Kids Cats & Knitted Hats

This is my little spot to share the things I'm learning to do with my knitting looms.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Some Excitement & a New Project

Okay, first for the excitement. Last Thursday night (actually Friday morning around 2:30 AM) my husband and I were awakened by a strange sound that turned out to be our TV/VCR combo trying to spit out a tape. We turned on the lights to find that they were very dim and fading in and out. Then we heard a loud POP, and when I went into the hallway to investigate, I smelled a strong electrical smell. I got the kids out of bed and took them downstairs while my husband called the fire department -- we were sure there was a fire in the attic. Every time we would try to turn on a light, something else would pop, and in the living room the cable box sparked and popped without being messed with.

Well, four firetrucks, two rescue squad trucks and one police car arrived at our house within a few minutes. They thoroughly checked out the house and determined that it was an electrical problem, but there was no fire -- thanks be to God!

Long story short, we had a problem with one of the electrical wire thingies coming into our house, and the power company had to come out and tear down a shed behind our house to dig up everything. It had caused a power surge that completely fried our TV cable and blew the cable boxes. The only things we lost were my younger son's TV, my older son's alarm clock, power surge protector (ironic, huh?) and the mother board and power supply on his computer.

Lots of excitement at our house that night! While we were sitting in our living room with firemen all over our house, it occurred to me how many things we take for granted, even when we truly think we're being thankful. I realized how quickly we could have lost everything we have. But I also realized that the only things in my life that really matter are the PEOPLE (and kitties) I love -- things can be replaced. I knew that already, but that night I REALLY KNEW it. In fact, I told my boys while we waited in the living room, "We have everything we need right here in this room. But if we have to evacuate, you guys get the cats and I'll grab my looms and yarn!" Okay, so some things are important! LOL

Anyway, on to knitting . . . .

I haven't gotten a lot of things made because I've been working on my Infinity Loom. Oh, how I LOVE it!! Here's the afghan I'm working on now:

The picture was taken when I had just started my third skein of Homespun; now I'm almost to the end of the third one. I love the way it's coming out. I let my hubby choose the colors for this one which explains the earthy tones. When I make one for me it'll be all girly!

I L*O*V*E my 20" AJAL! The first project I did was a checkerboard scarf for Gerard (hubby). I had made him one before on the purple KK, but he said it was too loopy -- he kept catching the loops on things and pulling the yarn. So I whipped one out on my small gauge AJAL -- much better!! See the difference:
The one on the left was made on the purple KK with Bernat's Softee Chunky, two strands held together. The one on the right was made on the AJAL with Red Heart using a single strand. All I have to do is add fringes and it's all done.

How can this little square make a 40-year old woman happy?
This is the first dishcloth I made on the AJAL -- it doesn't look like much, but I just love using it! Doesn't that sound silly? It really does seem to work better than regular old dishcloths. I went out and bought six or seven more skeins of 100% cotton yarn so I make a drawer full of these little babies.

Now I'm going to do some more fun projects -- maybe some of the bunny purses everyone is going crazy with. And as soon as Isela has a pattern available for her cable purse, I'll drop everything and make one of those!

Oh, so many projects, so little time! Just how important are clean floors anyway?

Thanks for reading! Loom on!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Busy Weekend - Regional Champs

What a busy weekend it was! My son's basketball team competed in the Central Virginia 12 & Under AAU Basketball Tournament. They won the championship and will advance to the state tournament at the end of April. This is our second year as Regional Champs. Last year we were #2 in the state and finished #15 at Nationals. My son is in the back row - #32. The coach kneeling in the front row is my hubby. Aren't they cuties?

While waiting at the gym between games and in the hotel in the evenings, I worked on a few knitting projects. We must have done a lot of waiting, because I accomplished more than I thought I would.

I made another Bangle Purse from the Learning to Knit on Circle Looms book. This one came out great. This is a really quick project, and it turns out so sweet!

Next I tried Patti's Eyeglass Case Pattern. Very easy to do (just remember to use the flat stitch throughout -- I ended up frogging because I started with the ewrap). I'll have to make a black and gray one now to match my car!

