Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas prezzies

I'll stick with the knitting related ones - some yummy yarn and a sock kit :-)

Hubby got enough DB Alpaca Silk for Lara and a skein of Misti Alpaca Lace. Now I'm only waiting for the DB magazine to arrive.

He also got me Trekking XXL 05, Brittany Birch needles in 3mm and a retractable tape measure.

Nickel says, "Thanks cousins (5 kitties) for the perfect doggie bandana!" Here he is modeling it on Christmas morning.

Poor Nickel had to be tied to the dining table so he wouldn't jump on the guests. He is so drawn to the scents of Body Butter. He's enrolled in Basic Training in January so this is temporary solution when there are visitors.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Puppy love

Nickel Bear is growing like a weed. In a few months, he'll be bigger than Little Man. He'll probably outweigh Pumpkin Girl, too.

Nickel Bear on 11/23/06

Poor puppy thinks he is a cat. He tries to climb our Christmas tree. Hubby has caught him stuck on the tree a few times. We've had to remove all the Christmas balls that the kids hung because he managed to crush a few. We stopped turning on the tree lights for now because he snaps at the lights. I seriously think he's trying to topple the star atop the tree.

Nickels on 12/06/06

Don't let this cute face deceive you! He is a yarn sniffer! (not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

And I call myself a knitter

Yesterday morning as I was walking Pumpkin Girl to the bus stop, I realized that I did not have a scarf to throw on to cover my neck/ears. How can that be?!?!

Last night while watching Heroes, I started another project ... a Red Scarf for me. I did not want to knit Ariann for fear of making another mistake due to inattention. Heroes is one of those shows where it has to be a mindless knit so that I can watch the show.

Anyway, back to the knitting, I made a Mistake Rib Scarf from LMKG last year. Don't ask where the scarf is? Last I remember the kids were using it in their "pretend store" and were selling it back to me for $10. I used Knit Picks Panache in Cranberry. One ball had knots so I emailed their Customer Service. They could not match my dye lot so instead they sent me 3 new balls. Awesome Customer Service!

In short, I snatched my 8mm Addis and a ball of Panache and cast on for a 2x2 rib scarf. I'm still debating if I'll make a keyhole scarf out of it.

Picture will be added later.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Knitting hiatus is over

After the loss of Copper Bear, I had a hard time picking up the knits. Copper Bear was my knitting buddy. He was always by my feet whenever I would settle down to knit.

When I was ready, I picked up the lovely Ariann where I had left her and joined the sleeves to the body. First, I dropped a purl on a YO. I attempted to fix it and continued to knit. When I got back to that same spot, it looked horrible ... a big gaping hole in the left front panel. Ariann was quickly packed up in the Ziploc bag it calls home.

A week later I attempted to fix the problem. That mistake took hours to fix. Then I continued to knit a few more rows. I got so cocky and ended up decreasing the raglan too fast. Once I realized my mistake, Ariann was banished once again to the Ziploc bag.

Ariann prior to RIPfest

Thanksgiving happened. Once all the guests had left, I decided to tackle Ariann again. I knew what I had to do ... RIP back all those rows and start fresh at the join. So I spent an afternoon ripping stitch by stitch all of 10 rows. By this time, I figured out the stitch counts prior to those decreases so I was ready to proceed. I've knitted up those 10 rows and then some.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

There's a new sheriff in town

Nickel Bear on 10/28/06

Happy Thanksgiving to all !!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Peaks and Valleys

We've been down in the dumps lately at home. Yesterday was the exception. Why?

Little Man turned 4 yesterday. It was an excellent reason to celebrate. We went out to dinner. Celebrant's choice was Red Robin because he likes the attention when the servers sing out loud. There were 4 other families celebrating birthdays, too. He even got a special treat when the mascot, Red Robin, made an appearance and came around to our table.

As soon as we got home, we set up the cake and presents in the formal living room. He was excited to blow out the candles and dig into the cake. However, I think he wanted to get that out of the way so he could open his presents.

On a sad note, we had to put down our beloved Copper Bear. He was a month shy of his 10th birthday. He was our "test baby" - if you know what I mean. It broke our hearts to break it to the kids. Copper Bear was their older brother. I will miss him dearly as he was 'my boy'.

Goodbye Copper Bear! You will always be in our hearts!

