Thursday, December 31, 2009

{Tons of Randomness}

I'm so glad that Blog-land has come back to life after the holidays. I missed you guys! I've sorta been going crazy without any school or work and all your guys' posts have been keeping me occupied. I check my blogger dashboard like 5 times a day. hehe! So thanks everyone!

Today's post is going to be extremely random because I have all these blog posts rolling around in my head and I figured I'd just mush 'em all in to one big long soliloquy. So here goes!

Knit Picks Harmony Needles: Review

There was a comment on my Christmas post that wanted me to review my new needles because she was thinking of buying some for herself. These needles are really fantastic and I totally love them! So far they haven't come apart at the join at all (once I use the key provided for tightening). They are super smooth wood, but not as smooth as metal, and they are SUPER pretty! The colours in the wood make me happy as I'm knitting miles of stockinette. hehe The cord is also really flexible, which I'm thinking will be a big help once I start knitting gloves and such using the Magic Loop method. Another thing that's great is that they are the pointiest needles I've ever knit with and it makes a huge difference. I'm very very happy with them!

All White Again:

Being that hubby and I have had our head in the sand for the last 5 days while he's been on break we hadn't looked at a weather report at all, so these 2 inches came as a huge surprise. hehe When I looked this morning, Weather people are calling for snow every night this week and negative temperatures in Fahrenheit!! It's gonna get cold here, people.

Another Christmas Gift:

I fell in love with this little clutch the moment I saw it, but couldn't justify buying it for myself. That's how it ended up on my Christmas list! It's from the etsy shop Ponder and Stitch. It's so perfect and girly! At first I was going to use it for a makeup bag, but couldn't stand the thought of getting makeup all over this beautiful vintage fabric and lace.

Instead it's holding some knitting notions! A small tape measure, my knitting gauge thingy, some stitch markers. Perfect! Now I carry it with me in my knitting bag! :D

How cute is that coordinating fabric inside??? Thanks Amy for being so awesome!!

Project My First Sweater Update:

I finished the back of the sweater last night and I'm pretty proud of myself. Three days I think it took me? It's the first time I've felt really comfortable doing the shaping around the waist of a piece like this. Before I sorta... made it up as I went. lol

See all the strings at the top? I'm pretty sure I messed up the neck shaping something terrible. It says to do neck shaping and arm hole shaping "At the same time" so I guess I was thinking you have to do them on the same row... but when you bind off the LAST five stitches in a row you end up with one lonely stitch on the end by itself. So.... am I binding off wrong? Or do I just do the neck shaping at the beginning of one row, finish that row, and do the arm hold shaping at the beginning of the next row? Because it doesn't SAY to do that, but I'm guessing it's one of those unwritten rules. lol

As soon as I'm finished writing this post I'll be casting on the front which means I'll be getting in to this! Very excited!

Alright, I'll end this one here and give you guys more randomness tomorrow including new projects that I'm thinking about starting and some MAJOR yarn I got from my Sister in Law!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

{Big New Cast-Ons}

Yesterday I casted on for the Climbing Vines Pullover and I am so excited! It's assembled back, front and sleeves so I'll get my first lessons in seaming once the pieces are knit. It's going pretty fast so far, I have about 6 inches and have begun the decreases for the hips in the back - so far so good I think. I'm nervous about the size that I'm knitting though and I hope it's going to be okay! I'm knitting a 38 because when I measured the bust on a sweater I like it was 17" flat, meaning 34 bust all the way around, right? lol I know this one won't be as stretchy, so I hope it's going to be fine ... but I'm nervous!

I'm knitting it in this yarn that was gifted to me last month from my friend Hope:

It's Plymouth Encore yarn and so far I'm really enjoying it! I know most people wouldn't knit a sweater in something 75% Acrylic, but it's my first real sweater (not counting that previous disaster *shutter*) so I don't think I would trust some expensive wool or anything just yet!

Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

{These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things}

I got so SO much cool stuff for Christmas, but the overall theme was definitely"knitting!"

