Previous month:
December 2007
Next month:
February 2008

January 2008

Book reviews: Knit Tricks

Knittricks_2Confession time: I didn't order this book, it just popped in my mail because I have been lazy and haven't responded to my Crafter's Choice notice *yeah, they always get me to buy more books this way*. But this is one time when I don't regret getting the "editor's choice" book for the month. The book Knit Tricks is full of inspirational knits from simple tops to bags. Ingenious ways to arrange rectangles to create beautiful garments.

Have you just started knitting or loom knitting? Rectangles have been your forte but you are ready to move away from knitting scarves. Pick up Knit Tricks, 25 Stylish Projects from Simple Rectangles by Rebecca Wat.

The main reason why this book made it into a review is that loom knitters are usually looking for more patterns. More, more is a constant in our little corner, despite all the flourishing designs coming out everyday, there is just not enough (when compared to needle knit designs), Knit Tricks fills a little bit of that void.

The patterns are easily convertible to knitting looms; remember most of the patterns are just rectangles put together. Check out this page on Converting Needle Knit Patterns to Looms and you will be on your way to putting all those lovely patterns from the Knit Tricks to the looms. Try to achieve the gauge that the item is knit to or simply follow the schematics and knit the rectangles to that size and arrange them as instructed. Run, run go and get this book, you will find it inspirational. Rectangles are definitely more than just scarves and with the help of this book, the door to more designs is open to us!

Here are a few pictures of the patterns I queued from the book. (Click the image to Knittricksprojectsview larger.) You see that vest in the lower right hand corner, it converts into a purse! Yep, it converts into a purse. It is ingenious indeed. The blouse on the lower left has me very tempted to cast on...it looks easy enough and it can probably provide me with the perfect knitting project for watching some tv (I hear Lost is starting today).

Knit Tricks gets a very good review from this reviewer. I am all for easy, fast projects and the projects in this book seem to fulfill those two qualifications.

This reviewer gives Knit Tricks: 5 wonderful balls of yarn!!

5starreview_2 


Cakes and Hats

Cake_2The birthday went without a hitch, despite the stubborn pizza dough. Boyo loves pizza but not just any pizza he likes homemade pizza which usually means having to make the dough an hour in advance and get all the toppings and all the other stuff that pizzas have. Usually, our pizza dough is done in a jiffy without any problems, but this time around we had to make it twice. The first time around it just crumbled and the second time it was very tough. We didn't do anything different but for some strange reason it didn't want to cooperate.

The cake was simple. Really easy and yummy recipe. I got the recipe from one of my neighbors. It looks super and it tastes even better. You would never know that it was a box cake. Here is the recipe for the Alaska Cake.

1 package of Devils Food Cake (plus all the ingredients that the box calls for).

3/4 semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1 pkg of cream cheese (8oz). Softened.

1 cup of powdered sugar

1 container of frozen whipped topping. Thawed (it takes about 5 hours to thaw in the refrigerator, so planCakecloseup  ahead).

The most difficult part of this cake is finding a bowl to bake it in. It has to have a mountain shape. I went to my local kitchen store and found a mixing bowl that could be put into the oven. I found that metal bowls dry the cake too much, glass bowls seem to provide a more moist cake.

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the cake mix as to box instructions. Bake at 325 F. Bake for 1 hr and 10min, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let it cool for 15min in the bowl. Run a spatula or a knife around the perimeter of the cake to unstick it from the bowl. Gently turn it upside down onto a plate or cooling rack. Cool completely (about 4 hours)

MAKING THE LAYERS

Trim the large end of the cake to level. You will cut the cake into 4 equal layers. First cut the cake horizontally in half. Then cut each half into two layers.

FILLING

Using a food chopper, chop 1/4 of the chocolate morsels, set them aside. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of morsels into a microwave safe bowl; microwave uncovered, on high for *20 seconds, stir; rep from * 3 times or until chocolate is completely melted.

In another bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth, add powdered sugar, whisk until smooth. Stir in the melted chocolate, mix well. Fold 2 cups of the whipped topping and the chopped chocolate morsels.

Using a spatula, spread the bottom layer of cake with about half of the filling, it will be about 3/4" thick. Place the other cake layer on top of the filling, and spreak filling over the new layer. Repeat with all the other layers.

