do try to limit myself to decaf though, but a vanilla latte or peppermint mocha is my favorite pick-me-up treat.

9. Cookies or Sweets?
Sweets, but trying to limit myself. I spent 18 months in Louisiana and my body did not appreciate the Southern cuisine - or appreciated it too much!

10. Do you knit socks?
Yes! I'm a recent convert to sock knitting and am looking forward to cooler weather to actually start wearing them! Update: am putting my socks on hold until I can focus more on sizing... the socks that I was so excited about have stretched more than I expected and are too loose. Very disappointing...

11. If not socks then what? (tell us about your favorite knits)
I've knit tons of baby sweaters (no kids of my own) and have started knitting some shawls/stoles. I like rectangular or stole-like shawls better - I just don't know anyone who would wear a triangular shawl which takes away some of the appeal.

12. Do you put up a Christmas tree? If not then what do you do?
I used to... and am planning to this year. As I mentioned before, I used to travel a lot for work which meant a lot of work to decorate (I REALLY like to decorate for Christmas) and never home to enjoy it. And I go to Florida to spend the holiday with my parents, so I always have my mother's tree to enjoy (I think it belongs in Better Homes & Gardens!).

13. Favorite holiday treats?
Peppermint Mochas

14. Favorite holiday smells?
Mulled cider, Christmas trees, gingerbread

15. Do you celebrate Christmas in a traditional or unconventional way? Please elaborate.
Pretty traditional, although it's not that big a celebration anymore. I'm an only child and don't have a family of my own, so the celebration is with my mother, my step-father and my grandmother. As they age (I, of course, am still 29!), we tend to do less and less.

16. What are your favorite holiday traditions?
We celebrate Christmas (i.e. exchange gifts) on Christmas Eve. Instead of a big meal, we have lots of appetizers, and then later in the evening a bowl of homemade beef vegetable soup. And I love listening to holiday music.

17. Finish the sentence: “For me Christmas is all about....”
Focusing on what matters... reflecting on the Christmas story and spending time with family and friends

18. If you were a Christmas ornament you would be…….?
A strand of white lights - they don't stand out, but make everything look better. I'm not an 'out -front' kind of person, but am reliable and love making sure others are able to do their best.

19. What was your favorite gift you've ever received? Or given?
One favorite gift that I've given was a plane ticket to a friend so she could see her sister who was undergoing chemo treatment. I love giving/receiving anything hand made.

20. When do you start your Christmas?
Hmmm... not sure how to answer this one. I usually travel to visit my family the Saturday before Christmas, but I think I'm ready for the Christmas season just after Thanksgiving.

21. Do you send Christmas cards? Do you make them or buy them?
I LOVE Christmas cards and used to make them every year. I still think about making them every year, but it hasn't happened the last couple of years. I'd like to get back to making them again this year.

22. What is your favorite Christmas dish?
Although I love all things sweet, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the above mentioned soup! My family does have a traditional dessert called Gumdrop Cake. I hate to use the comparison, but it's like a fruitcake made with cut-up gumdrops in a spice cake (more like a bread than a cake). There are many friends who would be quite disappointed if they didn't get their annual Gumdrop cake!

23. Carolers are at your door. What do you do?
Join the singing!

24. When do you open presents? Christmas eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas Eve

25. Do you celebrate with family or friends or both?

Thanks to everyone participating in this swap - I'm looking forward to reading everyone's answers and can't wait to get my partner!!

Happy Knitting & Merry Christmas!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Amazing blogs for creativity!!

There are some amazingly creative people out there! My favorite blogs tend to focus on knitting projects, but in the process of reading, linking, surfing... I am equally enamored of some great general craft sites and I offer them to you... Enjoy!!

CRAFT Magazine's blog
CraftyPod - blog and podcast
Etsy Labs
IKEA Hacker - just like it sounds!
My Half of the Brain - lots & lots of tutorials
Not Martha
Whip Up - handcraft in a hectic world

And if you haven't tried - I highly recommend it! Set it up to pull in the updates from all your favorite blogs and have one place to check for new posts!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's another Mystery!

And this time it's called Secret of the Stole! I signed up as soon as I heard about it on Lime 'n Violet's Daily Chum and I can't wait!! Actually, I'm glad it doesn't start until October - too many things to finish first, but the host has given out the supply list and a small chart to swatch.

