A place for all things knitting related -
help, advice, reviews, techniques & humor.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stitch Nation Yarn Review

I saw the add for this yarn in the Sunday flyer for A.C Moore and I decided to give it a whirl.  I am always looking for new affordable yarns in great colors to knit with these days.

I have to say that the selection of colors, for this particular yarn,  in my A.C. Moore is nothing to write home about and the only color that I liked was the green.  So, I bought it.

Let's just go over the mundane stuff first.  It is called Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Full O' Sheep.  It consists of 100% Peruvian Wool and is distributed by Red Heart.  Net wt. is 3.5 oz (100g) and 155yds (142m).  On sale for 2/$7.  That said my first impression (besides the colors) is that it is scratchy.  I would not call this next to the skin soft.  Maybe a hat but definitely not for scarves, mittens or sweaters. (in my opinion, of course)

It also splits.  I am not a tight knitter nor am I a loose knitter.  I find myself right in the middle.  As I was knitting along my merry way this yarn started to fall apart.  Now I have done a bit of spinning and I am able to put it back together but I just don't think that I should have to do so.  It happened to me more than once while knitting and sewing up my seams.  Not impressed AT ALL.  Also, I would not recommend this yarn for beginning knitters due to this very fact.  I would think that I was doing something wrong when, in fact, it's the yarn that is faulty.  Furthermore, this yarn would certainly not hold up to much frogging back due to the lack of its durability & it is fuzzy nature as well.  (like mohair).

So, would I buy this again? - probably not.  I can find better wool at my LYS for about the same amount and in better colors.

My advice - save your money and get better wool.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Homemade Banana Nut Bread

On Sunday I decided to make may favorite - Banana Nut Bread.  I thought that someone else might too.   So, I decided to share my secret recipe.  It really is delicious.  Give it a try!

You will need:

2 c unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 c Sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 c walnuts crushed ( I use about 2c b/c I love them)
3 very ripe banana's
1/4 c plain yogurt (I use organic but any will do)
2 eggs
6 tbls melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom ONLY of a loaf pan.

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.   In another bowl mash the banana's then add to them yogurt, eggs, butter, vanilla.  Lightly fold the banana mixture into dry ingredients until just combined and batter looks chunky.

Add to loaf pan and cook for 55 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We Have to Stop Cutting Down the Trees

Knitting in the sun..

Today I decided to knit it the sun.  Here is a picture of my little spot.. Come join me.. relax and have some iced coffee.  I think we all can use a break these days.. Even if it is for only a few minutes. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Flowers from the Past

Here are just a  few pictures of what is growing in my garden this year.  I am waiting patiently for it to come alive again this year.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

SEO Help

I was reading a book at the book store yesterday about SEO. It is called "Get to #1 on Google" by Ben Norman. A topic that I find frustrating and confusing (I am sure that I am not alone here) I just wanted to pass on some info that I discovered. I myself can not use it (I am on a mac) but window users can. It FREE, yes FREE and you can download it. It is called WEBCEO (www.webceo.com) It is supposed to be very helpful with tagging, ranking, analyzing etc.. So I thought I would share. The book also mentions Google Keyword Tool and wordtracker free. Just type into google "google Keyword Tool" to check it out and the same for wordtracker free. I know that getting our goods in the top of the search engines is very important to all of us. If you happen to have any other tips or places we all should be checking out. Drop me a line. I would love to hear them all.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My first Attempt at Dyeing Yarn

Today I decided to try dying yarn.  I bought the dye almost a year ago and have yet to find the time to try it.   For some reason today seemed to be the right day.  I am using some wool yarn that I already have.  I wound it on my swift.  Tied it in four spots and dunked it in room temp water.  At the same time I heated a pot with water on my stove just before it started to boil.  Squeezed the water out of it and stuck it in the pot. Fingers crossed.  I have stirred it a few times.  I am so impatient.  I want it done immediately.  I have no idea how I am going to pass the time while it dries.... The timer on the stove says 12+ minutes until it is done (according to the directions on the bottle)

It is supposed to come out to a burnt orange.  Although it looks red in the pot.  I hope it is not read as I have enough of that color yarn...

Has anyone else tried this recently?  I would love to hear some tips or suggestions.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Designing Knitwear

Lately, I have been working on some new designs for winter and I have to tell you that I am really enjoying the process,for the most part.  The one aspect that I always find difficult is transferring what is in my head that I have already knit onto paper.  You might think that this is the easy part since the object is already complete and it you have knit it before - well, for me, that's a big fat NO.

