Thursday, March 31, 2011

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week - Day Four: Where are they now?

Whatever happened to your __________?

Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. How has one of your past knits lived up to wear?

BB, or blue bunny, was the first toy I ever made.  I made it for my goddaughter, Emery.  I love it because she sleeps with BB every night.  So far BB has stood up to a lot of drool, boogers and dirt.  I think Emery's mom has washed it once or twice too and so far no limbs, ears or anything else is missing.  Not bad for a first toy.  I hope BB can make it all the way to college!

Here's BB when I first made him:

And here is BB with Miss Emery nowadays:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More Austin

Some more randomness from our trip to Austin from last weekend for Grace and Chris' weekend.  My husband took the picture above but doctored it up with color - pretty cool, huh?

Shot from the inside of the Capitol looking downtown:

Pics of the beautiful Capitol rotunda:

My birthday dinner at Eddie V's was incredible.  They brought me my favorite dessert - creme brulee.  But the best part of the meal was the potato and gruyere fritters.  If you go you HAVE to get them.  To die for.  Oh, and ladies, according to our waiter (who was fabulous!), Matthew McConaughay is a regular here!

This store (can't remember the name of it - sorry!) had amazing outdoor furniture and accessories.  I guess when you can use your outdoor space something like 80 percent of the year then you are justified to spend a lot on outdoor furniture because it is another room!  This thing was crazy - like a beehive that could fit 2-3 people easily.  I don't think the picture gives a good scale of how huge this was.

The original Whole Foods and headquarters.  I was pretty into this because Jack's friend Grace helped design it.

The chocolate area was the most amazing to me...and I'm not even a big sweets person!

(Um, yes, that is a whole baking sheet's worth of chocolate bark.)

Next to Eddie V's, Z Tejas was our other favorite meal.  It was a cool joint with a definite Austin vibe and the food was awesome.  We had a salsa sampler appetizer to start:

Jack had a margarita - I loved how they used a lime instead of the traditional top of the cocktail shaker.

This was my entree.  I know it is kind of weird to take a picture of your food at a restaurant but this dish was so beautifully presented that I couldn't help it.  It was a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with smoked chicken and apricots and cheese and topped with roasted pumpkin seeds...ah-mazing!

Can't remember the name of this shop either but it was one of the most amazing places I've ever seen.  I can't really describe it -- it was a mix of antiques, cowboy gear, art deco furniture and over the top accessories.  This is just a shot of one tiny part of their outdoor area.

And last but not least - the reason for the trip - Grace and Chris' wedding.  The bride looked gorgeous and everything was beautiful.  They had the reception at the beautiful Duchman Family Vineyards and I loved the centerpieces.  They were simple and elegant and I thought the vintage books that belonged to the bride's mother were a sweet touch.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week - Day Three: Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches

How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised? It seems like an easy to answer question at first, but in fact organisation exists on many levels. Maybe you are truly not organised at all, in which case I am personally daring you to try and photograph your stash in whatever locations you can find the individual skeins. However, if you are organised, blog about an aspect of that organisation process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organised stash or your project and stash pages on Ravelry.

This is a joke, right?  There's nothing organized about my stash.  It is strewn all over the place with half finished projects.  My husband was just complaining about it last night. 

I have two spots for my yarn and one spot for my needles, crochet hooks, etc.  They are all corraled in this makeshift toiletry bag:

The bulk majority of my yarn is in a box in the basement but then I keep a stash handy for accent colors and for projects I am currently working on in a bag that I can pick up and move around with me:

I personally do not understand people who log all of their yarn onto seems time consuming and pointless if it still has the tag on it - or mark the yarn directly.  But, clearly, I am not very organized at this (which is okay because I think I make up for it in other aspects of my life!) so maybe I should take a cue from those who do log theirs...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monogramming Ain't for Sissies

My friend Michaela took inspiration from my newly monogrammed shower curtain and decided to get one for a friend of her's as a thank you and she asked me to go with her to help pick out the font, thread color, placement, etc.  I didn't think much of it until she told me her friend was a guy.  And no, he's not gay. 

I'll admit it.  I thought she was kind of crazy.  And she is (but in a good way as all of my friends are!).  But, she proved me wrong on this one.

She took a waffle weave shower curtain and used a manly orange thread and a modern font.  And to top it off, she added his favorite number.  Now it is like his own personalized jersey on his shower curtain.  Pretty cool, huh?

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week - Day Two: Skill + 1UP

Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?

Well, considering that about a year ago, I had never even picked up knitting needles, I'm proud of the progress I've made.  And I owe all of that to two of my dear friends - Amanda and Diana.  They keep me motivated and are always helping me figure things out when I'm stuck on a pattern. 

I started learning to knit on circular needles and made several baby hats.  Amanda was really smart to start me off on this because you only have to master the knit stitch (purling came later for me) and you get practice on double pointed needles and icord.  But it all comes in stages so you can learn how to do one thing at a time.  And those are basic skills that I use on projects all the time now!  Plus, it isn't like starting a scarf or something else that can be considered easy, that takes a really long time so you don't lose motivation.

From there I moved to little toys from a couple of Debbie Bliss books I bought.  These were mostly worked in garter stitch so again, I didn't need to worry about that finicky purl stitch (which is how I felt about it at the time). 

I think my biggest accomplishment to date was a sweater that I knitted for my goddaughter, Emery.  It was truly a labor of love and took so long but I really felt that I could knit lots of other things after I completed that!  I never, EVER, thought I'd get that far. 