I'm going to use this project as an excuse to purchase a cone of Zephyr wool/silk. I've had it on my wishlist for a while and even ordered a color card. Now to just choose the color. YAY!

In the meantime, I'm about to block the Siren's Shawl. I still love the color and didn't need the extra ball of Cashsoft. 3 balls had the yardage the pattern called for, but I was concerned that the the different gauge would make the shawl too short. The softness and pretty pale green of the extra ball will be great for a baby hat or maybe booties. So soft...

Pics soon...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

She-Knits for Purse Ideas!

One of my favorite podcasters, Sharon of She-Knits, is having a fun contest. Sharon's been great at keeping her listeners aware of different contests in knitting blogland, and now she's hosting one herself.

She's asked for suggestions of bags/shapes that we'd like to see in a felted bag. I love the shape of this bag on eBags.

If you have other suggestions, send them to Sharon.

In the meantime, on the bag front, I have completely frogged the Landscape purse back to the starting blue hem/edge. Although I still love the design, it was so incredibly 'fiddly' to knit I hated the knitting (and bent 3 dpns trying to loosen stitches to get the colors to line up correctly). Current plan is to knit the same approximate size & shape, but use a modified Jaywalkers' stitch pattern.

Happy Knitting!
- JavaNut

The Bees are waiting... and waiting

... and waiting.

I couldn't resist the Bee Fields shawl. Even though I already started another large, lace, triangle shawl (Lily of the Valley) a long time ago, I had to get the Bees. I've only knit one border edge and it's been languishing in one of my knitting bags waiting for me to find someone to check my chart-to-text translation. I know many people prefer reading charts, but I hate them (it's nice to have the visual for the pattern tho'). I find I have to constantly count the squares for stitches and that drives me crazy...

And since I was in such great company, it took several weeks to get my order with Anne's pattern and the Willy Wonka fibers... and what a pattern!! I've never seen such details!

And then I joined the Bee Fields KAL and have seen all the wonderful posts and photos of cast ons, WIPs and so many finished shawls! BUT... I must finish the Siren's Shawl first for a gift (timely). Unfortunately my knitting pace has caused some wrist pain and I've got to take a break. Ever since a long bout with tendonitis, I have to be careful with how much time I spend with the needles (and the keyboard!) and it's caught up with me.

So tonight, I had to satisfy myself with winding my Bee Fields yarn... Isn't it pretty??? And the progress of Siren's Shawl. I don't know if the 3 balls will be enough (the right yardage, but different weight). I'll block it and if it's not long enough, I'll start the extra ball I found (just in case!).

I think it's going to be even nicer once it's blocked! The Cashsoft had knit up so soft and goopy... I hope the recipient enjoys it as much as I do (I think she will!).

Happy Knitting!
- JavaNut

Friday, August 17, 2007

Christmas Swap...

There are 15 spots left in the Christmas Around the World Swap... it's going to be fun!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Golden Purl's got a Contest

Golden Purl has posted a fun contest to celebrate her 6-month-blogiversary. As a new blogger, I think it's a great idea and definitely something I'll think about when I get to that milestone!

Some great prized and a creative contest about dates... check it out and tell her I sent you (for an additional entry for me!)

Now I have to start thinking creatively for a contest idea...

Creative Pursuits...

I found this on BingeKnitter (she's after me in the Knitting Blogs ring) who found it from Grumperina, but originated from Bella Knitting... and thought it was a fun idea.

4. Love it! This is my thing:
Knitting, Altered books, quilting

3. I do or have dabbled in it:
Beading, photography, home decor, card making, scrapbooking, stamping

2. Would love to try it:
Yarn dyeing, cooking, ATC, cake decorating, mixed media collage, book making, soldering

1. I have no interest; complete lack of creativity in this area:
Spinning, painting, drawing, gardening, flower arranging, paper making

Tag, you're it!
- JavaNut

Friday, August 10, 2007

Siren's Shawl...

I wanted to find a lacy, but warm, and most importantly - quick!, shawl to make. After searching through my binders and books, I randomly grabbed a copy of Knit Simple (Spring/Summer '07) and immediately opened to this pattern for Siren's Shawl. Perfect!

I cast on with Cashsoft 4ply and am praying that 3 balls is enough. The yardage is sufficient, but it's a different gauge. I would have bought a 4th for insurance, but there were only 3 in stock at my LYS. Fingers crossed!