Spread the remaining filling over the outside of the cake, creating a smooth surface.

FROST CAKE

Using the remaining whipped topping, frost the outside of the cake. To make it look all spiky, press the flat side of a knife against the frosting and pull away. Refrigerate about 30minutes.

EASIER CUTTING

Cut the cake into eight wedges from top to bottom, then cut horizontally.

Enjoy!!! We really, really love this cake. It is a little rich but ooooh sooo scrumptious!

Boyos Birthday

Bundleofjoy2Now, life around here is not all about eating...well, it is but we try to squeeze in other activites. I managed to finish a little hat for another oneBundleofjoycloseup_edited1  of my friends. She is in my cycling group and she is due in April and she requested a few little caps for her new little boy and I am more than eager to oblige. It is rare when  people ask me to knit something for them, so this is very exciting.

I followed my own Bundle of Joy (it is on Ravelry too) pattern and created gorrito numero uno (Stacey....pop quiz, what did I just say?).  These little hats work up so fast and I can't help but think that it is almost instant gratification. I already casted on for gorrito numero dos, this one will have cables (did you think I will not include them...they are my knitting stamp, lol).


Bittersweet moment

Hinckley_medium I woke up this morning and put on my exercise gear. My loving husband last night came to bed and hugged me and held me tight. I didn't know why, sometimes he just needs a cuddly teady bear. Then this morning as I was leaving, he said to me. I want to tell you something before you go, I don't want you to hear it from someone else. President Hinckley has passed away. It happened last night. Tears rolled down my cheeks. The sadness struck my inner core like a ton of bricks. Then a moment of happiness and love filled my heart. I was happy. Happy for him as he was once again reunited with his lovely wife, Marjorie.

I knew him very little but the little I knew made me want to be a better person. His gentle smile and charisma touched my heart and the heart of millions. I am sad that I never got to meet him in person, but I am so very happy for him as I know that he is once again with his beloved companion.

Thank you. Thank you for the wonderful messages, for the smiles, for the encouragement, for believing in all of us and in our potential. We love you and we look forward to the day we meet again.

One of my favorite quotes by President Gordon B. Hinckley

"Civility carries with it the essence of courtesy, politeness, and consideration of others.  All of the education and accomplishments in the world will not count for much unless they are accompanied by marks of gentility, of respect for others, of going the extra mile."
Gordon B. Hinckley


Happy Birthday Beautiful Boy!

Happy

Tomorrow is my big boy's birthday. He will be 6 years old!! I can't believe how fast time has gone by. I still remember the day he was born as if it had just happened yesterday. The huge snowtorm we got, the fact that we had to walk about 2 blocks uphill to our apartment coming from the hospital because our lame car couldn't handle the hill with all the snow. Hubby carrying the carseat with one arm and trying to pick me up with the other. The cozyness and warmth of our little apartment with our third little person there. The countless times that accidentally my little new guy peed on me...we are talking face, hair....and on time even my mouth!

Mr. B, you have been our little boyo since you were in my womb. You will always be my little boyo. I love you and on your sixth birthday I hope you have a most wonderful day. You are our joy and our little ray of sunshine.

A little video of our little boyo, this video shows his personality 100%. He is sweet, caring, loving, and with more energy than 3 people combined. He loves to dance. His dream right now is to become a watercolor artist :). He was three at the time of the video :). He was soooo little. I love you little boyo.

Please, feel free to leave your wishes to him. He is learning how to read right now and he can read by himself words that have up to 5 letters, 3 letter words are easier and then 4, and then 5. :).


Loomy Q & A: How do you make a shrug?

Qa_3 It has been a few months since we had our last Loomy Q&A day, but thankfully, an avid loom knitter sent me a question and we now have a Q&A day.

Our question is this: I have a rectangle and I want to make it a shrug, how do I got about seaming it to make it a shrug?

First, thank you for sending in the question :). Converting a rectangle into a shrug is fairly simple. Fold your rectangle in half--lengthwise. Seam the sides leaving an opening in the center. How big of an opening? Measure from shoulder to shoulder and the opening should be at least that size.

A small graphic on how it should look like: it is not professional by any means but I think it shows the idea.