Another skill that I am proud of learning is changing colors of yarn within a single project.  It has allowed me to learn to make different "fruit" hats that I adore.

Here's an apple one:

One thing I really want to learn that I've been a little intimidated by is intarsia.  That's a little more complicated than changing a color just once.  But that's on the back burner for now while I work on all of my other half finished projects!

Tuesday Tip: Wrangling your hairdryer

We stayed at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel while we were in Austin.  It was an awesome location right downtown.  Enough about that...where's the tip, right?

Well, they had a really "createful" idea for wrangling a hairdryer.  I don't know about you but mine drives me crazy.  It sits on top of the sink in our tiny bathroom but I hate putting it away every day just to pull it back out.  But, it takes up a ridiculous amount of space and I'm always afraid that I'm going to electricute myself with the cord.

Check out the two things they did at our hotel.

1.  Holster that bad boy.

I don't know if that thing was specially made for a hairdryer but I bet I can find something similar at Home Depot or Lowes.  I'm on the lookout anyway.

2.  Get a dryer with a retractable cord.  Duh. (I'm talking to myself because it never occurred to me to do that.) 

How do you keep your hair dryer or other hair supplies under control?  Any other good tips?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Austin: Aviary & Uncommon Objects

You've all heard the motto "Keep Austin Weird", right?  Well, I don't think you can truly grasp the true spirit of that statement without a trip to Austin.  I know I couldn't.

We were there for our friends Grace and Chris' wedding (which was so gorgeous!) but it also happened to be my birthday.  So, I convinced my husband that for my birthday, I wanted the opportunity to go around and look at design shops (any other time he might have complained about this) and he agreed.

We found a bunch of cool spots.  My favorite place was Aviary - it was a modern design shop and wine bar in one.  The moderness of the design at Aviary was maybe a little out of my comfort zone but the store's owner was so amazingly cool that I know if I lived there we would become fast friends.  She actually ended up in Austin after living in Richmond, VA and opened her store with no experience and basically no capital.  And she's been there for almost six years and is doing great.  We had a long talk about my dream of opening a store and all of the ideas I had for it.  I will definitely keep in touch with her.  If you're ever in Austin, be sure to look this place up - even better - go towards the end of the day and have a cocktail to go with your shopping!

It was the owner of Aviary that led me to the next stop on our design tour - Uncommon Objects.  Oh.My.Gosh.  These pictures do NOT do this place justice.  Imagine a joint about 15 times the size of what these images portray that is CHOCK FULL of every object imaginable.  It was, in a word, overwhelming.

More to come...this was just a taste of Austin's awesomeness!

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week - Day One: A Tale of Two Yarns

Hi all!  I'm back from Austin and had a wonderful trip!  I think we timed it perfectly because apparently there were some snow showers in DC while we were gone.  Meanwhile, we were enjoying 80 degree summer-like weather.  I have so much to share about Austin (there were some seriously GREAT design shops and even better restaurants) but I wanted to try to keep up a promise to myself about participating in the Knitting and Crochet Blog week that I mentioned here.

Basically, the deal is that there are a series of questions throughout the course of the week that anyone participating in this series answers on the same day.  I know that most of my readers, while they appreciate that I am learning to knit, do not knit themselves, nor do they have any intention of it.  That said, I cannot tell you how much I have really grown to love this hobby.  There are so many things you can make and while it seems intimidating at first, as my friend and knitting mentor Amanda says, "Don't be afraid of is only sticks and string!"

So, if I can inspire even one person to start knitting then I feel happy about that.  And even if you don't knit, maybe you'll learn something new from these few posts. 

One last caveat before I answer today's question...I have been knitting about a year now but have SOOO much to learn and still consider myself a very beginner knitter.  So, for anyone reading, take anything I say on this subject with a grain of salt.

Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

So this question is timely for me because I'm smack in the middle of two projects using yarn that I am currently loving and loathing at the same time.  And the reason for this is the alternating width of the yarn (is that even what you call it??...see, I've got a lot to learn!).  Let me demonstrate what I'm talking about with a couple of pictures of the yarn:

See how some pieces are fat and some are skinny?  That's what I mean by different widths.

I love the colors of these yarns.  I love the texture that I anticipate these yarns are going to give to the final projects.  But knitting with these yarns?  A pain in the a**.  I think part of the problem is that I am somewhat of a perfectionist so the changing girth means that the tension on my piece changes from row to row and stitch to stitch.  I am making a baby hat for my friend Michaela with the top one and a scarf with the bottom one.  The jury is still out on how these are going to turn out.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ta ta for now.

I'll be here for a few days...

Austin, TX image via here

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm gonna try something new.

My friend and knitting mentor, Amanda, told me about the 2nd Annual Knitting and Crocheting Blog week found here.

I am by no means a knitting expert but I think it'll be fun to have direction on topics to blog about from March 28th to April 3rd.  And...even more exciting is that it (potentially) has motivated my very talented friend Amanda to start her own blog.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday Tip: How to speak to an actual person when calling customer service

When you call a company and have to listen to about 5 levels of electronic menus until you can get an actual person make you as crazy as it does me?  It is one of my biggest pet peaves.  Sometimes you just need to explain your issue to understand what it is you are actually asking a company to do.  I recently had an issue with Verizon Wireless and after spending aaaaages trying to get someone on the line, I came across this site:  Amazing.  Here's Verizon, for example:

The important information to take note of is this: 

How to reach a live person:

Press 0

Press # four times

Press 0

And it really works!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...