Tuesday, July 31, 2012

To Pom Pom or Not to Pom Pom?

While on vacation in beautiful Holden Beach, North Carolina I did a little knitting. I cranked out a dishcloth for a dear friend vacationing with us who was also celebrating her 75th birthday! Happy Birthday Beth!
Grandma's Favorite dishcloth: a classic.
I also knit a pair of footies. But, first a few obligatory vacation pics. Thank you for indulging me.
Are we there yet? (Aren't they so cute cuddling with their iphones?)
Typical day at the beach: reading, swimming, surfing with family and friends. 
My youngest: Where'd she learn to do that?!
Right, back to knitting. With leftover yarn from my Pettine Shawlette, I knit the Pom Pom Peds by Purl bee. 

The pattern calls for the top band and a pom pom to be knit using a contrasting color. Well, I just happened to have some leftover Noro Taiyo sock yarn laying around. I think I’ve covered my Noro love affair/obsession in previous posts. I’m not yet seeking therapy, but writing about it does help. Moving on. The yarn was leftover from my Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig, which was the second sweater I knit. It’s a great pattern and I wear it often.
Featherweight Cardigan. Click for pattern info Ravelry
Back to Hamlet or the question at hand. The whole time I’m knitting my footies, I’m thinking about how cool the pom poms will look. A Noro pom pom! Can you imagine the possibilities?! Sorry, calming back down here. Anyway, as I was getting ready to make what could possibly be the most cool pom poms ever, I started thinking about washing these babies. I know. Every now and again, I let my practical side out to play. I machine wash my hand knit socks in Woolite on the hand wash cycle and dry them flat. If I pom pom, using the term as a verb here, I think I’ll have to hand wash. And, I’m worried about how the pom poms will look after repeated washing. So, to pom pom or not to pom pom? That is the question. 
What do you think? Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice. ~ Christina

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Brazilian What?

Yep, teaser, more on that later... 
Pettine Shawl Project Details Here: Ravelry
I finished my Pettine shawl over the weekend. It became rather large after blocking (69.5" x 25"), but I am very pleased with the results. I’m still working out the blocking with wires thing. I seem to make extra loops in places where I don’t necessarily want them. I’ll have to surf YouTube to look for a video which will help me sort it all out.

Took this with my iphone and used Instagram for the fancy lighting effect.
I finished my shawl at the beach, where there was a pole vault competition on Saturday. Very fun to watch and great to see so many people enjoying the ever beautiful Lake Michigan.

See, I really do knit at the beach almost every weekend.
I have quite a bit of sock yarn leftover from the shawl. About 90 grams to be exact-ish. So.... I decided to actually knit footwear with it. Crazy, I know. I found a free pattern from the Purl bee for footies with pom poms, click here.  And, I have Noro Taiyo sock yarn left over from my Featherweight Cardigan, click here, to use for the contrasting color. I was also spot on with gauge. Since I’m using leftover yarn, I'm calculating the cost via the voodoo economics method and telling the hubs they are free. Not to worry, he doesn’t read my blog. 

Plenty of yarn AND gauge!
About that title... Those of you who know me personally, know I have been cursed with naturally frizzy hair. No, I’m not exaggerating. And, my frizzy tangle is not really beautiful ringlet curls that are to die for. I wish. Those who only know me from pictures, have seen me after much time has been spent with flatirons and anti-frizz products formulated by scientists from MIT and Harvard. Not an exaggeration there either. Check out the No Frizz product line by Living Proof: http://www.livingproof.com/

For years I’ve said, and I quote myself here: “Scientists can return shuttles from space and protect them from burning up in the atmosphere, can they not tame frizz, seriously?!” Well, apparently now they can. Finally, a salon in my sleepy little hamlet started offering the Brazilian Blowout (some sort of keratin and formaldehyde cocktail applied with a blowdryer and flatiron). I am, for all my complaining, way too lazy to drive to the bigger city 45 minutes away to tame my frizz. Here are my before and after pictures. The results are amazing! I actually hugged the salon owner, who is a complete stranger, when I saw and felt my hair. The real test will come next week as we head to the lovely, but humid state of North Carolina for a week on the ocean. I’ll report back on the status of the frizz.

Before (and somewhat behaved)

After: Can't believe that's my hair!
Thanks so much for reading. Am off to pack and find a few projects for the trip. Keep in touch. I sincerely enjoy reading and responding to your comments :)

 Signed, Christina with well-behaved hair for the next 12 weeks.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Favorite Scarf Ever. Pattern info via Ravelry.

I know nothing about beads. Not completely true. I know that beads are round-ish and have holes so they can be strung. Relevance? Well, a while back I bought some van Gogh inspired sock yarn at my LYS. (Translation: local yarn shop) Click here to see original post. Later, when I was in another yarn shop, having neither the yarn nor a picture of it on my phone, I stumbled upon matching beads at a trunk show. I like trunk shows and when there is a bead trunk show at a yarn shop...   

Here's a pic of the yarn and perfectly matched beads.
Anyway, the scarf has been finished and blocked for a while, meaning May 24th. So, after a metaphorical nod to my friend procrastination, I decided there’s no time like the present to add the beads. I’ve never added beads before, but I have added fringe, should be easy, right? 

Ready for beaded fringe
Not so fast. Due to my lack of knowledge regarding beading along with my disdain for most things math, I paid no mind whatsoever to the diameter of the holes in relationship to the size of my yarn. In other words, the yarn was too large to simply string through the beads. And, the beads were too large to loop and crochet. Thus, my dream of adding beaded, crocheted fringe was not to be. Sigh.

Beads attached to yarn and ready to become fringe.
Again, not so fast. After mourning the demise of my dream for a respectable 5 minutes or so, I dried my eyes and set about making this work. I mean, the beads and yarn are a perfect match. I ended up tying/rigging the yarn with regular thread and using a sewing needle to thread/force the yarn through the bead. I attached with a crochet hook and voila! 

Queue the happy-ending music and roll the credits: beaded fringe.

I'm very happy with the results. Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear about your project challenges and how you overcame them! ~ Christina

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Perfectionist and the Lifeline: A Story with a Happy Ending

Once upon a time a perfectionist named Christina decided to knit a lace shawl. She had once again bought sock yarn that was far too beautiful to hide inside shoes, and she had given up wearing glass slippers long ago. So, Christina set off on a quest with her friends Ravelry and Pinterest, and before long found the perfect pattern. Click here: Pettine Shawlette. In no time at all her Visa card was back in her wallet, the pattern was downloaded, the swatch was completed, and her needles were clicking away. 

I wish you could feel how soft this yarn is.
But, alas, Christina was a perfectionist and would notice a stitch here or there that wasn't quite right, so she ripped her shawl four, yes, four times. "At this rate, I'll never finish," Christina despaired to no one in particular, for her family had learned not to respond to her random prattle whilst knitting. Christina pondered her dilemma. The yarn was so beautiful - what with its subtle, nuanced, natural shades, and baby soft texture; the pattern would so perfectly show off its beauty and sit so softly against her skin, but it was proving to be a frustrating knit. Convinced these two were a perfect match, Christina refused to give up. She knew her prince would ride in and, oops wrong story ... Christina was a resourceful, determined knitter and needed no prince. She thought through her previous challenging projects and then remembered lifelines. Yes, lifelines: the perfect solution! 
Lifeline: simply thread yarn (same or lighter weight) through a tapestry needle and work through the last completed row. Keep track of which row the lifeline is in. If you have to rip, just rip back to the lifeline and carry on. Genius.
And with that, she cast on again and clicked away happily ever after ;)