Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year in Review - Crafting 2006

1. Yuletide Gnome; 2. London Beanie #1; 3. Fetching Gloves; 4. First Apron; 5. Downtown Purse; 6. Snake Charmers; 7. Odessa; 8. Sunrise Circle Jacket; 8. Shedir; 9. Perdita; 10. Lady Eleanore; 11. Clapotis

2006 was a pretty short knitting year for me as the I spent the first 6 months unmotivated to knit. Finally the bug hit with during the July 4th weekend where I began knitting the Lady Eleanor Stole. After that is was an exercise in finding more and more complicated knitting projects. These were, of course, time consuming projects so this year was a reflection on quality versus quantity. Here are some of the items I finished up for 2006. I have a few more that still need to make it to there destination so I will have to add them later (more for my benefit than yours)

So taking a page from Lolly's book, here is a little questionnaire regarding my year in knitting:
  • What is your absolute favorite project you've ever knit (one that fulfilled both process and product)?
    • That would have to be my Sunrise Circle Jacket. This has been my pride and joy this year as it was my first sweater and fits like a dream. I have received many compliments on it
  • Which of your hand knits do you wear the most often?
    • Once again it would be the Sunrise Circle Jacket, hands down
  • What was your favorite gift to knit?
    • Definitely the Yuletide Gnome. I had a hard time giving that one away. He was soooo cute. I didn't think I would like him at first but now I am a little sad to have seen him go.
  • Which of your hand knits are gathering dust your closet?
    • I am sad to say my Lady Eleanor has not seen the light of day since she was knit. I pull her out every once in a while to see if I can figure out how to wear her properly, but inevitably she finds her way back to the closet.
  • Which of your hand knits have you gotten rid of?
    • Ahh...the never finished Kyoto Sweater, which would have looked like a sac on me, was frogged to make way for the Green Mimosa. Hopefully the Mimosa will survive the dreaded hiatus state cause this yarn has been reincarnated too may times already.
  • If you've knit socks, what is your favorite pattern?
    • Well, I started my first sock this year so by default it would be the Jaywalker sock pattern
  • What have you learned about your craft in 2006?
    • That I shouldn't be too afraid of the unknown technique as they can all be figured out if I don't think TOO hard about it. They normally go bad when I start second guessing myself.
  • What events/sites have you particularly enjoyed in the blogosphere in 2006?
    • I am not much of a knitalong person, more of a finish and show along type, but I have to say I have enjoyed watching the Knitting Olympics, Sock Wars and Socktoberfest
  • What would you like to make in 2007?
    • Wow this question isn't a hard one, just a really long one. I have a full list of things I would like to make in 2007 that reflect a wide world of new techniques for me. Here are my current top picks for 2007:

Thursday, December 28, 2006

FO: Yuletide Gnome

Can I tell you how excited I am to have made this gnome?!! He is so cute! I happened to stumble upon the Knitting Gnome KAL and had to make him. I have seem so many cool gnomes since then. This one was made for my best friend who loves gnomes so I thought it would be perfect as one of her Christmas presents.

Yarn: Paton's Classic Merino Wool in Grey and Red, and random acrylic for face color.
Inspiration: Simply Knitting 05 Yuletide Gnome
Needles: Size 3 for gnome, Size 6 for beard
Yardage: Ummmm...not a whole lot. You can probably make 3 gnomes out of the yardage in the Paton's Yarn balls
  • I knit the brim of the hat differently. This was pure accident though
  • I knit the beard on 6's. This came to mind after checking out the posts over at YummyYarn
Enjoyment Factor:10!
  • The Good: Everything about this pattern (except for maybe the seaming) was good. It knit up fairly quickly in between my other Christmas knitting. I absolutely love the way this gnome came out. I had to play with him a here he is

Mr gnomey was tired after a hard first day of life

So I made him a cup of coffee and we talked about life as a gnome
  • The Bad: I would have to say the seaming is a bit much especially with the little thumbs. But I don't mind it SOOO much so it was okay.
  • The Ugly: No so much an ugly as an unexpected. This gnome is HUGE. I did knit the large size and probably should have paid more attention to the finished specs but I was still amazed at how big it was. Here is a picture for comparison

