Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fingerless Mittens and Birthdays

Hey! It's April 26th! That means it's my birthday! And my sister's too!


Where's the Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing? I'll have a piece after this post, thanks!

In my last post I said I was going to do Martha Stewart's fingerless mittens as my next project. I am actually done with three pairs now! They work up THAT fast!

That and I am THAT lazy about blogging, I guess. I can't believe that was just my last post before this one. It feels so long ago.


Here is an "in-progress shot" of the first pair I made.

the red is where the thumb goes later

I did a pair for myself first. I figured if I was going to screw up working in the round for the first time ever, then I'd better do it on something I was going to keep. To begin I did these one at a time. Oh, and I am using magic loop rather than double pointed needles. I watched a video online on how to work with dpn's and frankly, it scared me. Four needles flopping all around, the knitter was working really fast too and I couldn't tell how she joined the stitches... it was enough to tell me I couldn't do "in the round" projects that way. Mainly because I don't knit tight enough that the needles would just stay where I left them. They most certainly would fall out, and then I'd be left with a mess and frustration. But then I found a video explaining how to do magic loop, and it saved the day. I'll tell you more about magic loop later, in another post.

The next two pair of fingerless mittens that I made I did two at a time. What fun! Unfortunately they flew off my knitting needles and I didn't have time to get in-progress photos. Of either pair. Can you believe it?

yes, I'm sure you can.

a pair for Mom, a pair for Pam and a pair for me!

I really enjoyed making these. They're so simple and so fast. Especially when doing them two at a time. If you know anyone whose wrists need warmed, I would definitely recommend these.

Now bring on the birthday cake coma.


p.s. What do you think of the bigger pictures? Too big? 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Knitting update

As promised, I am here to give you an update on my latest obsession, knitting.

I have been knitting a lot the past month or so. I have finished the baby blanket, picked out new projects to make, and practiced more advanced stitches. It's amazing how focused I am on becoming a more skilled knitter.

It's too bad I can't put that much effort into getting my Dutch driver's license, or getting more comfortable riding my bike (like everyone else in this country - they really make it look so effortless and easy. Why can't I be like that?! Perhaps they're born on bicycles?).

Here is a picture of my finished baby blanket.

26 x 30 inches (66 x 76 cm)

made with 3 skeins Rico Baby Classic DK (color 002 creme) - oh so soft

It didn't turn out too bad for my first project. My tension wasn't fantastic from beginning to end (a little loose in the beginning), but I think that can be fixed with blocking. And I wish I'd made it a little bigger. I actually started this project twice. The first time I made it a little too wide, I was having trouble keeping all the stitches on the needles. I think I went too far though after I restarted it, and made it a few inches too short. Oh well! It's still soft as heaven. I'm sure a baby somewhere would love to snuggle up with it.

My next project will be the Martha Stewart fingerless mittens. I did some practice work on the thumb for this, since I'd never done one and didn't want to screw up an actual one. While reading the pattern, I was a little confused too. Since they usually make more sense when you have the knitting right there in front of you, I decided to try with scrap yarn first. Here's how it turned out.

thumbs up!

Not bad, huh? I was worried that I would have trouble with it, but it worked out almost perfectly.

I wish I could tell you this was my first try. It wasn't. But it was just my second. After failing miserably on my first attempt (holes on both sides of the thumb the size of a house), I looked up some videos online (found here). This helped immensely, and you can see the results. No holes! Now I can't wait to start the actual mitts.

Man, I am loving knitting.  I'm actually a little glad to be unemployed right now so I can have more time to knit! Bring on the more advanced stuff! Cables! Nordic mittens! Sweaters/Cardigans!

Bring it on.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

To Do List

Now that I'm on "vacation", I have loads of time on my hands.

I like to say that I'm on vacation, rather than saying I'm unemployed. It's less traumatic.

When I realized I wouldn't have to go to work every day, I almost immediately began compiling a list of things I could do around the house that I haven't really had time to do (or the desire, either!).