Shrug2_2For a more tapered look, you may want to create a rectangle with narrower ends, you can start with lets say 30sts and then increase gradually to 50sts, work with the 50sts for the main portion of the back then decrease gradually down to the 30sts. 

Another option is to create the sleeves portion in ribbed stitch (k2, p2) and this will create a snugger fit around the arms.

A shrug lends itself to many possibilities, you can create one long rectangle with lots of cables, or you can create one with eyelets for a lacier effect, or just work it completely in stockinette stitch (knit every row).

Shrug4Shrugs can be tight fitting or loose fitting. Pair a tight fitting shrug with your favorite little black dress, or make one for your little ballerina. Loose fitting shrugs are perfect for a cozy warm cover around the shoulders, perfect to wear with jeans or just with about anything in your wardrobe.

The shrug to the left was created about 3 years ago. Follow this link to see the pattern/quick notes that I wrote on it. It is double knit: created on a knitting board but the pattern idea is the same for single knit.

We hope the above helps in your looming quest to knit shrugs. Thank you for sending your question in.

If you have any loomy questions, send them in, and I will try to address them on the blog next week. Thank you and keep your questions coming!

Comments


Book Blog tour victims/hostesses

A little while ago, I asked if any of you would be interested in hosting a blog tour of my little booklet, Learn to Knit Cables on Looms, some of you were interested and at the time I hadn't received the complimentary copies of the booklet, but I have them now.

Learn_to_knit_cables_on_loom

If you are interested in hosting a little blog book tour, (both looming and needle knit blogs are eligible :) ). Drop me a comment. I will send a copy of the booklet to 10 blog tour hostesses for a brief review and you are welcome to ask me questions and I'll answer to the best of my abilities. Drop me a comment...down there.

Drop me a comment anyways even if you don't want to participate...I am craving comments! Okay, I am feeling miserable and down and I need some TLC.

If you are wondering why I feel miserable and sad: the DVD in my TV is broken :(. It keeps spitting the DVDs out. So, I am either going to have to fork out some money for a separate DVD player or probably spend money fixing the internal one.

Note: I will choose 10 from all the names that leave a comment on this post by Wednesday (1/23) at 7am.


Repeat after me...I love them, I love them

Tv

I really, really, really love them. They are more important than my Christmas present, they are definitely more important than my new TV. But, why, why? Why, oh why did they had to break it!! I do love them, I do, I do. They are the cutest, most adorable tykes in the world. At this moment, I am fuming! I sure love them. It is not their fault. They are little and do not understand that only 1 DVD goes in not 2 or 3. I love them. I do love them. I will hug them instead of going all nuts about it.

I just arrived from the gym, my adrenaline is going, hubby just announced to me that the kiddos broke my TV. I do love them. I do. I do. The only thing that I could do to calm my nerves is to go downstairs and just chill...and thus this post came about. I do love them. They are more important than the TV. 20 years from now, the TV won't mattered but they will. I do love them. But I am hurt, I am hurt because they like to play with my "toys" and usually break them. Why can't they play with their toys? I do love them. Repeat after me: I love them. I will hug them and kiss them and let them know I love them.

Currently, crossing my fingers that hubby can fix it. Please.

**Latest update: Hubby couldn't fix it. He opened the back up but then the DVD section was all sealed with different tapes and he thought it was best to leave the tape intact in case it voided the warranty. I was so bombed out that I stood in front of the TV for awhile and kept pressing the "eject" button over and over, after awhile, the dvd player started making some noises like a wild animal on its last moments, then I got mad and hit it on the back and pressed "eject" again and it spitted its contents out! I couldn't believe it! I haven't tried to put another DVD in there for fear that it will get stuck but for now at least there is nothing stuck inside of it.

BTW: I sure love my little tykes! They keep me on my toes.


Book Review: KnitSpeak

KnitspeakI found this gem, KnitSpeak by Andrea Berman Price, on my last trip to my local Borders. The first thing that caught my attention was the bright pink hardcover with accents of neon green. The second appeal came with its portable, compact size, perfect to take along inside your knitting bag.