Knit Time: December 13 - December 23

** Since this has come up in the past I would like to add this little disclaimer: since this is not my pattern I cannot distribute it so please do not ask. Thanks in advance

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

FO: London Beanie

Yarn: Berrocco Pure Merino in Husk and Chocolate Brown
Inspiration: London Beanie
Needles: Size 5 for the ribbing, Size 8 for the rest
Yardage: 1 Balls and few yards of the Chocolate Brown
Modifications: Many.
  1. No cable cast on because it was not stretchy enough
  2. I casted on for 81 instead of the 72 and increased to 90 stitches because the initial numbers were WAY too small for an adult male head as this was one of the few knitted xmas gifts of the year.
  3. I decreased further before closing off the top than the pattern specified because there just seemed to be too many stitches left over
Enjoyment Factor: 6
  • The Good: Another instant gratification project. It only took about a day to knit this up and it feels great. Did I tell you how much I LOVE this yarn....well, I do.It is thick and soft and very swishy.
  • The Bad: This pattern is made for a kids head, not an adult apologies to those with small heads. I ripped out once and then made many modifications to this pattern. I would use it as a LOOSE guideline to what you need to do to make a beanie, but definitely not follow it to a "T".
  • The Ugly:So I wanted to make a jogless color change. Well, the first time I actually picked up the bar of yarn instead of the stitch to make the color change. Here you can see the difference - lower bar=wrong, upper bar= right. I left it because (1) it is a hat, (2)I am not that anal and (3) I consider it one of those imperfections that it is handmade. Nice technique to know for next time though.

  • Knit Time: December 20 (1 day)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Knit From Your Stash 2007

I am scared!! I am very scared as this is something I know needs to happen but makes me feel as though I will fail. But as Henry Ford stated

"Whether you think you can, or thing you can't,
You're Right."

So I am taking the "can do" approach with the Knit From Your Stash 2007. I had a destash in mind for 2007 anyway and I will continue with my thought out approach of weighing my yarn and trying to reduce it by half (in lbs that is). However, I think that the support group idea that will inevitably materialize within the knitting bloggerspere will help to strengthen my resolve.

So here are the rules to this group destash-along and my addendum:
  • The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through December 31, 2007 -- a period of TWELVE months. - I modified this a little as I just need to get this stash widdled down and my Stitches event comes in February.
  • We will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:
    • Sock yarn does not count- Okay, sock yarn does count for me as this could just spiral into another dependancy cycle
    • If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that we really and truly do not have the yarn for, we may buy yarn to knit that gift - This one should not be too hard as I don't really gift knit...yes, I am stingy
    • If we are knitting something and run out of yarn, we may purchase enough to complete the project - I definitely agree on this one
    • We each get TWO "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- we are each allowed to fall off the wagon one time - I added another as I will be extending my destash for 12 months instead of nine. Stitches West is not counted as one of the two GOJF cards.
  • We are allowed to receive gifts of yarn - ok, here is my own personal rule that I will get to use up my $50.00 Michaels Gift Card for the purchase of yarn since the card itself was given as a gift.
My add on rules or exemptions are:
  • I will get to buy yarn at Stitches West in February - This has been planned out for some time so there is no way I am travelling all the way there and NOT buying yarn. This is NOT part of my 2 get out of jail free cards.
  • I will not beat myself up if I become weak and break the rules of this destash - I will instead get back on the horse and try to make it to the finish line.
  • I will be doing a stash enhancement before January 1, 2006 - as I have a few project set for 2007 but will be limited to 3 projects worth.
Wish me luck! And for all you fellow destashers I wish you all the strength that luck for 2007!, the list of project paired with yarns as the picking will be slim for the next 9 months.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Finished Object: Fetching Gloves