It is a wonderfully simple pattern. 9-stitch, 4 row repeat. And every other row is straight purl. And of the pattern rows, they are the same stitch pattern, just off-set by one stitch. ONE STITCH PATTERN to remember... that's all!! It had the potential of being a quick knit. HAD the potential.

For whatever reason, I can't seem to keep it straight and for every 4-6 rows, I end up frogging a couple. I am so annoyed with myself, but at this point, I still like the pattern. Really. Even if by the time I finish I will have knit 2x as many stitches as there are in the shawl! Really...

Good thing I really like the feel of Cashsoft - I'm going to be feeling a lot of it before this is completed and the Siren's call will be answered!

Keepin' on -

Monday, August 6, 2007

Decisions, Decisions...

What to work on???

I'm battling the call of Icarus (and in all honesty, really want to have a picture to post here!) ...

The new socks I've just cast on - they will be embossed stich from More Sensational Socks, but haven't even finished the ribbing on the first cuff.

Finishing existing stocks (Jaywalkers, Monkey, Widdershins)

Re-starting the Landscape purse - which I frogged back to the hemmed edge. I love the pattern on the bag, but frankly it's so incredibly, annoyingly fiddly to work to get the colors to line up the way they are supposed to to get the right design. So I frogged. I hate that. But I hated the knitting process for the Landscape bag more. I'm thinking of knitting it without worrying about the color patterns and perhaps do it in Jaywalker stitch pattern... So now I'm anxious to test that for appearance.

And now I'm also wondering if I could possibly get 2 lace shawls knit within 6 weeks for gifts. They don't need me at work, do they?

Monday, July 30, 2007

I'm Ravelrized!

Woo-hoo - was ever-so-patiently waiting for my Ravelry invite (ok - not so patiently), when I saw a posting on the Lime 'n Violet Message Board about how you can check your place in the queue. To my delight, I had been sent an invite FIVE WEEKS AGO, which was apparently filtered to spam. The brilliant Casey & Jess built the feature to automatically resend the invite and I will start adding my 'stuff' soon. It's daunting to think about entering all the info (vague recollection of uploading all my CDs for iTunes!), but it will be such fun to be part of the exponentially growing community that is Ravelry!!

While waiting I did finish the 'experiment bag' and have cast on the Landscape bag from KnitPicks. I still like the bag, but have found the pattern to be very 'fiddly' and quite annoying. The design requires constantly tightening and loosening stitches to make sure the color changes at the right spot. on. every. row. I will definitely NOT make this bag again!

And I completed some finishing... for some reason I delay my toes (love the Kitchener grafting though!) until I have several pairs.
Below L-to-R: Cobblestone, Lacy Rib from Sensational Socks, misplace cable pattern, and Cookie A's Monkey socks.

They look good on my long-limbed model, don't they?!

Happy Knitting -

Monday, July 23, 2007

Creative Storage Solution!

I've been thinking about a design for a circular needle case for a while... just haven't gotten around to actually making it. What I want is a cross between the 'notebook' style of the KnitPicks binders (not very pretty), and the plentiful handsewn cases in various Etsy shops (or from my own sewing machine).

I discovered that the clear plastic sleeves for DVDs are a great size... I was just working out how to turn that into my ideal circ case.

Then I was at my local Staples and found this... an 'expandable file' for CDs/DVDs with an elastic closure. And only $3.99! What a bargain! I think I may have to go get a second one... perhaps a third!

And it comes with stickers to put on the little file folder-style tabs - perfect to label size and length for each pocket!

I love repurposing things - what a bargain!
- JavaNut

Friday, July 20, 2007

Baggin' It!

I'm obsessed. Once I decided to join the Purse/Bag KALCAL and didn't, I've been determined to make a bag.

I bought yarn, but didn't know what kind of bag.

I found the French Market Bag on knitty that I love, but the yarn I bought wasn't the right gauge/weight. And since I've only felted one Booga Bag before, I didn't want to just wing it.

I ordered the Landscape bag pattern and yarn from KnitPicks. I'm impatiently waiting for it to show up.

