Optimistically Speaking

  1. My Optimist Club is doing a hat knitting contest.  We do this every year or so. We see who can knit the most hats and we have a prize for that person.  The prize generally consists of a homemade dessert that the winner shares with the group.  There are very few rules.
    1. Everyone is welcome to make baby hats.
    2.  The hats can be knit, crocheted, knit on a loom, or even sewn.  Newborn and Preemie sizes only.
    3. Any material is fine.  I just ask that you use soft yarn that a baby would appreciate wearing.
    4. The contest runs now through April 15.  All hats will be totaled and prizes will be awarded.  The hats will then be donated to the 2 hospitals in the area.
  2.  Lily is now knitting hats on a loom.  I started her off on the loom because that’s what a lot of the Optimist Club members do.  It’s fast (about 1 hour for a baby hat) and I thought she would have some success with it.  Truthfully, I also think it would be fun to show that a 9 year old girl can out-knit the adults.
  3. I’m bribing her.  I offered her lunch with the Optimist Club if she’ll knit.  I’m not above bribes.  Because I really like the idea of the 9 year old out-knitting the adults.
  4. I’d offer the same deal to Addie, but she’s really not interested in knitting.  (more on this in a future episode of “Ask the Wee Ones.”)
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    Lily’s first hat on the loom

Macgyvered

Lily is about as fierce as a 9 year old can be.  This is something that will serve her well as an adult, but sometimes causes concern for her parents and teachers.  She is intense, she is rational, and although she’s got a huge heart, people often overlook it.  I like to think of her as a Viking Warrior Queen in training.  She likes to think of herself as a Secret Agent Ninja in training.

So when this fierce little thing (who hates the cold) asked if Momma would knit her a cowl to keep her face warm, what was I to say?

We came to agreement on some Three Irish Girls DK that I had in my stash.  I pulled out the Honey Cowl Pattern that I’ve knit before and loved.  I wanted to make it the larger size so that Lily could loop it around her neck several times.  Lily disagreed.  She knew what she wanted and what she wanted was a tight fitting cowl.

Codename "L"
Codename “L”

So I knit the small size.  She periodically checked up on my knitting progress (“Momma, are you done knitting my cowl yet?”)  She’s a bit of a taskmaster that one.  But how do you not love someone that wants knitted items so badly?

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She’s so happy!

Lily was very excited when she was able to wear her cowl to school for the first time.  It was a good cowl.  A pretty cowl.  But it wasn’t quite as functional as she wanted.  See, she wanted a ninja mask tight-to-the-face cowl.

What’s a Momma to do?

I MacGyvered it.

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One button, one little I-cord loop sewn in place.  Viola!

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We decided I might have to move the button just a bit as she’d like it even tighter to her face.  The really great part about the button is that she can still get it over her head and glasses without a problem before she buttons it up.

January Thaw

Only in Wisconsin is there a 45 minute + wait for the car wash when the temperature gets up to 28 F!

Which means this is officially a January warm up.  Just in time to show off some of my new knits

First up is the Cedar Leaf Shawlette.  I cast this on right around Christmas.  It actually started out as a kit for another shawl, but I didn’t like the way the pattern and yarn were behaving.

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The pennies are a sorting project Lily was doing. I just thought it was kind of pretty.

The main body of the shawl is knit in Knit One Crochet Too Douceur et Soie and Elfin Tweed.  I absentmindedly kept knitting in garter stitch far enough into the body of the shawl that I decided to call it a design element and move on.  I kind of like how squishy the garter stitch makes it.  As I approached the border I was a little afraid I was going to run out of the Elfin Tweed (probably because of the garter stitch) so I switched out to JoJoland Melody keeping one strand of the Douceur et Soie with it.  I love how the JoJoland changes colors along the edge.

The other knit I have to show off is the Hitch Pullover.

To be fair, I knitted this over the summer and even sewed it together but just couldn’t get the ends woven in and the buttons sewn on before finding something else more interesting to work on.  I think it was really the button issue that was stopping me.  I wasn’t sure which buttons I really wanted.  So I pulled it out and started weaving in ends during one of the last Packer games.  Before the game was finished, the ends were woven in.  I decided I really kind of like it without the buttons.

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Out take #39

 

Ask the Wee Ones:  (the part of the blog where you get to ask questions of my children and they’ll answer you.)

Q:  Lily, when did you start knitting and why?

A:  I starting knitting at about 1st grade.  I decided to knit because Momma knitted.  Right after I learned to knit, Momma and some of her friends decided to teach a knitting class at the school.  I’ve knit a bunch of cowls, 2 hats, and a scarf for an American Girl Doll.

Send me any questions you have for Addie or Lily and we’ll answer them on the blog.  Lily would like you to know that while Addie doesn’t knit, as an eleven year old she does have very definite ideas on most things.