Copper Bear
11/16/96 - 10/16/06

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Weekend Update

The knitting on the placket sweater was getting a bit tight on the 32" Addi circular needles. I kept having to push the stitches to the right every dozen stitches knitted. This was slowing me down big time (not that I'm a fast knitter to begin with). I broke down and ordered a 47" Addi from Elann on the 11th. In the meantime, I could not resist Chic Knits' newest pattern so I cast on for Ariann.

I'm using KP Andean Silk in Chocolate. I've used this yarn before on my Hourglass Sweater so I did not bother making a gauge swatch.

I can't believe the needles arrived on the 14th. Thanks Elann! I transferred the sweater to the new needles. See ...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wouldn't you drop everything, too?

Remember this sweater I knit for Little Man last year? A few weeks ago, Hubby asked for an identical cotton sweater in his size. In all the excitement, I somehow forgot to mention it on this blog. I'm using the same yarn and the same color (his choice) so no need to make a gauge swatch. I used the gauge from the sweater and just cast on. Since I do not have an actual pattern to follow, I am using this and this as a starting point. I have 1 sleeve done and about 4" of the body. This will be loads of fun. This has been the perfect project while watching TV ... round and round of stockinette all the way.

P.S. - Chocolate yarn for Ariann arrived today.

Monday, October 9, 2006

PGH Trip

We went to Pittsburgh, PA to visit the in-laws. We left on Friday around 6:30 pm and I was able to work on a few rows on sleeve #1 before I had to call it quits. My grandiose plans included trips to 2 LYS (Knit One and Bonnie Knits) over the weekend. Alas, we only had time to go to Bonnie Knits on Saturday. Little Man was so at home. He just plopped himself on the big chair and played on the Gameboy while Hubby looked at the yarn with me. I spotted some Zitron Trekking XXL which I have never seen before. So in the spirit of Socktoberfest, I asked Hubby to pick 2 colors. Then I saw the 50% off bin and scooped up a bag of Filatura di Crosa 501 (another new to me). Happy Day!

L-R: Filatura di Crosa 501 #213, Trekking XXL 105, Trekking XXL 110

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Ribby Shell - it's about time

Still high from finishing off the kiddie sweater (or seeing my kid learn to inline skate on the road), I was itching to start another project. Then I remembered that I had 2 projects that just needed seaming so they can come-off the list. I opted for the easier one. Ribby Shell just needed the shoulders seamed (all 40 stitches in all). This is something I can wear to work - under a cardigan or jacket, so why not?

I was all ready for the photoshoot but then the camera said "card is full". It must've been the movies we took of Pumpkin Girl skating while Little Man was riding his bike earlier that afternoon. Hubby said it would take 31 minutes to download the pictures from the camera so I just went ahead and started dinner and totally forgot about the photo shoot until today.

Ribby Shell
Pattern: Chic Knits
Yarn: 3 balls TLC Cotton Plus in Cream
Needles: Addi Circulars in US #8
(08/22/06 - 09/16/06)

I knit the ribbed version. I will definitely knit another one ... maybe the flat-paneled version next.

Socktoberfest 2006

Last night I cast on for my first adult size sock. I chose the pattern Broad Ripple. It took me four times to cast on for this sock. I almost bagged the whole idea of Socktoberfest. Somehow, I don't remember it being that difficult to cast on for the 3 pairs of kiddie socks I knit earlier in the year. Anyway, I got past the cast on row and knitted 6 rows before I set it aside. I will take some pictures once I have something to show.

In the meantime, here's my Sock knitting history in response to Lolly's questionnaire:

  • When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?

    I knit my 1st pair of socks in February 2006. I taught myself using Ann Budd's book and the instructions on the Lion Brand Magic Stripes label.

  • What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?

    I made it using Lion Brand Magic Stripes in Spring Fling for my daughter. I think she's misplaced one of them already.

  • What would you have done differently?
    Maybe knit a longer cuff because I had so much leftover.

  • What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
    The only yarns I've used so far are - Lion Brand Magic Stripes, Wildfoote Luxury Sock and Lang Jawoll. I like the Lang Jawoll because it has that little spool of matching yarn for reinforcement.

  • Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
    The only needles I've used are Brittany Birch 5" DPNS in US #3

  • Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
    I don't even know what kind of heel it's called in Ann Budd's book.

  • How many pairs have you made?
    I've made 3 pairs of childrens socks to date.

    #1 - February 2006, LB Magic Stripes for 7 year old

    #2 - March 2006, Wildfoote Luxury Sock for 3 year old

    #3 - May 2006, Lang Jawoll for 3 year old

  • Sunday, October 1, 2006

    Piercings and a Finished Sweater

    Piercings! Nope, not me!