I'm too impatient - so I'm back to winging it with my original yarn purchase. No pattern in mind, but I do plan to mimic the handles of the French Market Bag... So bag in progress, and a gratuitious photo of the Ladder Shawl I made for my grandmother. Not the best photo, but I love the way the colors and textures worked together (it doesn't have the gray-ish cast of the photo - much more lavender tones with pinks and dusty blues).

I hope I'll have the experiment bag by the time my KnitPicks' order shows up. And then to experiment for a laptop case... and then...

Happy Knitting!
- JavaNut

Saturday, July 14, 2007

SouthBay LYSs- oh so many!

Those of us living in the Bay Area are so lucky to have many LYS around... Some I frequent a lot, some I've only been to once or twice, but here's my listing. And this is only in the South Bay... there are more in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and on up the peninsula!

368 E Campbell Ave,
Campbell, CA

As the name indicates, focus on sustainable materials and eco-friendly yarns. Friendly and helpful owner & staff, and they carry one of my new favorites from a mill in Michigan called Shepherd's Wool. Right in the heart of the quaint downtown area in Campbell

Commuknity & the store blog => CLOSED
1345 The Alameda
San Jose

Commuknity (this is my FAVORITE store name!) is a very spacious store with a wide range of yarns (luxury to medium/affordable). The staff is very pleasant and helpful, comfy sofas, some workshops & classes. Sign up for the their e-newsletter to learn of upcoming sales and events. They also have a ‘frequent buyer’ program and track what you spend toward earning credit.

Knitting Arts => CLOSED
14554 Big Basin Way

Knitting Arts was a favorite but has shifted to mostly higher end yarn & prices. Great stuff and one of the best staffs - very helpful and there is always someone available (without being pushy). Sign up for their e-newsletter to learn of sale events, and also the schedules for their weekends of free workshops (and regular classes). They recently started having knitalong workshops as well and always have inspiring garments on display. They have a frequent buyer card, too.

Full Thread Ahead & the store blog=> CLOSED
169 Main Street
Los Altos
650 948 9036

FTA is my other favorite even though it's not on my standard 'route.' The owner, Hollis, is warm & welcoming and quite helpful (as are her staff). They don't carry the bigger brands (Rowan/Debbie Bliss, etc) since there is another yarn shop a block away that carries all those. They have a great selection and wide range of prices. The yarn is nicely organized by weight and they also recently began carrying their own brand of yarn. They also have frequent buyer club and track your purchases for you. Sign up for e-newsletter to learn of new yarns, sales and other events.

Purlescence Yarns
586 S Murphy Ave
408 735-YARN

I've only been to Purlesence once and the highlight was finding Socks That Rock! Like any good yarn store, there was an area with comfy chairs for knitting, and they also had more roving and spinning supplies than I've seen elsewhere. They also have quite a few classes (see the website).

Yarn Place=> CLOSED (moved to another state, I believe still online store)
123 Fremont Ave.

This is not the place to go for atmosphere or to spend long hours. It's a small retail place with a limited selection. They offer primarily their own line. I found some good lace weight yarn, a bamboo yarn that I love and recycled Sari-silk yarn (which is what I went for in the first place!). They provided a heavy-weight, clear plastic bag with a zipper as their bag - I thought this was a great touch.

The Knitting Room
1195 Branham Ln
San Jose
(408) 264-7229

Bobbins Nest Studio
1171 Homestead Road, Suite 130
Santa Clara, California 95050

This is the newest shop & I haven't been there yet, but I'm sure with a knitting and quilting stock, it will be a lovely spot.

Uncommon Threads
293 State Street
Los Altos

151 E. Main St.
Los Gatos

Friday, July 13, 2007

A different WIP...

Well in the midst of the final finishing steps of a few projects, I thought I'd post about a different kind of WIP! I've recently re-moved back into my house after living in Mississippi/Louisiana for 18 months (working with school systems in Katrina-impacted areas!). And in returning, I've turned what was a guest room into my "project room" - for knitting, sewing, bookmaking, etc.

I'm so excited to have a dedicated space for whatever creative mood hits me... But right now, it is definitely 'in progress!' I've repainted - two different-colored walls, and the rest of the room is a bright white. I found a great cubby-style bookcase at IKEA - bottom cubbies for patterns and books, the rest for yarn (silly me thought I might actually have some room for fabric there, but I haven't even brought in the yarn from the garage yet!). I'm going to build some shelving and a work surface in the closet for my printer, paper-cutters, etc..