The book is a comprehensive guide, from A-to-Z on the Knitting language. Who would have thought that you needed to learn a new language to be a knitter? As a second language speaker (first language was Spanish), I can attest that learning a new language can be a bit difficult, not impossible, but difficult. Learning the language can make life enjoyable and you will be able to communicate with many others--the world opens up.

This little book can accomplish the task of opening doors/friendships to a whole new world. If you are a new knitter or loom knitter, you have undoubtedly seen a typical pattern that look more like Greek than English, or you have seen a chart and your eyes just rolled upwards and your head adamantly said--there is no freaking way I can read thing! I know. I said the same thing when I first learned to knit. Mim can attest to my terror of charts. I avoided them like trying to avoid my visit to the gynecologist.

Knitting has its own language, formed with abbreviations such as p, k, k2tog, yo, skpo, just to mention a few. The first time you encounter these abbreviations, your heart starts beating and small beads of sweat begin rolling off your forehead, you hands tighten on the needles and the once loose knit stitches have become iron on the needles. KnitSpeak can make your life into the world of knitting or loom knitting a lot easier. The guide starts you off with a lesson on reading knitting patterns, this section is indispensable when starting off on your knitting or loom knitting journey. There are a few things that have double meaning, others that require a little knowledge to know what they mean "knit as other side, except reverse all shaping" being one of them. Look no further, pick up this little book and find out how to read a pattern and what all those foreign words mean.

Need help with knowing what the little * or the [ ] mean? We don't come with this knowledge in our arsenal, nor is it something that we learned as little kids in school, however, they are ever present in knitting instructions/patterns. Andrea goes over symbols and abbreviations and their meanings. Along with the words, the book is beautifully illustrated. The illustrations are clear and easy to understand.

At the very back of the book you will find an index with imperative information such as sizing, yardage (estimated) needed for different items, substituting yarn, and even fixing errors.

Overall, this little gem packs a punch! I highly recommended it to new knitters, or knitters who need a little help looking up some information. I also highly recommend this book to loom knitters. We (meaning loom knitters) use many of the same terminology, abbreviations, symbols, and pattern reading is the same, thus this book can become one of the most used books in your looming library.

This reviewer gives it 5 sweaters:

5sweater


Plushy Slipper Socks

400pixThey are squishy, they are soft, they are are the most comfortable pair of slipper socks that I have ever worn. They work up fairly quick too. Knit them on a loom or knit them on needles, whichever way you choose, you will have a super comfy pair of slippers socks.

What do you need to make the comfiest pair of house slippers? The secret is all in the yarn. An ordinary pair of socks becomes irrestible with the appropriate fluffy, squishy yarn.

Loom It!

Yarn: 3-4 skeins of Berroco Plush (doubled throughout)

Loom: Blue round loom by Provo Craft (24 pegs)

Pattern is available at LoomKnit.com or by clicking the Buy It button below.

Price: $4.99

Add to Cart

Yarnia related

Angora_small_2

Updated: check the new Loom Knitter's booklet out!

Saying Yarnia makes me think of the next Narnia movie...anyone know when it is coming out? I haven't even seen the previous yet. Last time, I was at the theater I was out getting popcorn for the monkeys when I came back hubby said they had played the preview. I missed it! What a bummer! But the post is not about Narnia but Yarnia related stuff. Have you taken the little quiz at Potter Craft. It is related to Clara's book, the Knitter's Book of Yarn. Great book! Great information on fibers and their properties plus a gazillion patterns in the back section. And even a fun quiz to find out what type of fiber you are. I am something cozy and warm...Angora. I am all for all its nice qualities, except the shedding...don't like it.

"Angora – Soft and warm
“Angora has a warmth that rivals cashmere and softness that rivals qiviut. Best of all, it comes from cute little bunnies that look for all the world like furry footstools with ears.” –The Knitter’s Book of Yarn


Angoras are eager to please and are highly sensitive. Flexibility and adaptability are your strengths and sometimes your weakness, as well. You are essentially a warm and feeling person, and little escapes your impressionable mind. You are generous with others and strive for harmony in your relationships."

On more Yarnia-related-stuff, I received a box from one of the publishers, I have all the projects back from that particular book and now I don't know what to do with the contents. Any  ideas? There is a blanket, 2 hats, scarf, socks (thick socks), handbag...and some more random things in there. Any ideas? (I have been thinking of just giving them away here but I still have to send out 2 little somethings to 2 contest winners...I just keep forgeting).