Berrocco Pure Merino in Chocolate Brown
Inspiration: Fetching Gloves
Needles: Size 5 for the wrist, Size 6 for the rest
Yardage: 1.5 Balls
Modifications: I knit another cable twist at the top of the glove to lengthen it a bit and did a regular cast off instead of the picot bind off. Below you can see the modifications clearer

with the Birthday Girl playing peek-a-boo

Enjoyment Factor: 7
  • The Good: These gloves are in the instant gratification as they work up so quickly, that is if you don't stop on them like I did. I also really liked how the cables came out. I decided to bind off regularly as I didn't like how the picot bind off flared. Lastly the yarn! Oh, the yarn was like butter! It is thick and soft and very swishy. I would definitely recommend it and plan on making some hats as Christmas gifts out of it.
  • The Bad: Picking up those damn thumb stitches. Know I have done gloves AND a Lady Eleanor Stole which should make me a Kung Fu Master at picking up stitches but I swear I must have knit and reknit the thumb at least 6 times because I was dissatisfied. This project also took longer than it should have because I put down the project (1) becauseI am a procrastinator so I figured I had a month until I really needed to finish as her birthday was not until this month and (2) THAT DAMN THUMB!! I also should have continued on the size 5 needles for the remainder of the gloves so that it had a snugger fit (my hands are gianormous so I should have known to go down a bit). They are not bad by any means I just noted this for the future...besides my gift recipient still liked them and that is what matters.
  • The Ugly:Nothing really. I really like how the gloves turned out, with a little help from double stitching over the slight holes that were left after picking up the thumb stitches.
Knit Time: November 7 - December 12

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My Secret Pal Strikes again

Dear Secret Pal,

I love you! After my relatively hard week it was great to come back to such a wonderful surprise. I would like to show everyone just how cool my secret pal is!

Look at this gorgeous bag. She made it for me! I love handmade presents. They just embody so much love and effort that you can't help but love them back.

And guess what was inside.

Tea, Noro Kujaku yarn, a Geisha Pen and matching notepad.

More goodies! She based it on an Asian theme so you can see what great taste she has as I love Asian items.

She also enclosed a pattern for a tea cozy made from the Noro yarn and a yarn requirements pamphlet. It was so thoughtful in every respect.

I immediate commenced to having a cup of tea (shown with my favorite teapot) to wind down and cuddle with my new presents.

Thanks Secret Pal

Small Town

Muncie, Indiana

No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be

- John Mellencamp

Last week I had some family business that took me to Indiana. This is the kind of family business that comes with an notorious early morning phone call and hastily made travel plans. Although these times are never what you want, they often bring you gifts that you would never have expected or thought to wish for.

My gifts were meeting a family that I had never met, both related and unrelated to me. I met a quilter who participates in quilted postcard swaps and is designing her own quilt pattern. I experienced the freezing weather of a small town (never above 25F, and reaching as low as 11F before we left), and the culture that goes along with it.

While there I took some pictures to remember my small town visit and the wonderful family that I will always remember and hope to visit again.

Muncie, Indiana

Muncie, Indiana

Muncie, Indiana

Muncie, Indiana

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Yarn Lady Bag Sale 2006

So I decided this year that i would go to the Yarn Lady Bag Sale. The last time I attended a Bag Sale back in June of 2005. Last time I was a newbie - slowly deciding on yarns, immediately throwing back if I wasn't 100% sure, and floundering as the veteran Bag Sale knitters piled their bags high with impulse grabs and widdled the lot down after casing the racks at least 3 or 4 times.

This year, however, I was the veteran. I got there and grabbed, grabbed, grabbed. Before I thinned the herd of yarn bags I swear I must have had $1000 in the blue Ikea bag of doom. But coming to my senses, I ended up buying enough yarn for two sweaters. Here is the loot:

Some Fare Baruffa - 7 Settembre and GGH Samoa.
**Cats were not included

One of the highlights of the sale was meeting Mrs.Hipp who is a new addition to the knitting blog universe. Our meeting happened as I was grabbing wildly for bags when I heard "are you the Nubian Craftster?" Although I have never been called by my blog name I immediately answered with an ear to ear smile of "Yes!". She knew me by my Sunrise Circle Jacket, which I of course was wearing. We chatted a while as we continued to throw bags around in search of the perfect colors.