I could:
  • clean - in addition to the normal dusting and vacuuming, the kitchen hasn't been thoroughly cleaned in quite a while. Neither have the floors in our entry and bedroom. Oh, and the mini-blinds everywhere.
  • organize the living room closet - it's become a dumping spot for a bunch of things that we don't know where to put. It's not quite to the point where things fall off shelves if you open the door, but it's almost there. Definitely need to make time for this!
  • organize the closet in the Mac Room - it's worse than the living room closet.
  • visit the farmer's market again - more tulips, please?
  • knitting/hooking time - yippee!!! LOVE that I have more time for my obsession hobby now.
  • read - I think there are 3 books on the shelves that I haven't had time to read yet. Now is the time, right? That is, if I can put down my knitting needles...
  • sew something - I've been meaning to borrow Ludi's mother's sewing machine. I used to sew often, and I miss having my own machine. I could make some shading curtains for our balcony (it gets WAAAY too hot in the summer to enjoy sitting out there), or some pillows...I've also wanted to try quilting for a while. I could think of a million things to sew. And so many cute ideas online.
  • Study more Dutch - I need to get my Dutch to a higher level in order to find a better job, so I need to make time for this, huh? Read Dutch books, watch Dutch tv, find lessons online, something. Anything!
My options are limitless, almost. Time enough for everything.

I would rather have a job to go to, and get paid for, though.

Maybe I could sell some of my finished knitting and crocheting projects. So many people make things and sell them online, why can't I be one of those folks? I look through etsy.com all the time and think to myself "I could make that!". There are some gorgeous things on there that I probably could never come close to producing. But there are also some on the other end of the spectrum, and some nice things in between. What do you think? Would anyone buy any of the things I've posted here? And what about copyright? I do not make up my own patterns, for the most part. Would I be allowed, legally, to sell these things? I will have to do some research on that.

I also have more time to blog now. Aren't you glad for that?

Now to start that list...

let's start with bullet #5.


    Friday, April 1, 2011

    April Fool's Day

    Hello again everybody!

    It's April Fool's Day. Did anyone play jokes on their friends or family? Or is that mostly just for kids? I never really got into playing tricks on people. I guess because I didn't like it when I got tricked. Do unto others, and all that jazz. I did like the jokes though that you see sometimes. Funny, ridiculous things sometimes, but good for a laugh!

    April 1st is also the anniversary of me moving here to The Netherlands. I have lived here for 4 years. FOUR years! I can't believe it's been that long. It has flown. When I moved here, I had the thought that it would take me about 5 years to get adjusted to living here. Learning the language, getting used to Dutch customs, etc. Well, now that it's closing in on 5 years, I'm thinking it will be more like 10 years. I knew it wouldn't be an immediate fit-in, but it's definitely taking me longer than I thought. Hopefully at 9 years I won't feel like I need to extend the time line again!

    In addition to not liking being tricked, I have another reason to not like April Fool's Day all that much this year. Remember me telling you about the staff changes at work, and having some troubles there? I suppose all good things must come to an end. As of today we all are laid off. Not that there were very many of us left to let go, but still. It's a sad day. We don't know if it's going to be temporary or if it will be permanent. Time to polish up my resume, huh? It figures that this had to happen now, just when I was starting to take more lessons there in order to improve my Dutch. *sigh* I am hopeful that it is a temporary thing, and I'll just be on vacation for a few weeks. I think I am the only one with that attitude, though.

    Denial...isn't that a river in Egypt?

    Anyways, to cheer me up today, I went to the Farmer's Market this morning downtown. They have it every Wednesday and Friday morning, rain or shine. It's been probably a year since I went last. I forgot what fun it is! All sorts of booths set up. Fruit, vegetables, clothes, fabric, purses...you name it, you can get it at the Market here. I really like going in the Spring. SO so so many flowers. Oh, such beautiful flowers! I should have taken my camera with me. If I go again in this month, I will, I promise! But the cheerful thing I did for myself was to get these beauties.

    a deep purple tulip

    As you know, tulips are my favorite flower. There is no better time of year to indulge in a bit of cheer for myself, right? The most difficult thing about them is picking a color! White, pink, purple, red, yellow, mixed??!! Which do I choose!!!???!!! I ended up with the purple this time. Lovely.

    How has Spring been for you there? I heard that there was some snow the past few days on the East Coast of the States...was there a lot? I hope not. Hasn't there been enough snow this season to last like ... uhh... 12 winters? Yeah, that's what I thought. Spring here has been very very mild so far. Barely any rain, and quite warm temperatures. 

    Ok, I'll stop bragging about my oh-so-fine weather now.

    It even smells like Spring. Blooming trees, grass growing and getting cut. Take a deep breath in...aaaaahhhh. So nice after a long winter, no? Hopefully it smells good where you are too! If not, would you like me to bottle some of our air and ship it to you? I can do that.

    In my next post, I'll let you know how my knitting progress is coming along. Can't wait to show you!

    Have a great weekend all, and don't let anyone play any tricks on you!