    Last year, Pumpkin Girl decided she wanted her ears pierced. We took her to the mall, picked out the earrings and took our turn. The worst thing happened - the gun misfired! We left the mall. She was in tears and we had nothing to show for it.

    Here we are a year later and she was determined to get her ears pierced when she turned 8. I found out from her that most of the girls in her 3rd grade class have their ears pierced. No pressure from me. However, Grandma kept telling her "if you don't have pierced ears, I won't buy you earrings".

    Grandma, this one's for you.

    When I bought the School Spirit Sweater pattern a year ago, I had envisioned knitting it for Pumpkin Girl. Pumpkin Girl is a tough one to knit for. She rarely wears long sleeves and when she does it is usually a cardigan. When I was going through patterns, Little Man saw this and immediately requested one in orange and blue. He picked a winner!

    Air guitar pose

    School Spirit Sweater
    Pattern: Knit and Tonic
    Yarn: 2+ balls Lion Cotton-Ease Icy Blue and Orangeade for trim
    Needles: Addi Circulars in US #6 and #7
    (09/17/06 - 09/30/06)

    Friday, September 29, 2006

    A birthday and some knitting

    Photo taken in August while on vacation.

    My how time flies. We had a busy week. Pumpkin Girl turned 8 last Saturday. Instead of a birthday party with friends, she opted for -
    1) the traditional meal at Red Robin's (she gets a kick when the staff sings Happy Birthday to her).
    2) a trip to Chuck E. Cheese to play
    3) shopping at Limited Too (Grandma's gift)
    4) and a trip to a small boutique that carries Hello Kitty stuff.

    On top of that, she got a set on inline skates (which she uses inside the house) and some other toys she's been asking for. She also decided that she wants to get her ears pierced. This will have to wait until this Saturday though.

    Mr. Bear eyeing his share of the celebration.

    Since room painting was put on hold this weekend, this meant I had some time to knit on Sunday while doing all the laundry. Little Man sure has an eye for color. Look at the color combination he picked out for his top-down sweater.

    Sneak peek of School Spirit Sweater

    Happy Friday!

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    Bad Blogger and a pictureless post

    For those of you still hanging around, thanks!

    Knitting has been put on the back burner. I started Chic Knits' Ribby Shell when we got back from vacation in August and I knit 60% of it in 4 evenings before I had to set it aside. We were bitten by the home redecoration bug and have been doing a bit of musical chairs.

    1) Pumpkin Girl moved out of her cotton candy pink (as in her pink Hello Kitty TV melded to her wall) room. She needs bigger closet space (she's going to be 8 soon after all) so we moved her to the guest room (2nd largest room). Of course, blue guest room had to be repainted to lilac (her choice). Black Ikea dressers were repainted white.

    2) Little Man will move into his room when we cover the cotton candy pink walls with a light green (his choice) paint. What used to be the nursery was repainted a pale orange and will eventually be a study room (moonlighting also as a craft room for me) as soon as we get all the stuff moved out.

    Since weekends have been mostly dedicated to painting, I barely had the energy to pick up the knitting. Forget the weeknights because I'm always driving Pumpkin Girl to all her evening activities:

    Monday - Swim class
    Tuesday/Thursday - Soccer practice
    Wednesday - Religion class
    Saturday - Soccer game

    Last Friday, I picked up the needles and finished off the Ribby Shell while watching our regular Friday Sci-Fi shows. I only need to seam the shoulders then it will be ready for a pictorial. In the meantime, I started the School Spirit Sweater for Little Man. I pulled out the LB Cotton Ease stash and he picked Icy Blue/Orangeade as his colors.

    There are still some projects lingering on my sidebar that need to be finished. Oh and get this ... DH let me knit him a sweater. He wants a man-sized Placket Pullover like Little Man's. Buying yarn has been put on hold until I finish his sweater. Yikes! I better get started on that.

    Saturday, August 19, 2006

    My Beach Knit

    I started this project at home way back when. I brought it along to finish up while on vacation. ChicKami was knit by the pool and on the beach. I overheard an interesting conversation while I was knitting poolside.

    Man says to wife(?): What is she doing? Is that [overhead fighter planes drown all noise]
    Wife answers: No, she's knitting. My mom used to knit.

    I quickly pack up my stuff and go searching for my family in the indoor pool.