Thealchemyst_2Non-knitty related but fun at its best: I just finished reading the Alchemyst by Michael Scott. What a read! It was sensational! A page turner, heart-thumping book. I enjoyed every single page of the book. Usually there are some slow paragraphs in books (and I am okay with that) this one, kept me awake an at the edge of my couch! Mythology, history, fantasy all in one little bundle. Great, great read! I give it 2 thumbs up. Can't wait til the next one in the series comes out . Great job Michael Scott!

Update! Stop the presses, stop the presses! My friend's booklet on loom knitting has just been released! Congratulations Kathy! Coming soon to DA store!

Kathysbook


The P word-milestones!

Our house has reached a new milestone this last week. I had a goal of P-otty training my youngest, little Ny, right after I finished with my book work. My little one needed very little help. She was ready. Apparently, all she needed was someone to pay close attention to her and someone to be there to sing Hip Hip Hurray for her after she went pee. Today, marks 7 days straight of her using her pretty princess panties. In all 7 days, she has had only a few close calls. Even when we go out, she quickly comes and tells us when she has to go. I just feel so proud of her.

My creation

We followed a different p-o-t-t-y approach with her. With our Wonderboy, we tried so hard, we push him, and placed him on the pot for weeks on end. His body wasn't ready and we tried so hard to make him understand. At the end, we ended up all frustrated and we finally gave up and let him do it on his own time. When we found out that we were having a second child, we had made up our minds that we would not push him or her, we would just let them do it on their own terms. The second child came and we did just that and to our surprise, it has worked! Hip Hip Hurray for Ny!

We have reached a few milestones this year: she is no longer in nursery at church, which means that I have no children in the little classes nor I have any little ones going in. My children are growing! Both of them are in primary (at church) and now I don't have any of them in diapers! My oldest is in school and my youngest will be entering pre-school in the fall (had to pre-register her last week). What does all this mean? I am getting old!

Scarf

Another milestone we have reached: My desire to knit has returned. We have a Chevron scarf in progress. The yarn: yummy Koigu. The pinks was given to me by Mom when we went to Rhinebeck in 2006 and the other I bought to go with the pinks. I was hoping for a more neon green but it is a bit more subdue than what I saw on the screen, but it looks good with the pink. The scarf is making nice progress right now that I am down with a nasty cold/cough.

Picture of Ny: she is wearing her Dad's snow boots and Dad's hat!


Inspiration...perspiration

Two words that have been constant in my head for the past few months. Maybe it is the fact that I have hit middle age (ha!) or maybe it is the fact that my children pointed at my belly and asked me if we were having a new baby (this is enough to send me running out the door!). The fact is that I have needed for a long time to become more active, to do something about my ever expanding waistline and cheeks. I am short and as a short person, I don't have much room to put the extra fat....if I were just 4 inches taller and had the same amount of fat on me as I do now, I would be lean. But, it is no good wishing to be taller, I am little and I am happy with being little. I visit many blogs (more than I should) each day, and there are a few that have been extremelly inspirational to me. I have a few biking/cycling blogs, swimming, and even a few about runners. Each one of them inspires me and gives me that boost that I need each day.

BookThe other day, I visited Norma's blog. She had written about a book that she was reading. I take Norma's advice quite seriously, so I went in search of the book. The New Rules of Lifiting for Women. The cover reminds me of Scout's arms (except, I think that Scout's are a little bigger :) )...so with Norma's advice and Scout's look-alike-guns, I succumbed and bought the book. I started reading it yesterday and I am in chapter 4. So far, I have learned more about my body that I have in my entire life. I have had to re-think a few things that I am currently doing and I am planning a trip to the local sports store to pick up a set of "real dumbells". Also, I am planning a phone call to my doctor to ask a few more questions about a certain IUD and the estrogen levels that it has and how it is currently affecting and how it will be affecting me when I am 60!

This is the first book of its kind that I have ever read and I am glad that I picked it up...thanks Norma! If you have a chance, browse through it at your local bookstore.