This is just one more example that the world is so much smaller with the internet in action. Needless to say you should take a moment to go visit her and encourage her to knit knit that we can read read read about it. Thank goodness for Bloglines.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Finished Object: Amy Butler Downtown Purse

Sorry it has been so long since my last update. Returning from the holiday season in Florida, left me a little jetlagged and getting backing into the swing of things was not the easiest to do. However, during my super relaxing vacation with V we crafted. How great is that! I have never had a vacation where I was sedentary and enjoyed it! Does that mean I am getting old?? Well, whatever it means I had a wonderful time...thanks V.

So without further ado, here is my first purse, the Amy Butler Downtown Purse

Pattern: $12.99
Fabric: $10.00
Timtex: $4.50
Total: $27.49

Modifications: A few. One major modification was the size of the bag. We shrunk the pattern to 78% on copier because we both thought it was too big at original size. We used quilting batting instead of the sewing interface for the handles, because we are cheap, and I had stitched on the handles on. I added two more pieces of velcro to the inside because I did not like how the edges of the top flap stuck out a little.

Enjoyment Factor: 8, I will definitely do this pattern again.

The Good:
Loved the construction of the purse. The instructions were pretty damn good once I stopped over thinking what she was trying to tell me. Hee hee, V's gazillion dollar sewing machine was also a plus as it threaded the bobbin, an cut the thread when you pressed a button which was pretty cool. Will not buy a sewing machine, will not buy a sewing machine....

The Bad:Ok, a couple of times I thought Amy was smoking something when she made this pattern. One was the fabric requirements. Even if we had made this full size the fabric requirements she called out was for at least two purses. Second, was the use of Timtex. I think it gave the bag a great look but it made the seams pretty bulky and needed LOTS of triming. Third, was stitching the handles. WTF Amy!!! It is impossible to stitch these handles onto the bag using the machine once you have the bag fully constructed. It is too thick and too unwieldy. I twisted, I turned but the gazillion dollar sewing machine was not having it. So if the gazillion dollar machine was laughing, my hand- me-down machine would spit this idea back in my face. Needless to say Amy's name past my lips a couple times during this period and they were not words of praise.

The Ugly: My cutting of the excess Timtex was a little close on the flap and I think I may have weakened it at some points, but you can't tell unless you look closely but some of the fabric frayed and separated. White thread on black velcro and inside bag, but since it was my first bag, I didn't feel like investing in more thread before I was sure I could do it.

Time: November 25-28

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Things I am Thankful for in 2006

  • I am thankful for my friend V who let me spend this gluttonous holiday with her and her family. The food was excellent and she prepared it using my first sewing project - the apron. Here are some "America's Next Top Model" shots for you.

No, she does not normally practice ballet while cooking.
The camera makes people do crazy things

  • I am thankful for all the food that we were blessed to have on this day. I was especially thankful that V's mother cooked greens which is a very southern, african american food that just rings in the holidays for me. She made a good pot of collards and candied yams to go with it. MAN!! I am hungry again just thinking about it.

I could only get one set of models to look at a time

Look at all that great food and that wasn't even half of it!
  • I am thankful for all my family and friends that presumably forgave the fact that I was so late in calling them for the customary well wishing on this holiday of thanks. I am so bad at this that I have to call my brother today, the day AFTER Thanksgiving because my cell phone ran out...or at least that is the excuse and I am sticking with it!
  • I am also thankful for yet another year of good health - minus the two months of bronchitus that I am still not over - and the great things that I have accommoplished both in life and craft :O)
  • Last but not least I am thankful for all you who read and comment so often in my blog. It is amazing that you can build such a community nowadays without ever meeting those you begin to know and love as cyber family and friends.
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and look forward to reading about all your holiday treats.

Giving Thanks the Knitter's way

Today I am giving thanks for all the things, including those things knitterly. Since the last time we spoke I...

Finished my snake skin (a.k.a. Mermaid gloves). I will have to give more detail and better pictures when I have time, a photographer other than self-timer, and adequate sunlight. In the meantime here is one:

I also started my first socks, which is the every popular Jaywalkers. I got some Vesper Sock Yarn in Knit and Tonic last week so I was so eager to start. Here is a picture of my sock in the Denver airport

since this picture I worked another 4.5" into the pattern, ripped it out because it was way too big (I am using the extended pattern sized because my feet are so big) and have reknit about 2" into the pattern again. My heart bled when I had to rip but this yarn was too expensive not to.