I purchased a Honeycomb Beanie pattern from and made it this weekend. I just love it! I showed it to my younger son and he said it looked like guacamole, so disregard the color if you don't like green (or at least that shade of green). I promise it looked prettier in the store! Anyway, I really like this pattern because it includes instructions for decreasing so the top isn't so bulky.

Next came a purple Mock Crochet hat. I had made one before, but this time instead of a ribbed brim, I used the garter stitch (knit one row, purl one row - I did this for 5 or 6 rows). I love the Mock Crochet stitch in a hat -- it comes out so lightweight. I made this one a tad too long, but the brim can be rolled up to make it the right length.

When using the mock crochet stitch for a round item like a hat, skip the part of the instructions where it tells you to wrap 3, 2 and then 1 at the end of the row. For a round item, you just keep wrapping the three pegs until the desired length is reached. At the end of the very last row, you do the 3, 2, 1 thing.

This might be my favorite project of the weekend. Sara posted a pattern for a Cupcake Hat on her blog, and I just had to try it. Oh my goodness, how cute it is!! What I love most about it is that it looks really hard, but it's EASY, so it's sure to impress!! Unfortunately I don't have any little girls in my house, and for some reason my boys just refuse to try it on ;), so I guess I'll have to take it to church and let one of the little munchkins there wear it.

Oh, when I returned home from the tournament, I was thrilled to find that my looms from Decor Accents had arrived!! Oooh, I'm having so much fun playing with them! I love, love, LOVE my 20" A-Just-A-Loom and am thinking I might need the 12" too (to take with me when we travel). I'll post some photos soon.

Happy looming!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Have You Bought the Book??

Have you bought Denise Layman's Learn to Knit on Circle Looms book yet?

I bought mine from Decor Accents and received it within a couple of days.

This book is really good. The pictures are great, and she covers all the basics needed to get started.

I made the small bangle bag last night using a set of bangle bracelets I found in my jewelry box, some Red Heart yarn in black, and some Fun Fur Prints.

It was pretty easy to do. I made it a little short since I was just playing with the pattern. I think I did something wrong because my handles weren't exactly right -- maybe I pulled up the wrong loops or used handles that were a little too big or something. I plan to try it again, and as soon as I can get my hands on the larger bamboo handless I'll make the larger one.

I can see making the larger ones and using them as gift bags. Wouldn't you love to receive a set of Bath & Body Works lotions, body wash, etc presented in one of these bags? Or wouldn't a little girl love getting one of these with some cute jewelry tucked inside? Too cute!!

I can also see our knitting group making these to use for Christmas goodie bags. Oh, the ideas!

Anyway, grab this book. It's well worth $9.95 ($13 including tax from DA). (By the way - I'm not affiliated with Denise in any way -- just a fan of the book!)

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Two More Samplers & a Kitty Mystery

I'm having so much fun playing with new stitches on the looms, and since I'll be receiving my new Infinity Board and AJAL from Decor Accents soon, I've been playing around with board stitches as well. Here's what I've come up with.

These were done on the blue Knifty Knitter as a flat panel. If you click on the photos you can see the detail.

Gray - Graciela's Skip & Purl Stitch
Cream - Graciela's Skipped Stitch
Black - Graciela's Tile Stitch -- I'm so bummed you can't see it because of the black. Check out Graciela's blog - you can really see it there. It's so pretty!

I learned the next stitches from the Stitch Pattern books available at Loom Knitting. I bought them after Sara raved about them, and she was right -- they're really helpful.

White - Elongated Stitch (I think this might be the same thing as the Dropped Stitch I've seen described other places). I've seen it used to weave a ribbon into a project, and even by itself it's really pretty.
Blue - Knit Goosebump Stitch
Light Blue - Popcorn Stitch

Blue - Popcorn Stitch again
Pink - Mock Popcorn (from the Stitch Patterns book)
Gray - Mock Crochet Stitch
Cream - Alternate Flat & Ewrap Stitch - I can't remember which group this one came from. I'll add it here as soon as I find it so I can give its "Mom" credit!