One last thing: have you seen these cool kitchener/grafting dogtags that Scout has in her store. I am so definitely getting one. This is perfect for both knitters and loom knitters....I need one. I must have one! (Picture of Dog Tag is property of ScoutJ. )

Kitchener_dogtag_2


Mayan Chocolate

The flavor was explosive! Rich, creamy chocolate with a hint of cinnammon. I believe that I can seriously sit down with the pint and eat it all by myself in one sitting. I was never a big ice cream fan, however, Mayan Chocolate is changing my heart. Yesterday, as a reward for exercising non-stop for 2 months, I picked up a pint of Haagen-Dazs Mayan Chocolate.  The chocolate tastes a lot like dark chocolate which I love, not too sweet, not too bitter, just right and the cinammon just sends a nice trigger to my senses, plus its soooooooo creamy. Yummmy!

Mayanchocolate_2   

I may add the warm ginger bananas recipe to the holiday's menu. If you need me, I'll be in the kitchen sneaking a few spoonfuls of this yummy.  (Now you see why I have to run so much, lol, if I stopped eating so much I could probably save myself from running a few hundred miles!)

Oh...before I forget, my loomy friends, hop on over to Jenny's blog and check out her cute Turtle and LadyBug patterns!


Bring it on 2008!

The days have passed fairly fast for the past two weeks. My Mum is here visiting and hubby and I are getting some personal time together that we haven't been able to get for about 5 years. The kids are pestering uncle Edi and Grandma is spoiling them rotten.

2007 was a great year, a year that I didn't imagine or planned. I am not much for setting long term goals. I go with the flow and whatever wave comes along I'll ride it. In 2007, I got a few chances that according to some people only come once in a lifetime. Although, career-wise they seemed fabulous, it stressed me so much that my family was suffering for it. I never planned a career around my hobby but it happened and now I am trying to pull out of it and it is difficult. You know the saying...when your hobby becomes your job, the hobby ends up being fun. I have reached that point. So this brings us to: lifestyle change number 1 and 2.

1. In 2008, I am going to follow the advice of a few friends. Learn to say NO.

KiddosI want to focus more on my children, on me, on my relationship with hubby. I want to be able to laugh every afternoon with my children. To go out to a soccer game and not worry about the looming deadlines. I want to get down on the floor and tickle my little ones until they pee their pants. I want to take a weekend off and simply cook, and cuddle the ones around me.

2. In 2008, spend more quality and quantity time with my family. Just the 4 of us, no work, no looming/looms.

Also, I want to focus more time on me. In 2007, I discovered how much I enjoy exercising. I find that running 3 miles makes me smile and my body tingles. The tingles are so rejuvenating that I end up going to a spinning class right afterwards. I am not thin by any means, but I am feeling so much better about myself, and my children see me go and exercise and they want to do it too. My lifestyle change is changing theirs...in a good way! My son wants to grow up and run marathons, my little girl wants to ride 100 miles on her little trike! With this, lifestyle change number 3 rolls in.

Biking 3. In 2008 and on, I want to be able to focus more on being active. I want to go mountain biking for the first time (need a mountain bike for this). I want to run a half marathon. I will do at least two triathlons and not be dead last. I will bike a century in preparation for Lotoja in 2010. I will continue putting 15+ running miles on my sneakers every week. It is not about losing weight anymore. It is about a lifestyle change (although, if I shed a few pounds, it would be quite nice).

Dl 2007 brought some wonderful new adventures my way: my road bike and thus new friendships--whom I have to say I love! Some of my new friends have become like my sisters. Another great adventure has been my driving license. I am now able to go out and be independent. I have yet to visit a yarn store though, but I have visited the sports store many a time :). And my driving has provided a way for me to get to the gym.

Knitting wise (with needles), I don't have goals for it. It is my only true hobby. I love it and I enjoy it and I want to keep it that way. Setting a goal in this arena will just stress me out and I don't want to feel stressed about it. My yarn will be in the stash for awhile and that is okay. If I see more yarn that I like, I will probably acquire it but not be pressured into knitting from it.

Looming: well, I'll ride the wave but doubt I will bring my board out onto the sea out of my own accord.

These are all the thoughts that I have in my head right now about my life and how I would like to change in this year.

May you all have a wonderful 2008. Let's focus ahead and ride the waves that come our way.