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

creativeI’ve been thinking a lot about creativity lately.  It might be the super fun adult coloring books that all the cool kids are doing right now, but it makes me think, “when’s the last time you did something truly creative?”  “When’s the last time you thought waaaay outside the box or just daydreamed about what you would like to see happen?”

I was at a presentation a couple of months back and the presenter made the statement

Planning requires Imagination.

Whoa.  Planning is all black and white, and dare I say, boring?  It’s “you must do this and you must do that.”  Or is it?

Because planning feels better than flying by the seat of my pants and feeling like you’re always chasing your tail.  So I am planning on letting my creativity out of the box this year.  I’m going to read more of what make me happy (not just what the book club is reading).  I’m going to play with color – coloring with the kids in their more grown up coloring books, coloring while I’m on the phone, playing in color with my knitting.  I’m going to make an effort to get back to knitting with my Thursday night knitting group.  It’s the group that is the most comfortable for me.  I’m going to be more intentional about playing with creativity.

And… I’m planning on knitting a scarf or a shawl every month.  I’ve created a bundle on my Ravelry Favorites called Italy.  Because, well, I’m going to Italy in November and I might just need a new wardrobe of scarves to wear when I travel.

I’m also planning on having a bit of fun with the blog.  Lily has agreed to help author a section called “Ask the Wee Ones.”  Readers could ask questions of a knitting 9 year old and a non-knitting 11 year old.  I think it could be interesting.  I’m debating about starting a group on Ravelry for the blog so that all the questions are in one spot, we can do Knit-a-longs together or just talk about general chit chatty stuff.  Your thoughts?

Who Woulda Thunk?

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Here it is, the Eve of the Eve of Christmas and the Christmas Knitting is all done.  Well, sort of.  I do have to help Lily finish her knitted gift for her Daddy (we’re calling it the Elf Sleeping Bag).  But that should be finished up tonight.

I need to get some items in the mail yet, but I’m feeling pretty good about this whole Christmas thing.

Now I’m wondering what project should I cast on for next?

A.  Should I be responsible and finish up the Doodler?

B.  Should I be responsible and finish up some of the WIPs I have laying around?

C.  Should I be semi-responsible and start the sweater for the nephew who’s birthday is in February?

D.  Should I just cast on something frivolous and fun?

E.  All of the above.

You can vote in the comments!

 

Taking the Crazy Train

Hop aboard, Folks!  We’re taking the Crazy Train to Christmas Town!

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This is the train that makes you think that you can totally finish 1 sock, one pair of toddler socks, a blanket size scarf, AND a cowl in the two weeks before Christmas.  But wait, there’s more, because some of these items need to be shipped to Chicago.  And, oh yeah, we’re celebrating my family’s Christmas on the 20th.

Then there’s this cute little baby sweater that just needs the ends woven in and buttons sewn on by Friday.  We’re having dinner with the new parents and I’d like to give them their present sometime before the child’s 3rd birthday.

Oh, I’ve totally got this Christmas thing under control.

If you need me, I’ll be the one in the corner mumbling to myself, “just one more row before bed.”

Knitters Math

Confession Time:

Math was not my favorite subject in school.  In fact, I pretty much hated it until I reached algebra.  Thanks to some great teachers (Mr. Boettcher being the best of the best), algebra just made sense to me.  It was math in puzzle format and just made sense to my brain.

Since I’m confessing, I will tell you that I still can’t do math in front of people.  It brings me right back to 3rd and 4th grade timed math tests.

So when someone asked me how to determine how much yarn was left in a partial skein, it made sense to me that I would use algebra.  By the look on the faces of the two smart women who were talking to me, I lost them at the word “Algebra.”

So here’s how I figure out how much yardage is remaining in a partial skein.  Hold onto your handknit socks, because we’re about to do a puzzle.

You will need:

A scale

The yarn tag or information off of Ravelry or Yarndex about the yardage in the original skein.

The leftover skein of yarn

Paper and pencil

Calculator if you’d like

yarn on scale

First, you’re going to weigh your remaining yarn.  A kitchen scale will work.  My scale weighs in grams, so I converted it to ounces using an online converter.  (Just google “convert grams to ounces”)

My Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Cashmerino Worsted weighed 3.36 oz.

The original skein weighed 3.5 oz and was 195 yds.

Now the puzzle part.

Divide the original yardage by the original ounces.

195/3.5

That gives you the number of yards per ounce.  (55.7)

Then, multiple that number by the weight of the yarn you have remaining.  In our case this is 55.7 x 3.36

Our answer is:  187.2 yards

knitters math

Is that clear as mud?

By the way, the pretty yarn up there on the scale?  That’s the yarn I dyed during the yarn dyeing party at Three Irish Girls.  I promise I’ll tell you more about that soon.