    Pattern: Chic Knits
    Yarn: 2+ balls TLC Cotton Plus in Mint
    Needles: Addi Circulars in US #6 and #8
    (07/25/06 - 08/18/06)

    I knit the skinny strap version. I will definitely knit another one ... maybe the wide strap version next. TLC Cotton Plus is becoming a staple in my household. I love how it holds up in the washer and dryer. I just wish my local craft store carried more colors.

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Beach bound

    I'm still here. Visitors arrived at Casa Bear Knits on Aug 5th and stayed until the 13th. During that time, I must have knit all of 3 rows on my ChicKami. To top it off, sprinkler guys accidentally cut our cable access so no Internet access at home until cable guys fix it on the 21st.

    After I dropped off the visitors at IAD on Sunday morning, we turned around and packed up the car to head off to our yearly beach trip.

    Mondo Cable in action

    Once we were settled in and everything, I pulled out my project only to notice that I had to rip out the last 8 rows as I had an extra stitch.

    ChicKami on the beach

    All is well now and I will have a FO to post soon. Pictures to follow later.

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    From the mouths of babes

    Pumpkin Girl loves to draw. Last night she was drawing clothes on a sheet of paper. She looks over at me and this is how our conversation went ...

    PG: "What are you knitting Mom?"
    Me: Your tank.

    Pumpkin Girl: "What will it look like?"
    Me: Hmm. A simple tank with 2 straps.

    Pumpkin Girl: "Wouldn't it be funner if you design it on a sheet of paper and have someone else knit it for you?"
    Me: [speechless] ... but I enjoy the knitting part of it, too.

    Mind you Pumpkin Girl is only 7 years old.

    Saturday, July 8, 2006

    Do you see the dolphin?

    Talk about instant gratification! This one did not even make it to the side bar. I joined the Monthly Dishcloths KAL a couple of months ago after seeing some nice FOs at Sew.Crafty's blog. I already had some cotton yarn in the stash so that's even better ... a stashbuster. In the end, it also turned out with some lace, so another Amazing Lace FO, too.

    No time to block it. I had to take a picture quickly since Pumpkin Girl already claimed it hers.

    July 1st Daily Rows
    Pattern: Monthly Dishcloth KAL
    Yarn: Peaches & Creme in Baby Green
    Needles: Addi Circular in US #7
    July 6-7, 2006

    Monday, July 3, 2006

    Mondo Cable

    It all started as a stashbuster project. What to do with some Orange Cotton Ease? I kept looking at the Chic Knits site. Lo and behold, I saw Bonne-Marie's pattern in orange no less. A new project was born!

    This will be a perfect tank to wear at the beach in August.

    Mondo Cable
    Pattern: Chic Knits
    Yarn: 2 balls Lion Cotton-Ease in Orangeade
    Needles: Addi Circulars in US #8, #9 and #10
    (06/17/06 - 07/01/06)

    Modifications: I added a purl ditch in the back. My row gauge was off so I had to add a fourth cable. I knit everything else as specified. Once I seamed the sides, I could not figure out how to seam the bound-off stair-stepped straps. Out came my lifesaver, I ripped back a few rows from the back/front and did some short rows and a 3-needle bind off.

    New Technique learned: short row shaping

    Thursday, June 29, 2006

    MC's got back

    I was knitting along on Mondo Cable last night when Pumpkin Girl made an interesting comment. "Mom how come you don't take pictures of your knitting anymore?"

    OK sweet girl, here are some pictures for you.

    1 ball of Cotton Ease with 2 yards to spare

    Maybe one more cable before the V neck split.

    Project update: Poor Orangina has been neglected since Mondo Cable came around. I promise to get back to you soon.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    Talk about extreme

    No, it isn't Halloween yet over at Chez Bear Knits. No need to adjust your monitor. I got tired of the black and wanted some color. I got some Cotton Ease in the stash and immediately cast on for this over the weekend. I'm way off with the row gauge so I put the back piece on hold and started the front piece.

    Orangina does look teeny compared to Mondo Cable

    On another note, look what I received in the mail ... beautiful MaineStream Zephyr Painted. I ordered this when they had a BOGO (buy one get one 50% off) sale.

    4 oz of Waterfall

    Mr. Bear begging new yarn to be Amazing Lace teammate.

    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    Chasing a dream

    3.5" of ribbing to go

    I have a sinking feeling that Orangina will not fit when I complete it ... yet I continue to knit on this project. I think just seeing the lace panels grow is amazing. Orangina has definitely turned into a process knit for me. It may not fit now but that forces me to work on losing the weight I've gained over the last year.