And here is a picture of the snow capped mountains in Denver. They are beautiful, but I do not like the cold.

Which brings me to the subject of how freaking cold it is here in Tampa, Florida where I will be spending my Thanksgiving. It was 55 degrees when I got here! It seems as though the cold snap happened the morning of my arrival. I guess I wished too hard for the weather to not be hot and humid. Instead I have been bundled up for 3 days now.

I will be back with some Thanksgiving pictures tomorrow. Have a great Turkey Day.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Meet my SnB

These are the moments that make me REALLY miss being in Berkeley, Portland, Long Beach, or any other place with a semblance of culture (a.k.a. not Orange County)

In my last post I mentioned that I got a new camera. My old point and shoot was not completely dead but it was having problems with opening and closing the lens. This had been going on since July and finally I had to say enough. Especially since I will be going to Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday to visit a friend and don't always like bringing by big DSLR everywhere.

So, my new photographic baby is the Canon SD700IS. Man this things is great. I did a lot of research before I chose my camera. Now it is not the latest version, which incidentally is SD900, but it was the one that suited my particular photographic needs. The selling point for me were, the Image Stabilizer (IS), the 4xOptical zoom - since I normally zoom out as opposed to taking wide shots, and the price - about $100 buck cheaper than the other models.

Since this is a knitting blog - I already have a photography blog - I decided to stretch my new camera's wings at my SnB meeting. Along with the photos at the start of the entry, in which I used the very cool color accent feature, the ones below will show you what the camera can do and also will give you an idea of why I travel 30 minutes from my house to the Long Beach SnB instead of going 5 minutes to the one by my house. The sacrifices I make for diversity and knitting.

Our SnB Cafe Called Viento y Agua

Cafe w/o and with flash

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Nubian Craftster Gets a New Look

I have moved over to Blogger BETA and with that comes its fair share of problems and new cool discoveries. Since I am very HTML deficient I have to rely on the kindness of Blogger hacks to make my site a little more presentable.

I will try and make the random Bloglines updates as minimal as possible, but since I am a newbie to this whole system I can't guarantee anything.

Knitwise - I hope to have some finished object pictures of the Lizard Skins (a.k.a Mermaid Gloves) taken from my new camera this weekend.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Material Girl

...and I am living in a material world as I am a collector. Of what you say? Of just about everything. Not to the extent that people will see newspapers piled to the ceiling when I die (it would actually be more like magazines anyway), but I do have a sizable collection of things that are either past or present hobbies/loves/future careers. I will give you a peak into the madness. Please be warned that quantities viewed in pictures are only a fraction of the true extent of the problem..I mean collection

You all know I stash yarn...I am a knitter for God's sake! I would not be able to hold my head up in blogger land without a stash bordering on S.A.B.L.E (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy.

So I guess I also have C.A.R.E.S (Cookbooks Approaching Ridiculous Eating Standards). Here is a small glimpse of my cookbooks and magazines that I acquired during my desire to be a cook. I loved cooking but it just did not pay the bills.

P.A.L.M.S(Photography Love Accentuating Material Stashing). Here is a little of my photo magazine and book collection. PDN is such a great trade magazine. I took classes after college and continue to take classes on and off to improve my skills. I have been kicking around the idea of going back to get my Associates/Bachelors in Photography. Still thinking on that though.

So there should be no surprise that I have contracted F.A.U.N.A.S (Fabric Acquired Under New Addiction Stimulus). Since I am rapidly approaching the end of my sewing class, with only one more class to go, I thought I would show you a WIP picture of my sewing.

Look at those stitches...on a curve no less!! Given I was sewing as slow as a molasses after my debacle on the second day of class but man am I proud.

I have been web/blog surfing and finding new sewing ideas but of course this requires a machine. I hope to squash my urge for a machine by using my mom's old White Sewing Machine until I decide if this is a permanent addiction. But the true addiction is the fabric.

Such wonderful colors and patterns. There was a 30% off sale at my local craft store and I bought these beauties, along with In Stitches by Amy Butler which has seemingly easy patterns for the beginning seamstress. I should break out my badge now for my support group

"Hi my name is NubianCraftster and I have a problem. I am a chronic collector..."