Okay, those were fun, but what really excited me was finding new stitches to use on the knitting boards. This is the whole thing:

Starting at the left:
Multicolor - Basic Stockinette
Blue - Figure 8 as described in the KK pamphlet

White - Fashion Stitch, described in the KK pamphlet
Blue - Ribbing
Tan - Open Ribbing

White - Zig Zag Stitch (Not the one in the KK pamphlet that is also known as the Fashion Stitch - this one is very different, and I LOVE it! )
Gray - Stockinette E-Wrap - from the Files section of the Yahoo Board Knitters Group
Cream - Purl Stitch - I was so excited to finally learn how to purl on a knitting board! This one is also found in the Files Section of the Yahoo Board Knitters Group.

Dark Blue - Garter Stitch (alternating Knit and Purl Rows)
White - Seed Stitch (alternating K1P1 and P1K1 rows)
Blue/White - Zig Zag Stitch again - I liked this one so much that I wanted to repeat it in "color" in case the white didn't show up well in the photo.

I wish I had a more creative mind and could look at something I like and make it for myself (without needing a pattern). I'd love to make this Chunky Cable Purse. If anyone knows of a pattern for the looms, please let me know!

Now for the Kitty Mystery.

Exhibit A: The Victim.

Poor little Bud. Saturday morning my hubby and I were having our coffee before he headed in to work, and we heard a pitiful cry outside on the deck. I looked out and there was Sweet, Innocent Little Bud - our full-time INDOOR cat, outside! The night before we had fallen asleep on the couch watching a movie and were awakened by a loud noise. We checked around and found nothing, so we went on up to bed. It had been a beautiful day in VA so the windows were up; turns out the screen was broken, probably by Bud on his way out.

Question is, how did my poor little innocent baby get out?

He either:
(1) Pushed the screen out and escaped, or
(2) (more likely) Fell asleep in the windowsill, leaning against the screen which couldn't hold his weight, so he fell out (which would explain the crashing sound - OUCH!), or
(3) (even more likely) He was PUSHED.

Who would do such a thing? Exhibit B: The Suspect.

This is Whiskers, and as you can see, she loves to sit in the windowsill. Maybe Bud was in her spot that evening. Maybe she had just finally had enough of his wide-eyed, look-at-me-I'm-so-cute, everybody-loves-Bud routine. Maybe her hormones were raging. Who knows? All we know is that Bud ended up outside, and ever since we found him out there and brought him back in, Whiskers won't have a thing to do with him. She hisses, growls, chases him, screams, and generally acts like she's lost her mind. Maybe he smells funny from being outside, or maybe she just finally found her chance to try to get him out of the house.

Exhibit C: The Witness.

There was only one witness to the events of Saturday night. This is Begonia, and she ain't talkin'. I don't think she's to be trusted, though. Sometimes she acts like she's on Bud's side, running to him and offering comfort after Whiskers terrorizes him. At other times she's right beside Whiskers, watching her hiss and growl. She looks innocent, but I'm not so sure her intentions are pure.

I feel like I'm becoming a Kitty Psychiatrist or something, trying to get them to get along again. Never a dull moment in a house with kitties!

Okay, yes, I do have two boys, and I promise to show them off a little. I just need to take a few pictures.

Thanks for reading. Knit on!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Hat / Scarf Sets Finished

I've finished the hats and scarves for the girls at church. I hope they like them, though with the wonderful change in the weather they probably won't be able to use them until next year. I didn't do anything fancy with these since I needed to finished them quickly.

This is the set for the oldest sister. She's 13 and wanted black and gray. The hat on the left has a doubled brim; the one on the right has a ribbed brim.

The next sister just turned 12. She wanted a white set -- hers came out more of a cream color, but I think she'll like it. The hat on the right has a doubled brim with the hat done with a 2 over 1 stitch. The hat on the right was done with the mock crochet stitch. I think she'll like that one. I may have to go back and do a mock crochet hat for the older sister.

The third sister is 8 years old. The hat on the left has a double brim; the one on the right has a ribbed brim (K1P1 for a few rows).