    Sunday, June 4, 2006

    Amazing Lace update

    It seems that Team Bear Knits is off to a great start.

    The first leg of the relay has been done. Teammate Green Gables was actually worn to work last Friday and received some nice compliments. The yarn (TLC Cotton Plus) seems to be holding up. I can see us partnering up for future projects.

    The second leg of the relay is progressing nicely. I am attempting to knit Orangina's pieces at the same time so that once I'm done with the lace, it will be ribbing then seaming. Any tips to seaming black projects???

    This showed up over the weekend - some Evita Zitron I acquired from Bron's stash sale. It could potentially be another teammate (Soleil) in the making.

    Monday, May 29, 2006

    Green Gable #2 is here

    Happy Memorial Day!

    Green Gable (my Project Spectrum knit and my Amazing Lace teammate) made its debut today. It already got wet in a water gun fight this morning. I had to dry off a bit before taking this picture.

    Green Gable
    Pattern: Zephyr Style
    Yarn: TLC Cotton Plus in Kiwi
    Needles: Addi Circular in US #8 and 6
    (04/29/06 - 05/22/06)

    Modifications: Just like my previous one, I knitted extra rows before the sleeves separated. I added 2 more decreases in the bust area and several increase rows in the hip area to give an hourglass silhouette. I also added a couple of inches in the length of the body and an inch in the sleeves before the ribbing.

    This is the first time I've used this yarn. It is very easy on the hands. It is machine washable and dryable ... I'll see how this garment turns out after the first wash/dry.

    Monday, May 22, 2006

    Birthday Knits

    Last year I finished knitting my first tank on my birthday. It was a very simplified Citrus Moon Cami (a variation of the Honeymoon Cami by Julia Trice).

    Completed 5/22/05 - 1 year old knit

    I'm hoping I'll finish Green Gable tonight after work. Just a few more rows on the body and the sleeve plus some ribbing. Maybe this will be another birthday knit.

    Anxious to be done 5/22/06

    Maybe I'll make this a tradition and have a FO on my birthday.

    Sunday, May 21, 2006

    Socks ... just in time

    I started this pair of socks two months ago. I purposely made them a lot longer so Little Man can grow into them for the Fall. Yesterday while I was working on the second sock, Little Man tried on the first sock - it fits! My has his feet grown. I hurriedly finished off the second sock so he can wear it now.

    Whee ... my 2nd pair!

    Finished while watching Batman Begins

    Identical socks down to the toe.

    Little Man's Socks #2
    Pattern: Ann Budd (3x1 rib)
    Yarn: Lang Jawoll in #154
    Needles: Brittany Birch 5" DPNS in US #3
    (03/16/06 - 05/20/06)

    This is the first time I've used this sock yarn. It comes with a matching spool of reinforcement yarn for the heels and toes. How cute it that!

    P.S. - He wore it to sleep and is still running around the house with the socks on. Success!

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    Amazing Lace: Meet the Team

    Team Captain

    It's been busy over here at Bear Knits. Applications have been filtering in to be considered for the team relay event. I think potential teammates are shying away because they doubt the experience and commitment level here at Bear Knits. After all, Bear Knits only has 2 lace projects to boast of - a simple yet elegant Branching Out and the very recent Red Gable - so I can understand their hesitance.

    Here are two teammates that actually made an appearance:

    Green Gable is a returning teammate here at Bear Knits. We first teamed up in April as Red Gable. This time in a very courageous move, the yarn was swapped for cotton/acrylic. Let's see if this was a smart move on my behalf, only time will tell.

    Orangina is not new here either. It showed up early (a few weeks ago) but made a detour to the frog pond because of sizing issues. The pattern was a cinch but the yarn color - Oy! I had a love/hate relationship with the black yarn. We've developed a more harmonious working relationship.

    Nevertheless, the door is still wide open for potential teammates out there. Have some faith in me (I don't bite ... but I'll sniff ya) and we will make each other proud! Go Team!

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    Major Stash Enhancement

    Look what arrived in the mail today!

    This is the reason I had to drop out of the Stashalong KAL on March 15th.
    Two words - PEACE FLEECE.
    After reading the reviews, I could not let a KAL stop me from buying yarn.
    At $4.50/skein, I think I did pretty good.
    It was a successful yarn coop for me.

    Galooboy Blue for Little Man; Perestroika Pink for Pumpkin Girl
    Moscow Magic Pink, Georgia Rose and Lena's Meadow for me.
    Will Rogue be in Green or Pink?