There were:

three awesome knitting books: Stith 'n Bitch, The Knitter's Handy book of Patterns, and Knitting Without Tears from friends and Mr. Pie (I'll review any or all of these later if anyone is interested, or maybe even if you aren't. :P )

some really cool buttons made out of antlers from my mom:

Knit Picks knitting chart keeper:

Knit Picks blocking mats:

and... (drum roll please) Knit Picks Harmony Interchangeables!! YAY!!

I am one contented knitter!! :D I pretty much can't think of any other tools I'll need in my knitting career that I don't have now!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

{My First Year as a Knitter}

In summary of all the cool stuff I've learned to do this year, here is a collage of some of the projects I'm most proud of, all completed in 2009 (with maybe a few more to be added in the next week. hehe).

I'm becoming obsessed with Collages in Picasa

As you can see, I sorta had a thing for hats this year. hehe I did my first lace scarf, and my first shawl, my first hat, my first fair isle, my first socks, and so so much more! 2009 will forever be known as my first real year as a knitter! I'm so proud of myself!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

{Christmas Eve Crafting}

Has anyone else noticed how the whole design blogosphere has gone wild for burlap? It's everywhere! Just this morning I've seen it as pillows, chairs, bags, drapes, and valences to name a few! I'm on the hunt for good ways I can begin to use up the yards and yards of burlap I have left over from the wedding. Here was it's original purpose:

So consequently I have about 8 total yards of natural burlap cut in to 18" wide strips that I had the presence of mind to keep (unlike so many of my other crafting leftovers. GAH!)

I was inspired to make some valences for my front room, but I'll need curtain rods before I can do that. I had the itch this morning and needed to do some crafting that only required materials I had on hand!

Then I came across these simple napkin rings at maya*made and it got me to thinkin'. So I scrounged around to see what I had that could substitute for some of her materials. Here's some shots of my process:

Dang, burlap is really messy!

I'll do a tutorial if anyone is interested, but I think it's a pretty straight forward project.

Tools needed: glue gun, scissors, needle with a large eye
The materials I used: burlap, toilet paper roll, green ribbon, brown ribbon (for covering the seam), a small bead

Here's the finished look:

They add a pretty little detail to the dining room, for sure. It's not my favorite project of all time, but it kept me occupied for an hour or so. hehe :) If anyone has any awesome ideas for using burlap, I'm all ears! :)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas Eve with their families. I miss my family dearly this year and wish more than anything that Mr. Pie and I could be home this Christmas with them . It'll only be a couple more years until I move back to the west coast where they are, but that doesn't seem fast enough! I think this is my 9th Christmas in a row away from family... sigh... I'll be home for Christmas if only in my dreams. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

{My First Shawl(ette)}

YAY! It's done and blocked and I love it - even though there are a million tiny little mistakes. I don't even care right now! I'm just so proud of it! :)

Finally, something for me! hehe I have bunch of stuff in the queue I think, but for tonight I'm probably just going to relax. Hope everyone is having a good Christmas Eve Eve. hehe

{My Home}

A ton of people out in the blogosphere have been giving tours of their homes all decorated for the Holidays. I'm particularly pleased with how our little rental looks this year, our 5th Christmas together and in this house.

It really did start out as just a house and I don't think either of us ever thought we'd be seeing our 5th Christmas here. Even though it's a rental, we have really made it our home.

It's not a very large house. In fact, you see straight from the front to the back! In the first photo you see the hallway, the living room and the dining room through the doors! Thank you to everyone else who shared images of their home for the inspiration to share mine! :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

{Coolest. Idea. Ever.}

Christmas Wrapping - Reusable, Affordable and Green! from

I LOVE LOVE this idea and I think I might have to do this next year... maybe I should start shopping for fabrics right away?? I want some sophisticated pretty Christmas ones!

What do you think - could you and your family make the switch?

{ New Colours }

After some inspiration from a Blogger group on Ravelry, I decided to play around with some colours. What does everyone think? Constructive criticism welcome! I was looking for this to help photos pop more. Does it accomplish that? :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

{ Another Crafty Project }

I'm pretty proud of this quick little task! It's not a Christmasy craft, but that's okay. My inspiration for this project came from A Soft Place To Land (she's got TONS of awesome crafts!).