The last sister is a pint sized 6 year old pistol. She's just so cute! Her set is done with Patons Divine (like the others) with a strand of Caron Simply Soft. As small as her scarf is, I'm still worried that it will be a little too big. She is TEENY.

I finally tried to make scrunchies, and I was so amazed at how simple they are! I made all three of these this morning; each one took less than 30 minutes from start to finish. I made one last night, but I used a pony tail holder that isn't stretchy enough. I went to the Dollar General store and found a pack of 100 pony tail holders for $1.00. I'll be making scrunchies for everyone!

These three are made with one strand of Fun Fur (top left), Bernat Eyelash (top right), and Patons Divine (bottom). I ewrapped and knitted 10 rows and pulled the first stitches up like making a hat brim, placing the pony tail holder between the stitches (not on the pegs). Then I knitted off and did a crochet bind off. Simple as pie!

I made a "sampler" tube to use in my knitting group at church, to show a few of the stitches that can be done on the looms. A few weeks back I purchased some stitch pattern books from Loom Knitting and I used this sampler as an opportunity to play with some of the stitches in the books. I only did a small number of stitches in the book; I'll have to do another sampler with some of the other stitches. I thought these would be plenty to get our little group started.

I started with the Cable Cast on. I used two strands of yarn throughout.

From the left:
Tan - basic ewrap, knit 1 over 1, 12 rows
Black - ewrap, knit 1 over 2, 12 rows
Blue - garter stitch, 14 rows
Tan - purl stitch, 10 rows
Gray - Rib stitch, 10 rows

Black - double rib stitch, 10 rows
White - seed stitch, 10 rows
Blue - moss stitch, 12 rows
Multi-color - flat stitch, 15 rows
Gray - mock crochet stitch, 8 rows

Gray - mock crochet stitch
Blue - checkerboard
Tan - chunky braid stitch, 5 rows
White - half stitch (wrap 4 times, knit off 2 over 2), 5 rows
Blue - double stitch (wrap 3 times, knit off 1 over 2), 10 rows.
Ended with Super Stretchy Bind Off

I tried my hand at Crystal's Flat Bottom Bag last night. The first one I did on the Blue KK, but I did something wrong and ended up with a slightly lop-sided thing. So I frogged it and tried again on my Mitten Loom (since I wanted it smaller to hold my cell phone). I'll be frogging that one too, as I made the flap too long.

That's what I love about looming. You can follow the directions and make something beautiful, or you can deviate from the directions and either make something wonderful or make a real mess. But you can always rip it apart and start over. I'm having so much fun learning new stitches and making cool things. I've never considered myself a crafty person, so each new thing I learn to do with my loom makes me feel a little more creative!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Kitties Everywhere

My furbabies just love to help me knit. Here are just a few pictures I couldn't resist sharing.

This is Whiskers - our "full-figured" feline. She's lying beside one of the hats-in-progress that I'm working on for the girls in my church.

Here she is again later, after the hat was finished. I had set a completed scarf and the hat down at the end of the air mattress, and naturally she assumed they were meant for her. Look closely - she's right on top of them - the scarf is her bed and the hat is her pillow.

Why on earth did I have an air mattress in the middle of my living room? My family has been blessed with a rare situation. My husband's best friend is married to my best friend, and their kids and our kids are close as well. Their older son and my younger son are like brothers. We've only known each other for 8 years, but it truly feels like we've been lifelong friends. We met in Sunday School class and started hanging out. Now we are family more than friends. I say it's a rare situation because usually either the husbands or wives are friends and the other spouses are acquaintences. We really believe God brought us all together.

Back to the air mattress. My best friend is undergoing treatment for cancer, and when she went to North Carolina for surgery last week, her kids came to stay with us. We have three bedrooms, so we rolled out the air mattress to make room for everyone. It was a bit too cold to put it in the family room in the basement, so we kept it in the family room on our main level and my husband and I slept on it (so of course that's where the cats ended up). While you're reading this, please say a prayer for my friend. She's such a strong person, and she and her husband have amazing faith. We know she'll be fine, but she and her family are traveling a tough road right now.