The colors are much 'brighter' - light, without being pastel-y. I can't wait to get the closet built out and organize all the 'stash 'n stuff.' And I'm still on the search for the perfect fabric for a valance and to re-cover a parson-style chair for the desk.

If anyone has other great knitting/sewing/craft rooms or nooks -what has worked for you?

Happy Knitting -

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Too Late for the Party...

I missed the party... again!

I want to join a KAL, and have been watching for one that either inspired me to try something new, or would fit something from my 'future project' wishlist. After listening to a couple of the She-Knits podcasts about the purse/bag KAL/CAL I decided that might be a good one to join - I've thought about felting a bag so this would be my catalyst to get started. Then I heard about Mystery Stole 3 and was so excited... but missed the deadline. So I went to sign up for the KAL/CAL and that had closed. sigh.

So... I will continue to search and wait for the 'just right' KAL to join - but in the meantime, I bought 4 colors of Cascade 220 to create a bag anyway. And although I didn't actually finish my Lace Rib socks (just one toe left to do!), I still cast on the Icarus Shawl in a pale, multi-colored yarn. I don't have a pic of that yet (only 8 rows), but I also couldn't resist this incredibly soft merino lace yarn from Aurora Yarns... SOOO soft and gorgeous colorway from pale lilac to deep violet.

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

My Sock Stash Overfloweth...

I told myself that I can't cast on anything until I finish at least one of my socks (and thereby free up a set of sock needles, too). I did finish my Clapotis - yay! I made it with bamboo yarn from Yarn Palace and although I LOVE the way it drapes (photos soon), I don't think it was the best yarn choice because of the drape. Perhaps I'll make it again with something else since it's such a great pattern when I want to knit something that doesn't require much concentration.

My hope is to finish one pair of socks today... then what to cast on next? More socks? I just did inventory of my sock yarn and have 28 pairs-worth. Yikes! So more socks would be good. But I'd like to knit something for my mother's birthday next month - she wouldn't wear any socks. I'm nervous about her sizing for a sweater until I can measure one that she likes to wear (a task for my next visit). Living in Florida means there's no need for scarf/hats/gloves. And I don't think she'd wear a shawl... hmmmm. Good excuse to go browsing thru my pattern books!

But first - I'm off to make "American" pancakes for my summer guest. Alina is a university student from Romania who is here for the summer to work and see California. And one of her first requests was "will you teach me to make pancakes?" What a great way to start a holiday!

Happy 4th of July!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Joining the SOCK craze...

As with blogging, I'm late to the party for sock knitting... In the past I always thought it was a lot of effort for a garment that wasn't very visible and presumably would get above average 'wear-n-tear.'

This is true.... however, after listening to podcasters, reading blogposts and viewing incredibly enticing pictures, I decided to give it a try. I have a hard time with moderation in many things, so why would sock-knitting be any different? Having completed my first pair, I now have 4 different pairs on the needles and one pair waiting for kitchener toes.

Left: Lace Rib Socks from Sensational Knitted Socks, knit with yummy Romantic colorway dyed by Handspun and Dyed Too. It looks perfect against my Double Delights!

Right: Jaywalkers in Lisa Souza's Mars Quake. I was originally expecting more purply colors, but I love this colorway - looks great with the new growth on one of my rose bushes (a promise of beauty ahead!).

And one last pic because the Eye-of-Partridge heel on the Lace Rib sock is my favorite of all so far:

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Beginning a Blog...

How do you start a blog?

It's strange to think that people I don't know might be interested in reading "MY" blog... but yet, I love reading blogs amongst the hundreds within the online knitting community. How many hours have I spent clicking through from link to link and occasionally adding a blog to my "come back here" list... These are people I don't know, will probably never meet, and yet - I am completely interested in what they knit, do and think!!

So what makes some blogs more interesting (at least to me) than others? Of the ones that I visit most often- what exactly is it that compels me check what's new? Some are 'all about the knitting' and some are 'what's new in my life'... Some have many, many photos whereas others are narrative with only a few photos...

I'm not sure what it is - I suspect it has to do with a general attitude toward life, sense of humor and writing style; or possibly it's just a virtual 'chemistry' thing. But regardless the reason - I appreciate the effort made by all you consistent bloggers, love the sense of community amongst everyone and enthusiastically join this world!

Wish me luck...