I have about half a dozen glass vases around my house and they really don't match the rustic/warm theme of my decor. I try to fill them with seeds or stones or something natural so they aren't so harsh, but this works WAY better! Was way easy too!

I bought a hot glue gun! Just start at the bottom, trying to
be sure that you get the base nice and straight.

Keep going around and around until you're at the top!
My twine was really thick; I wish I would have paid
more attention to getting it tight to the row below.

Ta Da! Some branches from outside finish it off, and I'm the happiest
I've ever been with my end table. :)

Oh, and here's a picture of where my Christmas tree landed:

Alright folks! I'm pretty determined to finish off that scarf today, so I better get started. I really want to cast on some mittens soon! I want them to have a nice long wrist part that will tuck under my coat! I'll let you know when I decide on a pattern for that. :)

Only 4 more sleeps until Santa gets here!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

{ Christmas Tree and Knitting Updates }

I was surfing around different craft blogs this morning and I caught the crafting bug. I know I saw something like this on one of them, but I couldn't find it again! Please, if anyone knows what crafting blog I bumped in to and saw this, please let me know because I feel bad I didn't bookmark it or something!

So here's the materials I used. All stuff that was laying around the house. The frame came free along with a bigger one I bought, burlap is left over wedding decorations, the lace is from a garage sale and I was using it to wrap gifts last year, and the buttons came with a shirt I bought.

Then, on to starting:

1) Cut burlap using the glass as a template.

2) Cut 3 progressively smaller pieces of lace and tack them
to the burlap with a needle and thread.

3) Iron down some unruly Lace
(hopefully without melting it a little. oops!)

4) TA DA! Put it in the frame!

I don't know where I'm going to put it or anything, but I'll find a spot. I'm think I'm pretty fond of it, considering it took me all of 15 minutes. hehe I'm headed to the hardware store here in a few minutes to pick up a glue gun for another project I have in mind! That coming soon!

I wanted to update you on how my knitting projects are coming too. Yesterday I cast on a slip-stitch scarf that uses scrap yarn and so far I have bout an inch and a bit of scarf:

And I'm one done with one whole repeat of the first chart in the Traveling Woman shawl. It's getting to be pretty tedious work because each row is so so so long now! I guess that makes sense though considering it's final dimensions. hehe I'm happy with how the repeats are going and they're all lined up and stuff. The edges though... lol I think I started with too many stitches and consequently the edge doesn't line up. I'm certainly not taking it all out now. It is my first shawl after all. :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

{ The Great Snows of '09 }

Holy Crow, People. I'm sure many of you out there are in a similar situation right now, but this is not normal for our tiny town in Virginia. Apparently we haven't had more than 5" since about 1991, way way before I moved here! Take a look at what Mr. Pie and I woke up to:


16" and it's still forecasted to snow all day today! Mr. Pie couldn't even make it to work!

So today is going to be a cozy day inside. hehe Good thing I got this little project done yesterday! I've done this once before, where I took the branches that you cut off the bottom of your christmas tree (to make it fit in the stand) and tie them together with some twine. This is hanging in the hall now:

I really like this look! I like that it's rustic, unexpected and uncomplicated. Though it seems to me like it needs just a little something. Any ideas?

A VERY Cool Giveaway!

I think I found a new favorite Etsy store to add to my list! :) Head on over to Tea Rose Home for the chance at a gift certificate!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chrismas Going-Ons

While I'm still plugging away on my Traveling Woman Shawl I decided to take a break and do a quick bulky hat in some Lion's Brand Thick n' Quick. And let me tell you.. It's both THICK and QUICK! I did this hat in about the span of one movie:

look mom, no pattern!

So as we're getting ready for dinner guests tonight, the snow starts. About two hours later, it looks like this outside:

And the inside of the house looks like this:

Should be a fun evening! Happy Friday everyone! We should be getting back to normal Find a Deal Fridays SOON! I promise! :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

General Updates

Hi folks! I hope everyone's Holiday Season is moving along smoothly. :) I have all but one gift out in the mail and the last is going out this afternoon. I have all my gifts bought for Mr. Pie they just need wrapping. All this means that I get to dedicate a bunch of my break to knitting!