My friend's daughter took this picture of Bud. Poor thing. She and my older son caught him sound asleep and placed a hat on his head. He didn't even acknowledge them except for giving them a drowsy one-eyed glance.

Bud's a really sound sleeper. Just look:

We have one more cat - Begonia, our prim and proper little lady. We haven't caught her on camera lately, but we'll work on it.

Meanwhile, I'm still working on those hats and scarves for the girls in our church. I'll post pictures as soon as I can.

Thanks for reading -- knit on!

Friday, March 03, 2006

New looms ordered!!!

Oooh, I did it! I had a good week with my ebay and website sales, so I treated myself to the 48" infinity board and 20" AJAL from Decor Accents, Inc.

If you're looking for me, I'll be waiting by my mailbox until they arrive!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Yarn stash for projects!

Woohoo! Our associate pastor/minister of music has four adorable girls (ages 6, 8, 12 and 13), and one of our ladies asked me to make hat/scarf sets for each of them - if I had time. If I had time! I told her I would MAKE time to work on my looms! :)

So she brought this yarn stash to me last week:

So many soft, yummy yarns! These girls are going to be so excited with their goodies. So far I've only finished two hats and started one scarf. I'm not letting this beautiful spring weather deter me. I figure they can wear them next winter if spring arrives before I finish!

One of the girls asked for gray / black, so I started with this hat. The brim is boucle (that's another story in itself!) and the body is Patons Divine.

Here's the scarf-in-progress to match the hat. I started with 10 rows of boucle, and the rest will be done with one strand of Divine and one strand of Red Heart (black). I'll add another 10 rows of black on the other end, and then I'll decide whether to add fringes. The next time I do one like this, I'll start with fewer solid color rows I think.

Another sister wanted white, so here's her hat:

The brim is two strands of TLC Baby in a creamy-yellowish color, while the rest is in white Divine. I'm not completely happy with the hats, and it looks like I'll have plenty of yarn, so I'll probably make each girl two hats each (in different styles) so they can have a couple of choices.

Now back to that Boucle. Oh my goodness, can you say YARN GUTS?? When I started the first hat I was pulling from the center of the skein, and guess what I found -- bunches of KNOTS. What a mess! I should have taken a photo, but I was too busy trying to get it all untangled. I worked on it for over an hour one evening, my husband took over and worked for over an hour, and then I worked on it again the next evening. FINALLY we got it all straightened out, but unfortunately I had to rip the hat apart and start over, and the yarn was broken in a couple of places. Here's the result after putting it on my yarn winder and making neat balls (and after using some for the brim of the hat):

Hard to believe that little pile of yarn almost caused a meltdown! LOL

Just look at that face! Isn't he handsome? That's not my son, but he may as well be. He's one of the players on my husband's basketball team -- he turned 12 in January and is 6'3" tall! He TOWERS over the other players! He's holding the trophy we received for winning the tournament! Anyway, see the hat on his head? That's how I spent my weekend between basketball games. I knitted a hat for my son in his team colors, and he started a trend. One by one each of the players asked for his own hat, so I'm in the process of finishing up the last of eleven blue hats. I think I have four more to go. Whew!

I'm working on my afghan on the yellow Knifty Knitter. I'm making panels and will whipstitch them together. Here's my progress so far:

One panel done. I'm using Homespun yarn and the garter stitch (alternating knit and purl rows). I love the way it's turning out -- I think it will be toasty warm but not too heavy.

I've started my second panel:

I'm keeping the first panel on the loom until I decide whether to make it longer. Right now it's about 36" long.

I picked up a set of these cute row counters at Walmart, ran a piece of yarn through it, and tied it to the last peg on the loom. I wrap a row, knit off a few pegs, and go back and purl those pegs. When I reach the end I switch the number, so I guess I'm really counting pairs of rows? Anyway, I figure as long as I'm consistent it'll be okay.

I'm really playing with the idea of buying a 48" infinity knitting board and a 20" A-Just-A-Loom from Decor Accents, Inc. Oooooh, where's the loom fairy when I need her?? I'm hoping my next entry will be a celebration -- cross your fingers for me!