Last night I am on the couch, my usual spot, with all of my books spread all over the place.  A notebook, a pencil, yarn, tape measure, scissors, the finished product and I am knitting the same thing over again trying to drain my head of all its thoughts.  I would knit, frog back, knit again, write something down, then reknit and make some more notes, correct something else. I was driving myself nuts.  My husband looks over and asks "are you okay over there?"  I explain, he nods his head having no idea what I am talking about and I continue.  It is our normal process when I am designing.  Can you believe that I can actually enjoy this process?  Don't worry I think I am nuts already!

Which brings me to Elizabeth Zimmerman.  I have always been a fan.  Her work is amazing and then it hit me.  After all my years of knitting I never got it until now.  I have always been a very cautious person.  I could hear her in my head "will you just knit the damn thing already!"  I started  laughing. (Husband looks over completely puzzled wondering if he should laugh or call the looney bin)

Now I understand knitter's when they say trust your instincts and just knit. If it looks wrong there is a good chance that it is wrong.  You don't always have to use a pattern and it is okay to change the pattern.  Yes, that's right it is okay to change the pattern and to knit without one.  I think the last part comes with confidence.  The longer you knit the more confidence you have in yourself and your abilities.  Of course, there is always that truly gutsy person who can do this from the start, I however, am not one of them.

This was such a freeing moment for me.  An Ah Ha moment as Oprah would say.  So, for all you crafty people out there like me who are hesitant to break the rules - Break them!!  Never look back.  It's fun and it's exciting!  GO forth and try something new.  Who knows it may turn into something spectacular.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's Spring Time In My Garden

New Summer/Spring Shawl

The first addition to my summer collection is this beautiful handmade wrap or shawl. It was knit with silk and bamboo yarn. A combination that it bound to please. It is soft, elegant and timeless. You can dress it up or down. It can be worn in a multitude of ways - a scarf, a wrap, a shawl and it drapes beautifully.

Just a lovely addition to your wardrobe.

Ready to ship to you today!

Any questions, just write me

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Zibbet Rocks!

I joined Zibbet a few weeks ago and so far I LOVE it. My shop was so easy to set up and the community could not be nicer.  They all welcomed me with open arms.  

Zibbet is still small but it is growing everyday.  They offer great options for setting up your shop.  You can choose colors for backgrounds, titles, sections etc.  You can move things around, you can check your stats, you can link your blog, or YouTube, you can add avatars, widgets and so much more.  I am really enjoying the flexibility here.   It is so worth the monthly fee.  None of the other handmade sites offer such things.

I was a bit leery of opening up yet another shop out there.  It is a lot of work to monitor each site, learn each site and contribute to each site but so far I am still excited.

They have even created their own network called ning.  It has forums, chats, teams, Q & A, you can send in your ideas, and wait for it wait for it.  The admins actually LISTEN and GET back to you.  Yes, that's right!  They are there daily to talk to and ask questions.  Such a dream.  Communication is key in any business.  You can also create your own section within that community.  For example, you are a potter and you notice that there is not a community of like-minded artists.  You can go ahead and create it in seconds.  It's just great!

I did sign up for the Premium account which, right now, stands at $8 a month.  However, if you can get 8 people to sign up as well you will pay NOTHING per month.  Nothing.  If you sign up one person it will be $7/month 2 will be $6/per month and so on..  I think this is a great idea on their part.  It spreads the word and give us some incentive to get others to join and be excited as well.

So for those of you out there who are interested or on the fence just GO FOT IT.  It is really worth your time and effort.

PLEASE use me as a reference when you sign up.  Here is my id

Spread the word artists!

Monday, April 5, 2010

At Knit's End

My mother just bought me At Knit's End by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (a.k.a The Yarn Harlot).  I am loving this little book.  It is filled with great quotes and knitting stories.  Stories that only a knitter, perhaps, could understand or laugh about.  Let me share a few that had me laughing last night.

"People who knit have long been trying to convince people who don't that they can knit AND listen at the same time.  Studies have shown that people often have increased focus and even demonstrate greater recollection while knitting"

~~My husband and I have this same discussion nightly!  Not only an I am knitter I am a woman and women can do 3 things at the same time.

"Most knitter's can't imagine anything better then spending their days curled up knitting, shopping for wool, and getting paid for it"

~~ Well I can think of one thing better.  A shopping spree at my local yarn store for free!  Only in my dreams.

"I'm not obsessed, I'm just highly preoccupied"

~~ Yes, that's me to a T

So, if you are wondering what to give the knitter in your life and you know not a thing about knitting, wool, or the tools involved.  You can not go wrong with this book and of course, a gift card for more wool!