I'm truckin' along on the Traveling Woman Shawl, but it's slower going than other projects so far because I'm reading from the charts. I'd post pictures, but it pretty much looks the same as last time. hehe

Oh, and did I mention that I'm done my finals??? YAY! I kinda feel a bit shell shocked still, but I'm makin' my way to relaxed!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2 Finals Down, 1 To Go

... and instead of doing that final that's due today, I'm writing you a post about Gingerbread Houses because yesterday Mr. Pie and I finished our very own Gingerbread house! From Scratch! (and because I'm a pretty good procrastinator. lol) We really didn't know anything about building gingerbread houses unless you count "Buy a kit" as step one. hehe

So we made our gingerbread dough like you would for a gingersnap cookie and rolled it out in to sheets. I cut out templates like those I found online and we got to cutting out our pieces. The crazy part is that our oven is so tiny (just the 24" apartment kind of thing) that we couldn't bake all the pieces at once, so we baked them a couple at a time over 3 days. lol

We were very very nervous when we first started putting the pieces together! Does this look to you like it wants to remain standing?

We let that rest and get hard for an entire day from morning until after dinner, then we delicately added the roof.

You can see there was a slight accident with the roof breaking in half. More on that later! We let that sit overnight and then the next morning we got to decorating!

And here's the final product!

our crazy resident ghost snowman

Here's what we learned and will do different next time:

1. Keep template pieces so you can compare the pre-baked size to the post-baked size. Use a bread knife to cut away what doesn't fit the template anymore.
2. Put the dough in the fridge for a while before you cut the pieces. Otherwise, they stick to the templates!
3. Bake the pieces extra long so that they are very crisp and hard. If they are too soft they fall apart in construction. Ex) the roof. hehe
4. Make your frosting with extra powdered sugar so it's more paste-like than you might use for cookies. Like the consistency of elmer's glue. hehe

On the knitting front I have very little news to give you. I have one last minute Christmas gift, which I said I wouldn't do, but I realized that there was one person I forgot on my list. Argh! It'll be a blue and white hat for the PennState Football team. I bought some LionBrand Thick and Chunky for that. lol Hopefully it'll be done today!

Alright... now I'm off to tackle that stupid essay. Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

1 Final Done, 2 To Go

First of all: I hate being sick. I've been fighting a nasty head cold ALL WEEK. ARGH!

Second of all: I hate finals week, but I most especially hate finals week if I'm sick at THE SAME TIME! I've been asleep at about 7:30 most days this week and I probably really should have been studying. lol

Third of all: I hate that both of these things kept me from knitting! I haven't knit even one stitch, and have had to just stare at this on my desk longingly, instead:

Traveling Woman Shawl

I'm finally starting a project with that sumptuous green yarn that my from Hope bought me! This shawl has two different patterns in it yet to come which means reading the charts, which I haven't done much of yet so far. That's going to be my big stretch with this project. I'm not much of a Shawl Wearer, but I picture me wearing mine more like this:

.. so we'll see. :)

Also, Christmas has visited our house! The tree went up last night! (in between study breaks, of course) and our house smells soooo good. :)

and we bought another piece for our winter village too:

Other than this, it's been school school school all week. Just a few more days and it'll all be done!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

FO and some Snow

Only one full week left of incredibly insane school, then it's Christmas break! YAY!

To help with last week I was knitting on an extremely easy, no thought required, kind of hat with a ball of the free yarn that I got. Here's how it turned out:

Do you see the cool traveling purl stitch all the way around the hat? I thought it was an interesting slightly different approach to a straight forward hat. It's not really in my favorite colours, but it's so warm that I've been wearing it around the house the last few days. hehe I'm sure I'll be able to find it a permanent home soon.

In other news: IT SNOWED!! I really really love the snow, and especially because it was Saturday and I didn't have to leave the house or even change out of my pajamas until we had to go get some groceries mid afternoon. These were taken out the kitchen window in to the back yard:

11 am

Then after that it got kinda warmer and patchier. But it's still on stuck on the grass today! YAY!